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Former Accountant Uses Master’s in Communication Degree to Jumpstart a Career Change

Jul 26, 2023 | Online - Master of Science in Communication

Amanada Young Standing with graduating gown onAfter 11 years of working as an accountant, Amanda Young stood at a career precipice. On one hand, she was considering going back to school to earn her CPA (Certified Public Accountant) designation and continuing in the accounting field – after all, it was a good way of making a living. But on the other hand, Young was starting to realize that her true passion was outside of the accounting world. Over her career, she noticed that many accountants struggle to communicate complex ideas to their clients. Seeing this skill gap inspired Young to start thinking more deeply about communication, a subject area she’d been interested in for a long time.  

“In the accounting world, communication isn’t a skill that’s really emphasized,” Young said. “It’s something a lot of accountants struggle with – they’re so preoccupied with numbers that they forget how to communicate with their clients. I’ve always had a talent for communication, and so I started thinking about how I could shift my role from accountant to communicator. That was the start of my journey.” 

Young felt confident that she could build a future career teaching accountants how to communicate more effectively, but she had no educational background in communication, and she needed more experience. That’s when she started looking at online master’s programs. Almost immediately, Purdue’s online Master of Science in Communication program stood out.  

“Purdue’s master’s program was the only one I could find that let you talk to current students.” Young said. “They were super responsive to my questions, and I was able to get a feel for the kinds of skills the program emphasized and what it would be like to study online. It became obvious that Purdue was the best possible choice – both in terms of the resources that would be available to me and the quality of the students in the program” 

After applying and getting accepted to Purdue’s online Master’s in Communication program, Young started preparing herself for the experience of going back to school after a decade in the workforce. Though she’d never completed a class online, she was pleasantly surprised by how easy Purdue made the experience.  

“Using Purdue’s online learning platform, Brightspace, was actually very easy,” said Young. “I was also surprised by how much contact I had with my classmates and professors. Everyone in the program was super responsive, and I actually got to know most of my colleagues pretty well despite the distance.” 

Young focused her degree on communication and leadership, a track within the Master’s in Communication program. Young’s program was broad enough that she had no problem finding classes that fit her career goals. She described her program as hands-on and experiential. Rather than just reading about communication, Young spent her class time developing actual communication plans that could be used in accounting firms and other businesses. When it came time to graduate, she felt like she had gained all the experience she needed to start a new career.  

“I came into the program definitely needing more hands-on experience, and that’s what I got. I was able to solidify my knowledge and start actually thinking about how to accomplish my career goals.”

Amanda Young

 After graduation, Young started making plans to begin her career as a communication professional. Luckily, she knew someone who had made the same transition and was now working as a communication consultant for accounting firms. Young reached out and ended up receiving a job offer to create communication plans for accountants. Finally, the dream she had started graduate school with was coming to fruition.  

“Over the course of my education, my passion for communication just grew and grew,” Young said. “By the end of the program, I really understood that this is what I want to do with my life. I didn’t feel that when I was working as an accountant, so that revelation means a lot to me.” 

Now that Young has graduated from her program at Purdue, she’s looking forward to making the next steps towards continuing a communication career. This summer she’s moving to Vermont with her family, where she will look into teaching communication courses at local colleges and universities. Young is excited about the prospect of teaching communication skills to college students, and she hopes that it will help her continue learning too. 

“One day, I’d love to be able to develop communication training courses for accounting firms, and to do that I need to continue learning and growing as a communication practitioner and teacher,” Young said. “That’s what going back to school does – it gives you the freedom of movement and the confidence you need to make a giant leap in a new direction. I’m so grateful I was able to take the first step towards that leap at Purdue.” 

To learn more about Purdue’s Master of Science in Communication program, please visit the program’s webpage.  

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