MPAcc Alumni Testimonials

Since 1998, the Edwards Master of Professional Accounting degree has produced some of Canada's leading accounting professionals. We asked 20 alumni how MPAcc has helped them in their careers, here's what they had to say.

Select one of our alumni to view their story

Abbey Kind

I am currently a student at the University of Calgary, Faculty of Law. After working at a public accounting firm I decided to return to full time studies and plan to merge my accounting education and experience with my newly developed legal skills to pursue a career in corporate law.

How did the experience of MPAcc and/or the MPAcc degree help you in your career?

Not only did MPAcc support my development of strong technical knowledge and case-writing skills that were instrumental to my success on the CFE, but it also provided an opportunity to develop the communication and team work skills that are essential to working in a team environment.

What was the greatest benefit of MPAcc for you?

The greatest benefit of MPAcc is that the program fosters a collegial learning environment where you learn from top-notch professors and are introduced to a peer group of bright, dedicated and motivated students with whom you develop life-long friendships

Alan Koop

Brief description of your current position

Partner with Buckberger Baerg & Partners LLP

How did the experience of MPAcc and/or the MPAcc degree help you in your career?

Building relationships and collaborating with clients and other professional advisors are important aspects of public accounting. The structure of the MPAcc program allows participants to build these important skills while also improving their technical expertise.

What is the greatest memory you have from your MPAcc experience?

I have many great memories of the extracurricular activities throughout the MPAcc program. You need to spend time with colleagues outside of the office or classroom in order to really get to know them.

Allison Cheng

A brief description of your current position

I am a Senior Financial Analyst in Amazon Devices. I provide accounting support and consultation to finance and business partners in over 10 countries where Amazon's Echo and Alexa, Kindle E-reader, Fire TV, Tablets, and Home Security devices are sold. Working in the accounting organization at Amazon and supporting a fast growing business makes the role exciting and dynamic.

How did the experience of MPAcc and/or the MPAcc degree help you in your career?

The MPAcc experience provided me access to effective instructors, robust curriculum, and countless opportunities to practice case writing. The degree improved my critical thinking, technical accounting, and writing skills, which enabled me to become an effective performer at KPMG and contributed to my success on the CFE where I placed on the National Honour Roll.

What is the greatest memory you have from your MPAcc experience? OR What was the greatest benefit of MPAcc for you?

One of the greatest benefits of MPAcc is the ability to grow your network. The nature of the classes and group work all set in Saskatoon makes MPAcc a memorable experience, creating the perfect atmosphere to form meaningful relationships with future CPAs across Western Canada.

Cameron Lawrence

I'm currently the Chief Operating and Financial Officer at Ondine Biomedical. Ondine has an exciting technology platform focused on non-antibiotic therapies for a broad spectrum of bacterial, viral and fungal infections. Our two primary markets are the prevention of antibiotic resistant infections in hospitals, and the treatment of patients with chronic sinusitis - both of which are significant global health challenges. I also serve on the Advisory Board for Intranet Connections and I'm an adviser for the Florida Panthers hockey team.

How did the experience of MPAcc and/or the MPAcc degree help you in your career?

The greatest gift MPAcc gave me was the ability to focus. While most CPA students struggle to balance their career and studies simultaneously, I was able to focus entirely on my career while away from MPAcc. This helped me to excel at work and fuel my career growth in a way that I highly doubt would have been possible if I had to split my efforts between work and studies.

Similarly, while the primary focus of many CPA students is to "just get through" the course work, being away from my career enabled me to be able to focus on my MPAcc experience and learn from an outstanding group of classmates and teachers. It's an experience I look back at fondly and am extremely grateful for.

What is the greatest memory you have from your MPAcc experience? OR What was the greatest benefit of MPAcc for you?

I have so many great many memories from my time at MPAcc, but hands down the best was meeting my future wife, who is also an MPAcc alumni!

Carolyn Main

I currently work at Medicine Hat College, located in Medicine Hat, Alberta. I am an instructor in the Business Administration department. This is a position that continues to challenge me as I go into my third year of teaching, as the college offers all core courses necessary for entry into the CPA Professional Education Program. Being that we are a small department, I am therefore lucky enough to teach many different courses! I love working with the students, and I teach everything from intro to advanced financial and managerial accounting. I do not get bored!

