Advice to Students
“Take pride in everything that you do. Your work product will always be a reflection of you. You never know when your colleagues will become your client, your client will become your boss, or when a former boss will develop a relationship with a future boss. Reputation carries a lot of weight and you always want to work to build a reputation you can be proud of.”
The Unrivaled Community of William & Mary
Growing up, native New Yorker Eric Albrecht vacationed frequently with his parents in Williamsburg, Virginia. On one such trip, when he was about 15, they decided to stroll the tree-lined sidewalks of the William & Mary campus. Albrecht was sold. He set his sights on attending W&M after high school.
And that's exactly what he did. Twice.
He graduated from W&M with his bachelor's in accounting and then decided to stay for his master's in accounting too.
“The William & Mary community is unrivaled. I had no interest in letting that go," he said. "I relished the opportunity to further soak up all of the knowledge that William & Mary professors had to offer.”
Albrecht particularly liked that the Mason School's MAcc program allowed him to take a deep dive into the sectors that most interested him. “I am a tax guy," he said, "so law is a very important component to that field. The ability to take tax law classes significantly differentiated W&M from other MAcc programs."
He says the Mason School's world-class faculty also set the program apart. “The professors provided me with a very strong foundation in the field. When I started my career, I really saw how far ahead my baseline tax knowledge was compared to others from different institutions.”
He added: "They were extremely caring and interested in my development as a student and person. They shared their insights in public accounting, and undoubtedly shaped me into the strong tax professional I am today.”
Summer Boot Camp
Albrecht says he benefited from the diverse knowledge and skills of his Mason School classmates, especially those who joined the program from different undergraduate majors. “You can be immensely successful in the MAcc program despite coming from a non-accounting undergraduate major," he explained.
Through the program's Summer Boot Camp, students can fulfill prerequisite classes in Principles of Accounting, Intermediate Accounting I and II, Auditing & Internal Controls, Cost Accounting and Taxation, regardless of their undergraduate major. And, the Boot camp is taught by the same top-ranked faculty who teach W&M's semester-long courses.
"I knew MAcc students who were Philosophy, Economics, Psychology, and English majors. They brought unique ways of problem-solving to the table which further helped me grow and learn.”
The Power of Teamwork
After earning his graduate degree, Albrecht landed a job with a Big Four accounting firm Ernst & Young in the heart of D.C. He works at the intersection of the private and public sectors handling corporate, partnership, individual tax planning and compliance, as well as managing federal tax credits and incentives.
He enjoys the work immensely.
"My normal day-to-day responsibilities include client communication, internal correspondence, teaching, project management, reviewing work, conducting tax research, and a plethora of other things," he said. "I am a jack-of-all-trades in the tax industry."
He also successfully pitched the idea of an office ping-pong table for the staff. "The real world is all about relationships. You have to do your individual job, but at the end of the day you must deliver as a team."
"The MAcc program taught me the importance of building a team up as a whole rather than just focusing on myself."