Laila Shetty was so sure she was going to earn an MBA in marketing and finance that she interned in Time Warner’s marketing department during her first semester in the Graduate School of Business Administration.
But by the following semester, Shetty—who earned a bachelor’s degree in finance from Barnard College—realized that taxation was the program for her.
“I came with one intention and left with a totally different degree,” she said from Chicago, where she works as a tax consultant for Deloitte & Touche.
“Once I began taking accounting classes, I realized I liked it and was pretty good at it, so I switched to finance and accounting.
“Then [Allen Schiff, Ph.D., area chair of accounting and taxation], said, ‘You’re good at it. I think you have the disposition for it. Why don’t you look into the MTA program?’”
So roughly four years after returning to college after working at Pfizer and Columbia University, Shetty graduated in December with an MBA in public accounting and a master of science in taxation as part of the unique dual-degree MTA program. Although it was more intense, she said it was worth it.
“It’s funny how things work out. You start down one path and you’re pretty sure that’s what you want,” she said. “As it turns out, I found a totally different career path that I love.”
In addition to switching concentrations, Shetty also shifted from part-time to full-time coursework. She said she learned to master time management by having to juggle her classes, interview for internships, train for the New York City Marathon and participate in the Taxation Society.
She credited Schiff and professors Paul Bochner and Paul Lynch with helping her to stay focused. Studying alongside professors who also work outside of school helped her understand what it would take to land a job, she said.
“It’s nice to have faculty with real-life experiences that they can add to the classroom. That was something I wanted at this point in my life,” she said.
“The goal was to get the job I wanted, and I felt like everyone was focused on that. Ultimately, that’s why you go back to business school; you want a career, and everyone at Fordham understood and encouraged that.”