How did the experience of MPAcc help me in my career

Having an MPAcc degree on my resume has helped me stand out from the crowd, no question. The degree shows the ambition to take an extra step to further one's education, which speaks to his/her character. This definitely gave me a leg up when applying for new positions; employers look at you differently, and even more importantly, I think you look at yourself differently too. You have earned a master's degree, and the feeling of pride and confidence that comes with that definitely sticks with you. The MPAcc program has helped me greatly in my career thus far, from being a Municipal Accountant, to a Controller, and now an instructor, where I can pass along much of this knowledge to new accounting students. A master's level degree is required to teach CPA credit courses, and therefore I would not be where I am today without my MPAcc degree!

Greatest memory

The greatest memory I have of my time in the MPAcc program (besides being able to spend more time on the beautiful U of S campus!) are the relationships I formed with my fellow classmates. We were a fairly small group and all got along well. There was always someone around to pick you up when you felt overwhelmed, and vice versa. And, there were many laughs to be had, whether it be late at night studying on campus or out celebrating the end of exams. Good times and good memories! Of course along with that goes the feeling of great accomplishment that went with completing the degree (in particular our research project)!

Cheryne Lowe

I am currently the Chief Financial Officer and Corporate Secretary of Pine Cliff Energy Ltd., a TSX listed natural gas company based in Calgary. My responsibilities include oversight of finance, accounting and administrative functions, ensuring that the financial statements are complete, accurate and IFRS compliant, public disclosures and securities regulations, corporate secretarial duties, investor relations and financial planning.

How did the experience of MPAcc and/or the MPAcc degree help you in your career?

MPAcc helped my career in that it taught me to become a strong problem solver, effective teammate, and gave me specific tools and knowledge that added to the foundation of my knowledge in accounting and business. These skills were key to placing in the top 10 in Alberta for the UFE, successful completion of my articling time and advancing through progressively senior positions to CFO/VP Finance within 8 years through a series of junior and intermediate oil and natural gas companies.

MPAcc also helped me build confidence in public speaking as I had ample opportunities to speak in class due to the small size of class.

What is the greatest memory you have from your MPAcc experience?

The greatest memory I have from my MPAcc experience was the people, both the students and professors. We had a small cohort with a great group of people where relationships where established through studying, sharing ideas and socializing.

David Colleran

Rubicon Organics Inc. ("Rubicon") is a small to mid-cap sized company in a growth phase. The smaller size and rapid growth of the Company has allowed me to take on many roles within the business. As the Director of Finance at Rubicon I have been responsible for helping shape the Company's financial statements and other documents for reporting purposes. I have taken part in designing and rolling out Company policies and controls to manage and track cash and performance. Most recently I have helped budget and forecast spending to manage cash and support valuations of the business. With Rubicons recent growth I have begun to focus on managing the Company's Canadian arm. I am now overseeing a large capital project and working with our operations teams to develop project plans and models for accounting and operational purposes.

How did the experience of MPAcc and/or the MPAcc degree help you in your career?

The full time, immersive, classroom setting offered by the MPAcc program was a great opportunity to focus on learning some strong accounting and business fundamentals in contrast to having to balance education with work. The MPAcc program laced in some business education, which was beyond just accounting. I felt that the additional time to focus on the content and greater breadth of learning gave me a great foundation to build off of after I graduated.

What is the greatest memory you have from your MPAcc experience? OR What was the greatest benefit of MPAcc for you?

By far the most memorable part of the experience was the people in the program. MPAcc attracted like minded people, who were focused on being successful in accounting and business. This meant I had the pleasure to meet and learn alongside people with the same ambitions as my own and develop an amazing network of colleagues and friends. I am still friends with many people from the program and these friendships have been beneficial both personally and professionally.

David Lepage

I am currently part of the Internal Audit team at Google. We work with different business groups across the company to help identify risk, and provide practical insights to protect and enable growth at Google.

How did the experience of MPAcc and/or the MPAcc degree help you in your career?

MPAcc helped me to build a strong foundational knowledge of finance and accounting, but it also pushed me to think beyond the numbers. This really helped me to become a more well rounded professional, building strategic and analytical skills beyond debits and credits.

What is the greatest memory you have from your MPAcc experience? OR What was the greatest benefit of MPAcc for you?

I hate to be cliche, but I think the best memories come from meeting so many amazing people through the program. It's awesome to stay in touch with people from our class and see all the amazing things everyone is doing in their careers!

