In 2015, catalog and systems librarian Alexi Galica-Cohen ’18G was at a crossroads. The economic recession of the late 2000s had hit libraries hard. Budgets got slashed and jobs became hard to come by. The outlook for librarians looked bleak.
“I looked at what my brain was good at, which was managing a whole lot of details and applying a very complicated set of rules to those details, and accounting seemed like a natural fit,” she says. “Accounting is very basic math, with very complicated rules. I am really good at managing complicated rules.”
When she was looking at different Master of Accounting degree programs, UNH stood out. “UNH had the most comprehensive foundation-building prerequisites," she says. "The other programs had three to five courses, but UNH really made sure that I would have every tool in the toolkit that I would need to succeed.”
In January 2016, Galica-Cohen took the first of the 14 prerequisite courses she would complete before starting her master’s degree coursework. By the fall of that year, impressive grades and a solid understanding of class material earned her a spot as a teacher’s assistant in two classes. She also hoped for an internship that would give her the experience she'd need to pursue a role at one of the Big Four accounting firms. But she worried that, as an adult student and career changer, the deck was stacked against her.
“The research effectively said that if you’re over the age of 25, forget the Big Four, it’s not going to happen,” says Galica-Cohen. “But it was the Big Four firms that were the best match in terms of my energy level and the amount of work I wanted to put into my new career,” she adds. “They had the room for me to grow.”
She needn't have worried. Galica-Cohen landed an internship with a Big Four firm, and during the 2017 spring semester she worked in the tax line of service in the asset and wealth management group at PwC's Boston office. She was one of only 25 tax interns hired that semester, and she was the only student from New Hampshire as well as one of only a handful of students from public rather than private universities.
Galica-Cohen says she loved the experience, and PwC’s culture was a good fit. The feeling was mutual. Weeks before the end of her internship, she received an offer for a summer position on one of PwC’s largest tax engagements. And shortly after that, she received a full-time job offer, contingent on receiving that master’s degree, the one which, technically, she hadn’t even started yet.
She'll finish in the spring of 2018 and start her new career.
“I have many miles to grow, but it’s been a really good fit on both ends,” she says. “It’s working out much better than I could have ever hoped.”