From left: Brenna Inderlied, Isaac Miller, Epherata Molla and Brady Pyrah

Accounting students earning two degrees for price of one

Maybe it’s easier to recognize a great value when you’re good at crunching numbers.

Value, and the opportunity to earn two degrees for the price of one, is exactly what attracted Isaac Miller to Manchester’s 3+1 Master of Accountancy degree.

“For me it was kind of a no-brainer,” says the fourth-year accounting major from Millersburg, Ind. The opportunity to earn a bachelor’s and a master’s degree during his four years of undergraduate financial aid eligibility “is huge,” he says. What’s more, the advanced courses that Isaac will take allow him to earn 150 credits and prepare him for the CPA exam.

Count Brady Pyrah, Epherata Molla and Brenna Inderlied as sold on the 3+1 program, too.

Epherata, of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, graduated this year with majors in accounting, economics and finance, a minor in mathematics, and the Master of Accountancy degree.

“There are times when the work is overwhelming,” she says, but “it’s doable. I think anyone can get through it if they have a plan and someone to push them.”

Manchester students can still get a bachelor’s degree in the traditional four years, and qualifying students with bachelor’s degrees from other schools can earn their master’s at MU, says Tim Ogden ’87, dean of the Gilbert College of Business. However, for highly motivated students who can handle an accelerated course load, the 3+1 option provides distinct financial and career advantages.

Epherata, who interned at Zimmer Biomet in Warsaw, hopes to start her own business someday or work for her dad’s manufacturing company. In the meantime, she says that her master’s degree and preparation for the CPA exam will propel her into the workforce sooner and help her stand out from the competition.

Brenna, whose mother, Kelly Knecht Inderlied ’94, is a Manchester-educated accountant, agrees. “It’s a very, very rigorous program, but if you have a good work ethic and think you can do it, then you can do it.”

A fourth-year commuter student from Huntington, Ind., Brenna works with fifth-graders at the Boys and Girls Club there, where she also runs a leadership program. She spends most of her free time doing homework. When she needs help, she says, professors are supportive and accessible. Because Manchester is small, “the relationship with professors is something that you really can’t get at other colleges.”

No need to tell Brady Pyrah. His dad, Brad, is an associate professor of accounting at Manchester and encouraged Brady to take an accounting class in high school. “It just clicked,” says Brady of accounting. “It came very naturally to me.”

Choosing Manchester was a good fit, too. “I knew the accounting program was really, really strong here,” says Brady, a fourth-year student. “It is difficult and challenging but it is definitely rewarding,” he adds. “The professors are always there to help.”

Like Brenna, Brady commutes from Huntington where he lives with his wife, who is a nursing student, and their toddler daughter. In between classes, Brady studies on the second floor of the Chinworth Center so he has more time with family when home. An inviting student lounge space is conducive for homework and group study, and adjacent to a cluster of faculty offices for when Brady has questions.

Brady figures that graduating with his master’s degree will help him advance in his career and “push me further in life.”

His ongoing internship at Zimmer Biomet will help, too. Brady works at the orthopedic company during the summer and part time during the school year. “It’s the perfect internship for me.”

He landed the internship as a first-year student – an uncommon feat – and credits the Office of Career and Professional Development staff for preparing him well. “I probably would not have gotten the internship without that mock interview,” says Brady.

Internships are required for the 3+1 master’s program. Isaac has worked for Baden Gage and Schroeder CPAs and for Crowe, both in Fort Wayne. Brenna spent the spring semester working at David Culp & Co. CPAs in Huntington.

“The busy-season tax time internship is really great experience,” says Isaac, “and definitely beneficial for a career.”

By Melinda Lantz ’81