Evan Schemenauer

For the past 10 years, I have operated a sole practitioner practice that assists First Nations throughout Saskatchewan in various aspects including government intervention. I am also the Chief Financial Officer of LMNO Consulting, the largest marketing agency in Saskatchewan. The move allowed me to be closer to my family half time. As CFO of LMNO, I am transforming the company towards a system in which the partners and managers better understand their business with analytical data to back-up the decision making process, to run a far more efficient operation that is better suited towards maximum growth and profitability.

How the MPAcc experience and degree helped my career is two fold. The experience gave me a quick network of contacts throughout Saskatchewan. As one of the rare University of Regina graduates that first year to attend MPAcc, this was vital, and one of those contacts was ultimately responsible for getting me in touch with the right people to find my first job in Bermuda. Secondly, the MPAcc degree is recognized as an industry leader, and has opened the door to a lot more opportunities in my career than would be possible without it because many companies throughout my career have noticed that degree, researched it, and realized how much greater my education had been enhanced as a result.

My greatest memory

I was one of the original 19 students that took a chance on MPAcc back in 1998-99. We were truly entering the unknown, not knowing if this was going to be for our benefit or detriment, and changing things on the fly as both ourselves as students, the professors, and the management of the program were all new to this. We were lucky in that first year that nearly half of the program formed a touch football team that created an instant bond amongst us. Because we were such a small group back then, group outings were common and many of those bonds remain in place to this day, 20 years later.

Fauna Kingdon

How did the experience of MPAcc and/or the MPAcc degree help you in your career?

In my experience, the MPAcc program allowed me to harness and develop my analytical, presentation, and communication skills which improved my ability to work both well independently and with others. These skills were easily transferable into both my previous and current employment opportunities, as essentially teaching, capacity development, and mentoring are significant components of employment responsibilities.

What was the greatest benefit of MPAcc for you?

The greatest benefits of MPAcc has been the prestige and reputation of the program, the Edwards School of Business, and the University of Saskatchewan. Considering most accounting professionals are aware of the competitive selection process of the MPAcc program, it seems to be impressive on a resume and is well respected and regarded throughout Canada.

The MPAcc program allowed me to grow personally and professionally in a structured, focused, and academic atmosphere, which was well-suited to my individual learning style.

In my current position as Senior Manager of Capacity Development with the First Nations Financial Management Board (FMB), a key component of my employment is to provide tools, guidance, and education for the progress of multiple First Nations across Canada. I work with First Nation communities to build capacity within their organizations and work towards Financial Performance and Financial Management Systems Certifications from our organization.

In addition to my full-time position above, I am also a co-owner of Reveal Laser Aesthetics, which is a skin rejuvenation and hair removal treatment clinic.

Gary Summach

Current Position Chief Financial Officer of ClearStream Energy Services Inc. ClearStream provides solutions to the Energy and Industrial markets including Oil & Gas, Petrochemical, Mining, Power, Agriculture, Forestry, Infrastructure and Water Treatment. ClearStream is headquartered in Calgary and has operating locations across Canada and employs over 3,000 people.

How did the experience of MPAcc and/or the MPAcc degree help you in your career?

The MPAcc program did many things for my career early on. It helped me get through the UFE process by facilitating direct access to the professors and instructors who could me through the process, and also creating an environment where you could consult and discuss your views and approach with many fellow students. It also provided me with a much broader knowledge base and skillset as I headed into the workforce. As an accounting major, my undergrad degree was very much focused on tax and accounting. The MPAcc program provided me with additional depth on organizational design, business strategy, and effective communication, which are skills that I still use today.

What is the greatest memory you have from your MPAcc experience?

During the months leading up the UFE exam, I studied with a group of friends from the MPAcc program and have very fond memories of that summer. We studied hard but also made sure we took regular breaks that included throwing the football around and some intense games of Kaiser. That experience turned what could have been a very stressful and difficult time into one of the most memorable summers of my life.

Heidi Dieckmann

Current Position: I have worked at Kwantlen Polytechnic University as an Accounting Instructor for the past 12 years, over the course of which I have been involved in many roles including serving as Chair of the Accounting Department, redesigning the BBA program and preparing our program for the CPA Competency Mapping. I am also the author of McGraw Hill's Fundamental Accounting Principles Textbook, currently preparing to release its 16th Canadian Edition. I focus my research on student engagement and motivation, peer learning and specifically identify key strategies to meet the learning needs of today's generation of tech savvy learners.

How did the experience of MPAcc and/or the MPAcc degree help you in your career?

