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Kelly Cole, ’06 BSB, ’07 MAcc

BY KEVIN MOE

Upon entering college, Kelly Cole’s first thought was to major in entrepreneurial management with the idea of one day owning her own business. “Problem was, I had no clue what I wanted this business to be and no real ability to start something immediately after school,” she says. “As I began my coursework, I started thinking of what major could provide a good backbone to the entrepreneurial coursework and after evaluating other majors and discussions with professors about why their major was best, I chose accounting and started my double major.”
        Hearing accounting described as “the language of business” convinced Cole that she was in the right place. “Anyone going into a business field should probably speak the language and if one was to run a company, how could you run it effectively if you couldn’t read the results or had to rely on a third party with no vested interest in the business?” she says.
Kelly Cole Quote        During the last semester of her undergrad, the Carlson School launched the MAcc program under the direction of her former audit instructor, Larry Kallio, and she signed on for one more year of college. “Larry’s passion for the MAcc has created a great opportunity for Carlson students,” Cole says. “He combines the classroom with the business world like no other and tries to bring the most objective view by using examples from multiple firms, industry, and the overall business environment.”
        The program motivated Cole to pursue public accounting after graduation and she is now a senior associate at Grant Thornton, an audit, tax, and advisory firm in Minneapolis. “Working as an auditor, I’ve learned there is no solid black and white line. There still can be a lot of uncertainty when approaching complex accounting transactions,” she says. “But, with the knowledge gained in the accounting program, you learn how to navigate the extensive accounting literature and have a notion of where to begin problem solving.”

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