Before going into how and why I chose California State University Fullerton (or Cal State Fullerton for short) for my accounting degree, let me provide you with a little bit of my background. Being an accountant was not always my dream. As a matter of fact, I was against the idea of becoming an accountant when I was young. In the past, Vietnamese society had always viewed accountants as a low-wage profession. However, I felt that destiny had decided that I would one day be an accountant. Back when I was in middle school in Vietnam, business schools were among the top-rated. Most of my friends wanted to get into well-known public business schools such as Foreign Trade University, Banking University of Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC), Vietnam National University, etc. I was not an exception. My goal back then was to become a business student. Like everybody else, to achieve my goal, I spent most of my student life studying and getting good grades in school. Because there were not enough business universities to accommodate the education needs of all students, the competition among the students was stiff. It was one of the reasons why Vietnam’s university entrance exam was hard. It was to ensure that only top students could get into universities. The rest of the students had to sign up for career colleges if they wanted to advance their education. Things have been getting a lot easier these days. Numerous new private universities were founded, and many families can afford to send their children abroad for college. Nowadays, the entrance exam is not as hard as it used to be. In my case, I chose Cal State Fullerton after I graduated from my university in Vietnam.
After twelve years of diligent work, I was able to get into one of the best business universities in Vietnam. The school I attended was the University of Economics HCMC. After my college admission, I found out that I did not have any particular career objectives in mind. All I knew was I wanted to be an office worker. It was the sole reason why I chose business administration as my major, which can give me a broad understanding of fundamental business concepts and expose me to all areas of business, such as accounting, finance, marketing, and economics. For all the courses that I took during my undergraduate studies, I enjoyed the ones that involved numbers and calculations the most. In high school, math had always been my favorite subject, and it continued to be so during college. Despite taking only a few courses in accounting, I knew that this was the subject that I wanted to study further. It was the primary motivation for me to pursue a master’s degree in accounting at Cal State Fullerton.
Several factors led me to my decision to choose Cal State Fullerton as my graduate school but not others. First, the U.S. has always been my number one choice when it comes to education. It is undeniable that the American education system has an excellent international reputation. Many American universities are among the top-ranked globally. U.S. degrees are acknowledged around the world. Second, California has the largest economy in the U.S. (Wikipedia). Furthermore, California is one of the most culturally diverse states in the country. Third, I always prefer public universities to private ones. This is a common preference among Vietnamese people. In Vietnam, most public schools have better quality than private schools. Even the worst public schools are considered superior to the best private schools. Consequently, it is much harder to get accepted to public schools. CSU Fullerton belongs to the California State University system, one of the two most significant and most reputable state university systems in California, along with the University of California system. Fourth, CSUF’s accounting program is well known for its high-quality and excellent professors.
Moreover, the accounting program and the business programs at CSUF is accredited by AACSB (dual accreditation). In fact, the business college of CSUF (Mihaylo College) is the largest accredited business school in California and the fifth largest in the U.S., and it is one of five undergraduate business schools in California with accreditation in accounting. In my opinion, the accounting program at CSUF is second only to the one at USC in Southern California. However, USC is much more expensive. CSUF is more affordable, especially to an international student like me, who had to pay out-of-state tuition. Plus, USC is a private school. Finally, CSUF has relatively small class sizes. According to U.S. News Education (2013), Cal State Fullerton students received specialized attention with a 26:1 student-to-faculty ratio and 21.4 percent of Fullerton’s class sizes averaging fewer than 20 students. All these factors make CSUF a great choice for students who want to earn a degree in accounting or business.
In terms of student clubs, the Accounting Society and Beta Alpha Psi (BAP) are the two most popular clubs that accounting students can join. The quality of these two clubs enhanced my positive experience at Cal State Fullerton. I was a member of both clubs the whole time. Not only they helped me get more involved on campus, but they also gave me chances to promote my professional development through their activities and events. Meet the Firms, Mock Interviews, and Office Tours were my three favorite events. They were all beneficial to me. Meet the Firms was the biggest event for the club members because it was held only twice a year, once in the spring semesters, and once in the fall semesters. During this event, I had the opportunity to network with working professionals from local accounting firms. From the conversations with those professionals, I was able to get an idea of how to prepare myself for my future career. I also had good times meeting new people during the Office Tour events, which were held more frequently than Meet the Firms. Each Office Tour offered me a chance to visit a firm’s office. It was good learning exposure to a variety of working environments.
My most memorable event was the pumpkin decorating contest in my last semester. I worked with other members to create a pumpkin masterpiece called “Mihayloween”. Even though we did not win, it was fun for me, and I made a lot of new friends.
To sum up, I was upset that I had to leave CSUF after my graduation. I love the campus and the people there. I think choosing to study at CSUF was one of the best decisions that I have ever made.