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Undergraduate & Accelerated Programs

Matt Pelzer '20

Accounting, Finance, Management

Flexibility in Scheduling Helped Him Succeed

Matt Pelzer ’20 enriched his MMU experience by combining traditional and accelerated courses—allowing him to learn from faculty and working professionals.

MMU: Where does your interest in business come from and especially in finance, accounting, and management?

MP: My interest in finance came when I was a junior in high school. I was taking an economics class that had a section on financial literacy, which stressed the importance of understanding basic personal finance concepts. This course had a practical application, as everybody makes personal finance decisions on a daily basis, and this application made the course easy to connect with and inspired me to learn more about the world of finance.

"I saw the importance of becoming financially educated and was curious and eager to learn more."

I saw the importance of becoming financially educated and was curious and eager to learn more. At first, I was mostly interested in learning about investing and the stock market. After the financial literacy course, I began researching on how the stock market worked, and what to do to find good companies to invest in. I would go to sites like Investopedia to learn the basic concepts of investing, what types of investments are out there, and how each of them worked.

I also read various books on investment strategies, to try to learn how to make money in the stock market. It has become a passion of mine, and something I truly enjoy researching. This was why I chose to come to MMU, because they were one of the few schools in Iowa that is affiliated with the CFA Institute (Chartered Financial Analyst). This means that the finance program at MMU covers over 80% of what is tested on the CFA exams. While I have shifted my focus from the CFA designation to the CPA, I will continue to use what I have learned in MMU’s finance program and apply it to my personal investing strategy.

I chose to come to MMU, because they were one of the few schools in Iowa that is affiliated with the CFA Institute (Chartered Financial Analyst). This means that the finance program at MMU covers over 80% of what is tested on the CFA exams.

Matt Pelzer '20
Accounting, Finance, Management

My interest in accounting came my freshman year of college during my first course with Steve Gilmour. I enjoyed the concept of tracking the flow of money through an organization and using that data to make managerial decisions. About halfway through the course was when I decided to add accounting as a second major to compliment my finance major.

I added my third major, management, after my third year at MMU because it allowed me to take another year of business courses and expand upon my business knowledge that I had learned through my finance and accounting courses. I wanted to go a fourth year at MMU because there is a minimum credit hour requirement in order to take the CPA exam, which I plan to begin taking later this summer.

MMU: What is your job description? Can you walk us through a day at your job?

MP: I haven’t begun working quite yet, as I graduated from MMU this May. I will begin work in late June as a Staff Accountant at Terry, Lockridge & Dunn. Some of my responsibilities will include tax preparation and planning for individuals and small businesses, processing payroll reports, and other accounting functions for small to mid-sized businesses.

MMU: How did your program prepare you for your career?

MP: Throughout my four years at MMU, I completed several accounting and finance internship opportunities with various businesses in Cedar Rapids, which included Terry, Lockridge & Dunn, Transamerica, and Central Iowa Power Cooperative. While I still took a majority of my classes in the traditional format, the courses in the accelerated program allowed me to take courses at night or online. By doing so, it allowed for more time during working hours of the day to participate in these internships, which were extremely valuable learning experiences and helped me land a full-time job.

While I took most of my classes in the traditional format, the accelerated program allowed me to take courses at night or online. This gave me more time during day-time working hours to participate in internships.

Matt Pelzer '20
Accounting, Finance, Management

Personal Values Validated by Program

MMU: What values did you take from your time at MMU and how do they help your career?

MP: Two of my main personal values that helped me throughout my time at MMU and that I will continue to carry with me as I begin my career are having a strong work ethic and continuous learning. By valuing a strong work ethic, I was able to complete five internships with three different companies while remaining a full-time student. I believe that these internships helped propel my career, and I strongly encourage all students to complete at least one internship prior to graduation. I can’t stress enough how valuable the internship experience is.

Secondly, by valuing the idea of continuous learning, I always had the desire to learn as much as possible about the financial industry. Another reason I chose to go into accounting and finance was the fact that this industry is always evolving and each day presents new challenges and learning opportunities.

MMU: Do you have any advice for current Mount Mercy finance majors?

MP: My advice for finance majors would be to add a second major or minor in accounting. The two programs are complimentary of each other and allow you to gain two different perspectives on financial data. There is some overlap between the two programs, and the information learned in one program will help you better understand the other.

"By applying the concepts taught in class to your personal life, you'll be able to master concepts more quickly and become more interested in learning more about these various topics."

Also, as I mentioned before, I strongly advise all students to participate in an internship. Not only will it improve your resume, but will provide you with skills, knowledge, and experience that can’t be taught in the classroom that you will use every day as you begin your career.

I also mentioned the practical application of finance. I would encourage students to use what they learn in the classroom and apply it to their financial situation. Whether that be managing student loans, investing, taxes, or budgeting. By applying the concepts taught in class to your personal life, you will be able to master these concepts more quickly and will become more interested in learning more about these various topics.

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