Mendoza School of Business

From Ice Rinks to Boardrooms: Mendoza’s MSA Helps Former Hockey Player Score a New Goal

Author: Bryan Fields

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Sweden native Oliver Jönsson, MSA ’22, went from gliding across the ice as an aspiring hockey player to college in Illinois to Mendoza’s M.S. in Accountancy (MSA) program, which helped him score his ultimate goal of a career at a Big 4 accounting firm.

Jönsson played hockey growing up until a friend who played junior hockey in Indiana convinced him to come and play as a way into college. He earned a scholarship and studied accounting and finance while playing for McKendree University in Lebanon, Ill.

Eventually, he recognized that he needed to pivot from hockey. “College was a way to extend my hockey career, but I realized I wasn’t going to play professionally, so I studied for an accounting career,” he said. “I knew from the start that business was for me, but I wasn’t sure what area to go into.”

Jönsson’s next pivot happened when his fiancé from Indiana and her parents took him to a Notre Dame football game. He said the experience made a big impact on his next move.

“I didn’t have knowledge of Notre Dame and I learned what a rich tradition and history it has,” he said. “Seeing so many people on campus was special. They have a big reach and big network, not just in the U.S. but around the world.”

After being turned away by large accounting firms, Jönsson realized earning an accounting master’s from a university with a larger and more global network would help him reach his goal of working at a Big 4 firm. At Mendoza, he found what he needed and enjoyed the benefits of classmates and instructors with a range of experiences.

“The MSA program is very inclusive with a diverse group of people,” he said. “Everyone has different backgrounds, viewpoints, and perspectives, but we were all pulling for the same goal. The professors have a mix of academic and real-world experience and did a great job of preparing you for what’s to come.”

He said the rigorous curriculum not only helped to set him up for his career but also to pass the CPA exam. “The program prepared me well for the exam, along with coaching from fellow students. We all wanted everyone to pass.”

Now an assurance associate at PwC in St. Louis, MO, Jönsson said the strengths of the MSA program continue to help him every day. “I got exposure to things you see in your first year on the job. All of us from Notre Dame are ahead of the curve.”

Mendoza School of Business