Mary Clay, D.B.A, associate professor of accounting, had a strong initial impression about student Lindsey Hoggins ’20, M.S. ’21.
“Lindsey enrolled in my Intermediate I [accounting] class, and after the first exam, I knew she was a gifted student,” says Clay, who was Hoggins’ undergraduate faculty advisor.
Proving that hunch correct, Hoggins will graduate in August with a master’s degree in management with a concentration in accounting. At the same time, she studied for and passed the four-part C.P.A. exam, considered one of most challenging professional exams. Once she finishes her master’s degree, she will have met the qualifications to become a C.P.A.
Hoggins also did her undergraduate at Worcester State, graduating in 2020 with a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a concentration in accounting. She already has landed a full-time job at Ernst & Young, working in the taxation department at the Boston office of the international professional services company. She will start there in July.
“It’s not going to be an easy job, but I think it’ll be challenging and rewarding,” Hoggins says. “I don’t necessarily want a job where I’m doing the same thing every day so that it becomes routine and boring. I like a challenge, so I’m looking forward to it.”
Hoggins first discovered her passion for balancing the books through a course she took at Worcester State. “I knew I was strong in math and I went in freshman year interested in business, but I didn’t know anything about accounting,” she says. “In the fall of my sophomore year I took financial accounting I with Professor [Paul] Dubrey, and I really liked it. Then I started looking for accounting internships and just really never looked back.”
What was the appeal?
“In an accounting problem, you work it out, and then to make sure everything balances out so you can check yourself,” she says. “If the assets don’t balance out with the liabilities and equity, then you know you did it wrong. Whereas in, say, writing, there are no set criteria. In math, you’re right or wrong and I liked the black and white. I like the clarity of it when there are rules, and accounting has a ton of rules.”
Clay says her star student is always willing to tackle big assignments. “In our student/advisor meetings, I strongly encouraged her to pursue her goal of becoming a licensed CPA,” she says. “For her Commonwealth Honors Program, Lindsey, with minimal guidance from me, researched how data analytics is changing the accounting field.”
Hoggins also helped make accounting less daunting to those who were not as naturally gifted in the subject as she is. “Her kind demeanor facilitated her willingness and ability to mentor students that struggled with the subject matter,” Clay says. “I was ecstatic when Lindsey asked me to recommend her for our master’s program, because that meant she would be staying at WSU to pursue her graduate degree.”
What would Hoggins’ advice be to another first-year student or sophomore considering a career in accounting?
“I would say, try to get as many internships as possible to help you figure out what part of accounting you like, because there’s a lot of variety in accounting,” she says. “I didn’t know that coming in and then I had multiple internships in different areas. Some lasted over the summer, others only a few weeks and I had very different experiences in each one. It makes it so that, when it’s time to go find a job, you feel a lot more confident going into your first full-time position.”
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