Anh Duong, MSA ’17

Author: Lynn Freehill-Maye

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New Auditor Accelerates Her Career in One Year

Anh Duong, MSA ’17, receives offers from each of the Big Four accounting firms

Accounting can be technical and complex, but Anh Duong liked the challenge. She studied accounting in college and hoped to join one of the Big Four firms someday. A high school classmate from her days growing up in Vietnam told her about the University of Notre Dame’s Master of Science in Accountancy program, and she applied with high hopes.

Still, even Duong was surprised at how much more stimulating accounting became from the moment she arrived on campus. “My very first class, Advanced Assurance, was mind-blowing,” she remembers. “When the professor introduced auditing to the class in a way I never imagined, I knew I had signed myself up for the right thing.”

Duong took advantage of every opportunity her Notre Dame career coaches provided to do mock interviews and attend networking events. The efforts paid off in spades: She received offers from each of the Big Four accounting firms. After graduation, Duong will work in EY’s New York City offices as part of the firm’s financial services practice, auditing companies in the asset-management field.

She credits a big part of her success to professors who felt more like friends, always there to help through the tougher moments. Professor Jim Seida, for instance, recorded and posted his most technical lectures so class members could review them. Duong remembers telling him that she feared she’d fail a course. He challenged her to get a good grade on her midterm exam two weeks later--and she did. Notre Dame was a stimulating environment, she recalled, and it strengthened her determination.

Classmates were as bright and ambitious as she was, she found, and they made for great teammates. “This program connected me not only to friends, but also future accountants, with whom I see myself maintaining both professional relationships and life-long friendships,” she says.

Outside the classroom, balance was key. At Notre Dame, Duong found herself getting out of her comfort zone, and she loved the experience of self-discovery. She recalled going to her first football game with friends. Although she’d never been a sports fan, Duong found she loved the crowd’s spirit and attended every single game. And whenever she felt stress, she walked to the Notre Dame basilica, grotto or lake to relax and reflect on her path forward.

Duong expects the University’s emphasis on ethics to help throughout her career. “Notre Dame is more than a line in the resume. It’s integrity, it’s confidence, it’s teamwork,” she says. “It reminds me that I’ll be representing every faculty member and student, and all the values the school stands for. Having Notre Dame on my name tag will help point me in the right direction whenever I make a decision as an auditor. Notre Dame has been the best investment of my professional life so far.”