Two Degrees in Four Years Through On-Campus, Study Abroad, and Remote Learning

The day Rebecca Susskind, MAcc ’21 visited William & Mary’s campus for a tour as a prospective undergraduate student, it was raining and the temperature was near freezing. But the Wayne, Pennsylvania-native was undeterred by the inclement weather and immediately fell in love with the university’s ivy-covered halls and welcoming environment.

“I had the best two tour guides who were having so much fun despite the horrible weather. For me, it was always about the people,” she explained. “Even though home is about five hours away, I turned to my parents and said this is the place I want to go and they encouraged me to apply.”

Susskind came to William & Mary knowing she would ultimately apply to the undergraduate Accounting program at the Raymond A. Mason School of Business once she completed the undergraduate core curriculum. She completed the introductory accounting course, which is a prerequisite for admission into the Mason School.

“I started taking accounting in high school. I was actually enrolled in an elective ceramics class and my guidance counselor pulled me aside to tell me I needed a business credit in order to graduate,” she said. “At first I was not thrilled about taking accounting but I quickly realized I was enjoying more than my classmates. Then when I took the accounting course through the Mason School, I enjoyed the process of how it all worked and how everything came together. It was like a fun puzzle to solve.”

Maximizing the William & Mary Experience

Life outside the classroom was full for Susskind and she personally flourished as a member of several on-campus and community organizations. She pledged the Pi Beta Phi sorority and served as the Vice-President of Finance on the university’s Panhellenic Council. She also served as a tutor with The Arc of Greater Williamsburg, an organization that works to improve the quality of life for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Professionally, Susskind participated in several leadership development opportunities which expanded her perspective on the world of accounting. She participated in Deloitte’s National Leadership Conference at their headquarters in Texas, the EY Emerging Leaders Program, and PwC Elevate.

Susskind also excelled academically as an undergraduate business student. She was inducted into Beta Gamma Sigma with a cumulative 3.92 GPA and by completing of all of the graduation requirements in three years, she qualified to spend her fourth and final year at William & Mary as a student in the Master of Accounting (MAcc) program.

“I had so much fun at William & Mary as an undergraduate student. I made my best friends here, and I didn’t want to graduate early and give up my fourth year,” she said.

Susskind was accepted into the MAcc program and was awarded a Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) Scholarship, a prestigious nationwide grant initiative which gifts funds to students who are likely to become accountants and auditors.

But she had one bucket list item she wanted to check off before beginning the MAcc program –studying abroad in Paris at the American School of Business.

Academic Enhancement Abroad and Remotely

Typically, undergraduate students are not authorized to study abroad for their final semesters at William & Mary. Susskind was granted a waiver due to her academic achievements and plans to enroll in the MAcc program at the Mason School. She spent two and a half months studying abroad in Paris experiencing the highlights of French culture before she was sent home due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“Getting to live in Paris was a highlight of my college career,” she said. “I learned so much while I was there and would not have been able to do that had the business school not been so supportive.”

After returning to the states, Susskind completed her semester with the American Business School of Paris online. She secured a two-week abridged virtual internship experience during the summer through PwC’s Capital Markets and Accounting Advisory Group in Philadelphia and was extended a full-time job offer upon graduation from the MAcc program.

“I’ll be doing exactly what I hoped to do when I decided to major in accounting. I’ve always been drawn to the advisory side of accounting and this opportunity with PwC will have me working in Capital Markets which supports companies going through major changes to IPOs, divestitures, acquisitions, and mergers among many other things. As a member of the Accounting Advisory services team, I will also advise clients who are working to adopt changes to accounting standards and help them implement those changes.”

Susskind says the Mason School’s MAcc program is unique because it allows students to explore areas of accounting outside of the traditional tax and audit tracks.

“The MAcc program gives us so many options to delve into topics deeper based on our individual interests. I am looking forward to exploring more about data analytics and forensic accounting, and I’m really thankful that this program allows me to pave my own path.”

Susskind is nearly done with the first half of the MAcc program. Though she had studied remotely through the spring semester, this fall was the first time she’s taken classes online through William & Mary.

“I’ve been really impressed by how all of the professors have handled it and it’s forced us all to get a little more technologically savvy especially as we prepare to enter the workforce,” she said.