Why I decided to pursue a PhD in Accounting at UWaterloo

The key is to know what the right fit is for you

Jonathan Y., PhD in Accounting studentWhen I was in business school, most of my friends were focused on working at an accounting firm. Wearing suits and working downtown sounded attractive but I always felt that a professional career in accounting was not the right fit for me. I had a passion for learning and during my undergrad, I realized that I really enjoyed learning about financial accounting. To be honest, there were certain parts that I didn’t enjoy. I wasn’t a big fan of preparing journal entries and trial balances. I enjoyed learning about the objectives of accounting standards and why transactions were recognized in certain ways. If an accounting standard changed, I wanted to learn about the reason for the change and whether the new standard was better. This curiosity was intriguing and actually motivated my decision to see whether a future in accounting research was the right fit.

I decided to attend the PhD in Accounting information session at the University of Waterloo because I wanted to learn what it meant to be a PhD student. At the session, I had a chance to network with current students and faculty members. Everyone was extremely warm, and I could tell that the program had a supportive environment. During the information session, one aspect of the program that grabbed my attention was their focus on providing students with both breadth and depth of accounting research. I agree that it is important to not only develop a depth of expertise in your research area, but also a fundamental understanding of other research areas within accounting. I had a strong feeling that the University of Waterloo was the right fit for me, and I immediately accepted my offer when I received the good news.

Currently, I am a second-year student in the program, and it has been a great experience so far! I’ve also taken multiple accounting research seminars in many different research areas such as management accounting, analytic and archival research, and financial accounting. It is amazing that the faculty at the School of Accounting and Finance has such a diverse set of research strengths to be able to provide all these accounting seminars. The other PhD students have been amazing as well. We are a small cohort so there is a lot of camaraderie between us. We have a WhatsApp group chat going on where we talk about our daily lives, our classes, and of course, our academic struggles! It's great how we always try to motivate each other through our academic journey.

Overall, I am extremely happy with my decision to enter academia and join the University of Waterloo as a PhD student. I am deeply interested in the work that I am doing every day and I find it extremely motivating to pursue a career that satisfies my thirst for knowledge and career ambitions!

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