Release Date: May 1, 2017
BUFFALO, N.Y. — For law students, the most coveted postgraduate opportunity is a clerkship with a Supreme Court justice. For journalism grads, it’s a reporting fellowship at the New York Times. And, for accounting students, it’s an assistantship with the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) — which is exactly what Brittany Popovski has earned.
After graduating in May with a master’s in accounting from the University at Buffalo School of Management, Popovski will start as a postgraduate technical assistant at the FASB, which establishes financial accounting and reporting standards for public and private companies and nonprofits in the United States.
She is the sixth UB School of Management student in six years to earn a position at the FASB or its counterpart for state and local governments, the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB). UB is the only school in Western New York with graduates who have earned these prestigious internships.
“I will be able to work with and learn from some of the smartest people in the industry while working on major agenda projects,” says Popovski, BS ’16, MS ’17. “I’ll enhance the critical thinking skills I developed at UB and my understanding of accounting standards from many points of view. Afterward, I hope to take my knowledge and make a difference in the profession by helping clients interpret and implement new standards.”
An Orchard Park native, Popovski has completed internships with KPMG and Chiampou Travis Besaw & Kershner and is a past president of the school’s chapter of Beta Alpha Psi, an international honor organization for financial information students and professionals. She participated in the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program and placed in the top three in the school’s PwC Challenge and UB’s Elevator Pitch competition.
“The School of Management’s accounting program took me outside of my comfort zone and provided real-world projects and experiences that broadened my skillset and taught me how to contribute in a team environment,” she says. “I’m thankful for how close my class has grown and our professors’ dedication to ensuring we got the most out of our education.”
Feng Gu, associate professor and chair of the Accounting and Law Department, credits the faculty’s strong connections with the professional community and the rigorous accounting curriculum — which is continuously updated to meet industry standards — for pushing UB accounting alumni ahead of the pack.
“Our successful FASB and GASB assistants have helped cement our reputation as a premier accounting program,” says Gu. “In the School of Management, students have the opportunity to expand their networks in two accountings clubs, gain valuable experience in regional and national case competitions, and learn about issues and trends during on-campus visits from partners at national firms.”
Past FASB and GASB assistants from the School of Management have gone on to positions at EY, PwC and Deloitte. Popovski, who has already passed all four sections of the New York State CPA exam, says she’s interested in nonprofit accounting and hopes to work in that area during her yearlong position at the FASB.
“In our programs, undergraduates gain the core skills the profession requires, while master’s students further hone their critical-thinking, communication and analytical skills through complex case studies,” Gu says. “These abilities are critical for CPAs to be successful — today and tomorrow.”