Both the experiences I had throughout the MPAcc program and the degree itself were foundational to my ability to achieve placement in and succeed in my role. The team building experiences and outstanding quality of instruction within the MPAcc program gave me the background to be successful in the professional training programs at KPMG.

What is the greatest memory you have from your MPAcc experience? OR What was the greatest benefit of MPAcc for you?

The MPAcc program provided a comprehensive and diverse program that enabled me to choose between a variety of career opportunities. I had the opportunity to pursue an excellent path through professional practice, and was able to transition effectively into a career in education. Through out my career as an educator I have really benefited from the analysis and critical thinking skills that I was exposed to at the MPAcc program. The technical content of the program is very strong and provided an excellent launch board for my career as a CPA and my work as an author.

Jasmine Brown

I am a partner at BDO Canada LLP and work in Financial Recovery Services. My team helps individuals and companies that are experiencing financial difficulty to take control of their financial situation in order to give them a fresh start and put them on the road toward a positive financial future.

How did your experiences at MPAcc and/or the MPAcc degree help you in your career?

While the MPAcc program was certainly key to obtaining my designation as a Chartered Accountant, the program also did a lot more. It challenged me to think, to solve problems, and to be able to make decisions. It gave me access to the knowledge and experience of both the teaching staff as well as other students. You never know where your career may take you. I didn't know at that time that I would end up working in insolvency. MPAcc provided me with a well-rounded base of knowledge - beyond accounting and tax - which has been very helpful in my career as a Licensed Insolvency Trustee.

What is the greatest memory you have from your MPAcc experience? OR What was the greatest benefit of MPAcc for you?

MPAcc was a great opportunity to meet a diverse group of new people and to get to know them on both a professional and personal level. There was a lot of time spent working together in the classroom, and no shortage of social events once class was let out!

Jeff Scott

I am the CFO and General Manager of Westech Industrial. We have offices located across North America, with most of our employees based in either: Calgary, Edmonton, Burlington, ON, London, ON, Houston, TX and Huntington Beach, CA. I am responsible for financial stewardship of the organization as well as getting involved in solving complex internal and external problems and developing and setting long term strategic plans. Our Company is a distributor & integrator of industrial controls with an array of clients in the process industry in Canada. Our USA business is primarily focused on manufacturing and selling specialized equipment in the biogas sector. As such a great deal of teamwork throughout the organization is required to deliver innovative and high quality solutions to our customers.

How did the experience of MPAcc and/or the MPAcc degree help you in your career?

MPAcc had a large focus on group projects with alot of members having varying experience and backgrounds. With that experience I developed an ability to work and build highly functional teams, which has benefited me extensively in my career.

What is the greatest memory you have from your MPAcc experience? OR What was the greatest benefit of MPAcc for you?

My greatest memory of MPacc was the fun atmosphere. Transitioning from articling in a Big 4 accounting firm all fall & winter to MPacc summer courses in Saskatoon gave me one last chance to not take student life for granted. Myself and my classmates spent alot of time enjoying the dakota dunes and willows golf courses in the evening, with a few Pilsner along the way.

Joshua McFarlen

Current Position:

Associate Vice President for Finance, Western University of Health Sciences, Pomona (Greater Los Angeles), California

Providing strategic leadership and management oversight for Finance and Accounting Operations.
Steering collaboration on process development initiatives across financial services units.
Developing, establishing and implementing financial services policies and procedures.
Reviewing, analyzing and developing internal and external financial reports.
Mentoring and training team members in the financial services area.

How did MPAcc help my career

Going through the MPAcc Program has allowed me to build both the lasting relationships and the critical leadership skills that have led me to a career that has been more fulfilling and meaningful than I ever could have predicted. MPAcc opened up doors that have ultimately allowed me to explore and enjoy beautiful places through my work, including Southern California where I currently work.

My favorite memory from my time in MPAcc was the annual Candle Lake weekend, which was a lot of fun for everyone, as well as the opportunities that the program gave me to build meaningful relationships with a fantastic group of some of the smartest, most talented and most fun people around (my MPAcc colleagues).

Marley Ervine

I am currently a Senior Accountant at Virtus Group LLP in Saskatoon. Virtus has provided me with great exposure to small business enterprise, tax, audit, consulting, and valuation. Providing employees with the opportunity to work in all different areas of public practice is something I value most about the firm and I found it especially helpful when I was preparing for the CFE.

How did the experience of MPAcc and/or the MPAcc degree help you in your career?

