Ben Culotta

Class of 2014

Hometown: Pittsburgh, PA
Undergraduate University: Christopher Newport University
Class Year: 2013
Major/Minor: Accounting/Psychology
Employer: Extended Stay America
Position: Manager, Corporate Accounting & Financial Reporting

What prompted you to return to school and earn a MAcc degree?

I thoroughly enjoyed my education at CNU, where I was able to lay the educational groundwork for my career. However, I knew I would need a more comprehensive skill set to pursue my accounting endeavors and get to the next level as I embarked on my career. I envisioned the MAcc program at William & Mary as the next step in developing the necessary skills and knowledge to pass the CPA exam and succeed as an accountant in today's world. It was the right choice.

Why did you choose the William & Mary MAcc program?

William & Mary is a very selective university and constantly ranks exceptionally well for its educational value and experience. I believed those individuals who could gain acceptance into William & Mary's renowned MAcc program would be among the most distinguished graduate students. I set my goals to achieve this, and through William & Mary's dedicated and accredited faculty and staff, as well as the state-of-the-art Raymond A. Mason School of Business, I received a very demanding education and the support I needed to get to the next level in the accounting field. I felt well-equipped and confident in my knowledge and business acumen by graduation.

What were highlights for you during the MAcc experience?

While I can't promise this experience will be the same for everyone, my most significant highlight of the MAcc experience was meeting my wife in the program! The community lends itself to some incredibly talented and ambitious people, and I am forever grateful to have chosen a path that led me to her. Additionally, the peers you meet will stay with you for life. I value that, and so does William & Mary—it is an exceptional place. The cohort of students solidified the entire MAcc experience. It was enlightening to learn and interact with bright students from different backgrounds and walks of life while sharing a passion for accounting.

Another highlight during the MAcc experience was the Veris CPA Trek in Washington, D.C. It was incredible to hear firsthand from representatives at the SEC, Federal Reserve, PCAOB, and Treasury speak about specific and relevant accounting issues and financial legislation. William & Mary does an exceptional job at ensuring real-world experiences and engaging students in high-level networking opportunities to ready them for their careers.

How have you applied what you learned in the program to your work?

In addition to the technical skills acquired through the rigorous accounting courses, I believe the program helped me learn how to work better in a team setting, collaborate more efficiently and effectively with others, and optimize my time management and prioritization skills. All of which I apply daily in my personal and professional life. This growth has made me a far more effective leader and team contributor.

What value has the MAcc degree had on your professional growth?

The MAcc degree has been the key to many opportunities I've been afforded since graduation. Thus far, I've held invaluable public accounting, financial reporting, technical accounting, and corporate accounting positions. The opportunities are limitless, and the field itself is very diverse. There are infinite ways to apply the comprehensive knowledge I gained in the program, and the various positions I have held have enabled me to find my preferred niche.

The MAcc degree was instrumental in helping me successfully navigate the CPA exam and to remain nimble in my career. Many lessons I learned while in the program were vital to the exam and beyond—some I apply daily. I am grateful I had the skills and foresight to pursue this degree, as it has helped me forge my career and provided a solid foundation and the credentials I need to navigate a fulfilling accounting career.



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