It’s not difficult to see how Stevie Lynch recently landed her first full-time teaching job. Her diverse resume includes experience as an accounting associate, teaching assistant, marketing intern and … costumed character.
“That was fun,” Lynch said of donning a dog outfit at Holiday World in Santa Claus, Indiana, for five months. “I was involved with the park quite a bit. It’s near my hometown, so I got started there, worked my way up to marketing and got some good experience.”
Lynch plans to teach students some new tricks in business math and personal finance at Central High School in Evansville, after she went from being Holidog to a Screaming Eagle. She graduated with a Master of Business Administration from the University of Southern Indiana in 2016.
“With the MBA, you can expect that you’re going to learn a lot about a lot of different disciplines, but it’s going to be at a higher level,” Lynch said. “It helps challenge some of your thinking and understand how all of the different functions relate across business. You’re able to get a little bit of accounting knowledge, a little bit of computer knowledge, a little bit of statistical knowledge — everything you need to know.”
Lynch also graduated from USI with a Bachelor of Science both in Finance and in Accounting and Professional Services in 2014. She worked for accounting firm Harding, Shymanski & Company for a year-and-a-half before she landed the teaching position, which starts for the 2017-18 school year. Lynch spent five months as a teaching assistant in the USI accounting department, in preparation for her entry into the education field.
“I thought I would try the teaching thing out,” she said. “If I like it, I would consider getting a doctorate in a couple of years; I might even come back to USI. I’m going to be able to teach a lot of the subjects I like, some accounting and some finance, and just see how it goes with the students. It’s interesting. I’m pretty excited about it.”
Go With the Flow
Lynch wasn’t sure what she wanted to do for a career after she graduated from Boonville (Indiana) High School. She made some USI campus visits and ultimately decided on finance.
“After I had done that for about a year, I started to see how much USI had to offer with accounting,” Lynch said. “I was on a case study team, and I got to go on trips to Washington, D.C. and New York City. It was like, ‘Wow, I sure want to go into accounting because there’s so much going on.’ A lot of my friends who were also in accounting were getting jobs during their junior and senior years and didn’t have to worry about it, so I added accounting as a double major.”
As Lynch was moving toward graduation day, she knew she would need 150 credit hours in order to take the Certified Public Accountant exam. One of the reasons she decided to earn an MBA was to accrue those additional credits.
“A lot of accounting majors I know do the MBA as a way to get their credit hours, and it looked pretty good to me,” she said. “I wasn’t sure I wanted to get a CPA or not, but I thought, ‘This will give me management opportunities down the road, regardless.’”
Lynch also had teaching in the back of her mind when she opted to continue her higher education.
“I thought I could use this down the road to be a professor,” she said. “The MBA opened up that door, as well. I wanted to do it while I was young.”
Lynch said she was a “straight-C student” in high school before she buckled down and got serious in college. She completed the MBA program with a 3.9 GPA, almost exactly as she did in the bachelor’s degree program.
“When I got to USI and found out what I like to do and had the support, I got my GPA up,” she said. “I studied hard.”
Among Lynch’s favorite MBA courses were, not surprisingly, ACCT 601: Seminar in Management Accounting and CIS 601: Information Systems and Technology.
“In accounting, we got to give a lot of presentations and do some in-depth research into some of the topics that we just kind of did the math and the calculations for as an undergrad ,” she said. “When I was in the MBA program, we actually looked into the logic and the qualitative aspects of, ‘Okay, here’s the math, but does this decision actually make sense?’ As a business, there are always other factors, so that was really good for me.”
Lynch’s family was on hand to see her don a cap and gown, rather than a dog costume, as she graduated from the MBA program.
“They absolutely loved it,” she said. “It also inspired some of my family members and friends to get their master’s degrees. I was the first one in my family to get one. I even have a brother in med school who is considering getting an MBA from USI down the line. My mother is in the process of working on hers. My long-time boyfriend is getting his, too.”
Additionally, Lynch knows the MBA gave her the flexibility to shift gears and pursue teaching, which also provided a nice treat.
“Even as a teacher, I make a higher salary than other teachers because of my MBA,” she said. “Plus, I’ll be able to get on as a principal or school administrator easier because of my MBA. Even in a totally different field, it’s benefiting me a lot. I’m glad that I did it.”
Learn about the USI online MBA program.