MPAcc has provided me with a strong foundation of knowledge in all topics we covered through the MPAcc curriculum. Most importantly MPAcc pushed me to understand the theory behind why things are done to ensure I understood the material vs. simply memorizing it. I was extremely lucky to have access to such high-quality instructors during my time in the program and they were a great pillar of support to all students, showing a genuine interest in our progress.

What is the greatest memory you have from your MPAcc experience? OR What was the greatest benefit of MPAcc for you?

It was a privilege to be classmates with so many knowledgeable students from across the country. Most importantly, we had a lot of fun together outside of the classroom. I look forward to maintaining friendships with the MPAcc class of 2018 as this was a great group of people to go through the Masters/CFE process with!

Michelle Chang

Michelle is currently the VP Finance at Native Shoes, a fast growing vegan shoe brand where she oversees the accounting and IT department. She helps put the family in her sister's family-run liquid nitrogen Ice cream shop, Buckets Ice Cream by providing strategic and financial direction.

How did the experience of MPAcc and/or the MPAcc degree help you in your career?

MPAcc taught me how the key ingredients to setting up a high performance team, which I have carried through my career.

What is the greatest memory you have from your MPAcc experience? OR What was the greatest benefit of MPAcc for you?

The network of friends that I was able to build at MPAcc. The diversity of my classmates, and their amazing abilities and experiences have taught me a lot and the friendships that I built were long lasting and invaluable.

Petre Kotev

I am an Audit Partner at KPMG Calgary serving a wide range of companies from large high profile international SEC registrants to intermediate and junior oil & gas domestic and international public companies.

How did the experience of MPAcc and/or the MPAcc degree help you in your career?

I learned not only technical skills, but also softs skills and public speaking. All of this made me a well-rounded professional and confident public speaker.

What is the greatest memory you have from your MPAcc experience? OR What was the greatest benefit of MPAcc for you?

One of the greatest benefits was forging lifelong friendships. To this day, I still hang out with many of my classmates. Professionally, the degree gave me the opportunity to become an Assistant Professor and teach accounting for a number of years at the Edwards School of Business. The teaching background with technical accounting experience help me now every day working through and resolving complex matters.

Stephen McVean

I'm currently an Associate in CIBC's Mid-Market Investment Banking group. Our group helps private companies with divestitures, acquisitions, management buyouts, and raising capital.

How did the experience of MPAcc and/or the MPAcc degree help you in your career?

The MPAcc experience was an amazing way to meet great people across Western Canada. The network of people I met at MPAcc has been very helpful in my career and I'm only a few years out of the program. I've also noticed that MPAcc has helped differentiate me from other designated accountants. In my post-UFE job search I received feedback from interviewers and hiring managers that my Masters helped set me apart from the other candidates.

What is the greatest memory you have from your MPAcc experience? OR What was the greatest benefit of MPAcc for you?

One of the great benefits of MPAcc is the fact you're face-to-face with professors everyday who want to help you learn and succeed. My greatest memory - nothing beats Thursday night MPAcc softball followed by team drinks at the Branch.

Tanner Manning

As the journey to our CPA comes to an end, it is exciting to see our MPAcc grad class branch out to new opportunities. I too have taken one of these opportunities, leaving PwC's Vancouver office for sunnier skies in the Cayman Islands. This transfer will allow me to gain exposure to a new host of clients in the assurance practice along with the hopes of being able to bring a bit more life into the work-life balance equation.

How did the experience of MPAcc and/or the MPAcc degree help you in your career?

MPAcc was a highlight in my university experience. Not only were we able to graduate with an additional degree beyond our CPA but it was an incredible opportunity to build a network of friends across the country in our field. This led me to connect with a friend who had taken a similar transfer to the Caribbean and provided me with the local insight I wanted to make my decision.

What is the greatest memory you have from your MPAcc experience? OR What was the greatest benefit of MPAcc for you?

Though the small town pub crawls and camping trips were highlights in my time at MPAcc, the friends I met along the way were easily the greatest benefit of the program. What I've come to learn through this experience is that a challenge never seems quite as daunting when you're surrounded by others climbing the same mountain. Among friends and with the amazing support from the MPAcc administration, a Master's degree and a CPA designation breezed by.

Select one of our alumni to view their story

Ready to Study With Us?

If you would like more information on our program, please contact us!

Graduate Programs Office
Edwards School of Business
University of Saskatchewan
Room 241, 25 Campus Drive
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada
S7N 5A7

Call Us 306-966-8410 Email Us Download Brochure Apply Now