Student Profile: Celine Olcott

Masters in Accounting

Some people spend a lifetime figuring out what they love doing, but not Celine Olcott. She discovered her passion for accounting in high school.

“I decided to take a math elective in accounting my junior year and immediately fell in love with it. There was nothing more satisfying than having everything balance out at the end,” she said.

A student of Wake Forest’s five-year accounting program, Olcott finished at the top of her 2017 undergraduate class before continuing on to her final year to earn her MSA this spring. Last year, she received the Spirit of Wayne Calloway award, which honors a student who exemplifies the best the School has to offer the business world and society.

“I knew I wanted to attend a college with a strong accounting program,” said Olcott. “With the number 1 CPA pass rate in the country and a beautiful building to call home, the School was very impressive. Specifically for the MSA year, I chose Wake Forest for the unique Financial Transaction Services track because I knew that would be more applicable to my career interests.”

Her unwavering commitment to the field of accounting has been exemplary during her five years at Wake Forest. She has served as a teaching assistant for a medley of accounting courses, eventually acting as a lead teaching assistant responsible for overseeing the work of more than three dozen TAs. She also organized an event called Why Accounting? to encourage sophomore business students to think beyond the traditionally bland accounting stereotypes.

“The introductory accounting course at Wake Forest has the reputation for being one of the most difficult courses at the University, so I invited some of Wake Forest’s distinguished accounting professors to share their unique professional career journeys to demonstrate to students the endless possibilities an accounting degree provides,” Olcott said.

Not surprisingly, her passion paid off when sophomores reached out to her after the event to say they were declaring accounting as their major.

But perhaps what has inspired Olcott the most was the mentoring she received from professors Anna Cianci and Cynthia Tessien.

“Besides accounting, they have taught me so much about joy. I find joy in helping others and continuously learning, so I hope for a career that gives me the opportunity to do those things.”

Olcott is already beginning her career on the right foot. She’s been chosen to serve as a postgraduate technical assistant (PTA) at the Financial Accounting Standards Board. Her one-year term will allow her to become highly involved with the accounting standards-setting process and gain a deep understanding of the roles played by preparers, auditors, and financial information users. After completing the PTA program, she’ll return to PwC’s Deals Practice in their Capital Markets and Accounting Advisory group in New York City, where she interned last winter.