Mike Dignetti attends the Smeal College of Business at Penn State and is planning to earn his CPA so he can work for a public accounting firm as a tax accountant. He’ll graduate in May 2019 with a Bachelor’s in Accounting but will return to Penn State to complete a 1-year MAcc program.
He chose Penn State because of its extensive graduate student network, which makes a strong effort to help underclassmen and recent graduates. But there’s more to it than that.
In addition to the helpfulness and professional network afforded to a Penn State graduate, a high-quality education is another reason I was attracted to Penn State. [ . . . It] boasts an impressive, nationally ranked business school with many different majors.
Tax, Mike explains, became the obvious career choice after he took a diverse selection of accounting classes. He also received some encouragement from an accountant he already knew . . .
I began my college career in mechanical engineering and quickly realized I didn’t enjoy the material I was learning. My mom works as a tax accountant, so she suggested I take the entry level accounting class. I realized early on that everything I was learning in the class made perfect sense to me and I enjoyed doing the work more than I enjoyed any other class I had ever taken.
Outside of his studies, Mike focuses on enjoying the things he loves, especially in the company of others. Sports, he tells us, have always been close to his heart and a core part of his life. He greatly enjoys attending or watching events, particularly with friends and family.
Sports have always been a large part of my life, and some of my favorite college memories have been attending Penn State football games with my best friends. Whenever I am taking a study break or hanging out with my roommates we are almost always watching sports. I also play intramural soccer with my friends, so that is something I do almost weekly while at school.
Seeing more of Europe has become one of Mike’s big goals, as has learning new languages. Among items he has crossed off his bucket list he includes having traveled and met family living in Italy.
It was really cool that even though we had never met, and spoke different languages, we were still able to hang out and have fun. Something I still want to do is become fluent in a foreign language[…]I have always wanted to travel the world and see all of Europe because it looks beautiful in pictures and movies. I would love to be able to live there and be able to communicate with everyone without difficulty.
Mike heard about Gleim through an email from a Smeal employee who mentioned the Gleim Campus Rep program. At that time, he had just begun looking into taking the CPA exam. Not only did the program suit his plans, it solved the problem of cost.
I joined the Campus Rep program because I want to take my CPA after school, and don’t want to worry about finding a way to come up with the money to cover the costs of the exam.
By becoming a Campus Rep, Mike says, he learned much more about Gleim and the many solutions it offers to students and candidates. His favorite course feature? The Study Planner:
It saves a lot of hassle, having the system automatically plan out [the studying] for you [. . .] and the reminder aspect is helpful too. I would have no idea how to break down studying for the exam myself, and I felt as though that is just one thing I shouldn’t have to worry about when studying [. . .]
The accounting certification journey poses unique challenges to each and every candidate. In Mike’s experience, identifying the best, most personalized pathway was difficult at first.
So far, the most challenging part was figuring out which exam review guide to choose [. . .] and even harder [was] deciding which exam review would fit my needs the best [. . .]
But narrowing down his options and arriving at a choice that felt just right for him was what set Mike on a confident, comfortable path.
The most rewarding part has been when I finally chose Gleim to be my exam review. It lifted a huge weight off my shoulders to finally find a review guide that I liked and which fit my needs. It allowed me to focus on preparing myself for the actual exam without worrying about anything else.
At first there may not seem to be a clear connection between accounting, studying, and sports, but they all agree on at least one important thing—there’s power in well-coordinated numbers (interestingly, there’s also no “I” in “CPA,” “study”, or “team”). This is a philosophy Mike applies to his review.
I like to study in the Business Building on campus surrounded by friends from my classes. It is best when we are all focused and studying [for] the same exam because we understand the studying we need to do but can also help each other out. It’s also nice studying with friends because there are times when a study break is desperately needed, so being with friends makes that convenient.
His advice to other students who are going into accounting? Zoom out before zeroing in.
Take a diverse selection of classes in the separate professional accounting fields (audit, tax, management, etc.) early on in your college career. This will really help when you are talking with recruiters because you will appear intelligent and forward-looking. It will really impress recruiters, saying you are interested in a specific field instead of saying “I don’t know” [. . .]
Knowing how, when, and why to take the right advice is something of a talent for Mike Dignetti, and as it turns out, his most trusted advisors are also the people who inspire him the most:
Both my parents inspire me and motivate me to become the best person I can. They are both incredible people that raised four children, sacrificing their interests to make sure me and my siblings always had the opportunity to live our best life. They never complained even though I know they sacrificed a lot. I wouldn’t be half the person I am today without them and wouldn’t have experienced most of what I have been blessed with if it weren’t for their selflessness and devotion to giving us everything we asked for. They’ve taught me everything I know, and I know I can always count on them for advice.