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Four Tull School of Accounting students were awarded Postgraduate Technical Assistantships with the nation’s two accounting standards-setting organizations.

The program places postgraduate students into yearlong roles with the Financial Accounting Standards Board, which sets generally accepted accounting principles for public companies in the U.S., and the Governmental Accounting Standards Board, which establishes similar standards used by state and local governments.

It marks the first time that four UGA accounting students – the most allowed by FASB and GASB rules – were accepted into the prestigious program.

Selection is seen as a jumpstart for accounting careers, according to Emily-Anne Shafron, a doctoral student in the Tull School who spent two years at GASB.

“This is a very competitive process. Every school in the U.S. with a Master of Accountancy program can nominate up to four students per year,” she said. “It opens so many doors for these students because they get assigned to work on major issues and come out of the program with a skill set that no one else has.”

The four MAcc students graduated this spring and will begin their assistantships later this year. They are:

  • Lindsey Klopfenstein, who will start work with FASB in July, is a sought-after tutor for undergraduates and a mentor for Clarke County elementary students. A former intern for EY and Corporate Finance Associates, she completed both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in four years.
  • Brian Peek, who will work with FASB starting January 2018, majored in accounting, Spanish and linguistics, along with an international business co-major. He interned with Grant Thornton LLP and was a Financial Management Scholar with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.
  • Blue Kim, who will start work with GASB in July, is an international student and former KPMG audit intern who has volunteered as both an English tutor for immigrants and as a tax assistant for other international students.
  • Becca Cessna, who will work with GASB starting January 2018, was a UGA cheerleader and worked with an after-school mentoring program for Athens-area elementary students.

Shafron and Jeff Lark, a lecturer in the Tull School who worked at the International Accounting Standards Board in London, coached the students through mock interviews to prepare them for the kinds of questions they’d likely face.

“The interviews at these organizations extend beyond ‘get to know you’ and behavioral interview techniques,” Lark said. “The candidates needed to be prepared for a technical interview, which means they needed to be prepared to discuss any accounting issue the interviewer chose. It’s kind of like having an oral exam at the end of the MAcc program where any topic goes. They are expected to not just know the answer but offer insight into the accounting issue being discussed.”

Lark said the students rose to the occasion through collaboration and hard work.

“What most impressed me, though, is how they worked together as a team to help prepare each other,” he said. “They all networked with alumni who played an active part in helping them prepare, and they were proactive about sharing what they learned with each other. In addition, those who interviewed first took notes and gave advice to help those who interviewed later. They carried each other through the process.”