Alumnus, John Schlaack, received his Master of Science in Accounting (MSA) in 2019 from the University of Michigan-Flint. John currently works in the IT/Accounting field in the automotive industry for the last 30+ years and is now starting his journey on his “second career” as a university instructor. He is currently enrolled in a Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) program. As our featured Alumni of the month, John comments on how his MSA degree will influence his future teaching career, advice for students or recent grads interested in the accounting field, and more!
Q: Degree(s) and graduation year:
A: Master of Science in Accounting (MSA), 2019
Q: Pursuing another degree?
A: Currently enrolled in a DBA program.
Q: Where are you currently working and your title? How long have you been in this position or at this organization? What is your job like day to day?
A: I am employed at Martinrea International as the Global IT Director. I have been employed in this position for the past 2 1/2 years.
I am responsible for the implementation, development, and support of Global ERP systems. This includes the creation of new functionalities to meet company or customers’ requirements.
Q: Describe your career path.
A: I have worked in the Accounting and IT functions in the automotive industry for over 30 years. Earlier I had the opportunity to teach at the university and am now completing my doctoral program in accounting to start my “second” career.
Q: Why did you choose to go into the career path you are currently in?
A: Always favored subjects that were analytical and have enjoyed the opportunity of being on global projects implementing financial systems.
Q: Why did you choose UM-Flint for your degree?
A: After graduating, I enrolled in a doctoral in accounting program. This MSA at UM-Flint and this doctoral program will help me prepare for my second career as a university instructor.
Q: What is the most important thing you learned while you were at UM-Flint? What is the most important thing you learned while you were at UM-Flint?
A: The need to interact with faculty and classmates to get a fuller picture of the subject matter.
Q: Who influenced you most during your time at UM-Flint and why?
A: Each professor was excellent and added to my education.
Q: Share your best college memory.
A: Each class initiated coursework online, and filled in the blanks when I got to attend class time and interact with instructors and fellow classmates.
Q: How did your education at UM-Flint prepare you for what you are doing today?
A: After graduating, I enrolled in a doctoral in accounting program. The MSA program at UM-Flint and this doctoral program will help me prepare for my second career as a university instructor.
Q: What is one of your favorite events you attended or classroom experiences at UM-Flint? Why?
A: In the Accounting Systems course, the professor gave an overview of setting up databases needed for the course final project. I was missing a few important steps. After sitting through his instruction, a light bulb went off!
Q: What is a long-term career or professional goal you have for yourself?
A: As I near completion of my first career in manufacturing accounting and information systems, I am finalizing my preparation for my second career in teaching the skills I have learned over the past number of years.
Q: What is one of your proudest accomplishments so far?
A: Completion of my MSA at UM-Flint, and the attendance of my family at the graduation.
Q: What advice would you give current students or recent graduates interested in pursuing a career in your professional field?
A: Having a strong understanding of accounting and system logic (i.e., database management) is crucial in all fields of business. Understand that education does not stop when you graduate. Continuing education and skill development never stops!
Q: Fun Facts!
A: Favorite vacation was a trip to Arizona for college and Cactus League baseball!