New York, NY
Ask Tara Hagan where accounting can take you, and you might be surprised by her answer. “Cairo. Nairobi. India. China. Peru. Working in public accounting gives me the flexibility to take extended vacations in the summer to explore the world with friends every year,” she says. “I’m five for seven in my quest to backpack to the Seven Wonders of the World before I turn thirty.”
She’s come a long way from her small-town Oklahoma roots. As a first-year student at the University of Oklahoma, she didn’t know which major to pick, so she went for the first one on the list – accounting. She never changed it, and she’s never looked back. “It’s been a great career starter,” Tara says. “Every day I work with a team of really smart people my age. I’m always challenged, and always learning.” And if you want to learn how business works, Tara says being a CPA will put you on the fast track. “I’m basically paid to come into a company, ask tons of questions, and learn the nuts and bolts of how they operate. What could be better?”
Tara loves how much her job varies not just from day to day, but from hour to hour. “In a given day, I may start off by talking to my clients,” she says. “Or working with my team. Or sharing ideas for a project. You never know where each day will take you.”
And in her free time, maybe she’ll spend a little time plotting her next backpacking trip, too.
“I'm basically paid to come into a company, ask tons of questions, and learn the nuts and bolts of how they operate.”
Years as a CPA: 7
Best job: Auditor at Deloitte
Worst job: Elevator operator at college football stadium on game days
Hobbies outside of work: Backpacking the world, exploring New York City, attending concerts and volunteering
Words to live by: "Be courageous."