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Tionna Downie '15, G'17 MSA

Within each of our Bay Path community members is an inspirational story of perseverance and strength, and we are honored to share them. This narrative originally appeared as part of Bay Path's #MyPath on social media.

"Attending an all-girls college was something I never thought I would do, but it didn't bother me. I appreciated the experience as it allowed me to feel free and comfortable. Despite already feeling at ease when speaking with others, being surrounded by supportive women helped me discover and embrace my true self even more. And be bold.

"I now work in the accounting field, which is male-dominated, but I'm not afraid to be the only woman in the room. And it goes back to the strong foundations I received at Bay Path. They really prepared us. I can't say whether I would have been as comfortable speaking up if there had been men in my classrooms. But I've found my voice now, and it can't be taken away.

"When I first started undergrad at Bay Path in 2011, I was interested in the physician assistant program. But then, I took an accounting, business, and marketing course. And that changed my mind. I knew I wanted to be in business and not in medicine. Accounting aligned with me as I continued to discover myself.

"I was studying while working at a group home doing direct care. I was promoted to a manager position when I graduated from Bay Path because one of the requirements was having a bachelor's degree. So, I was able to take my experience and manage staff right out of college.

"I also had my first daughter, Kennedy, in my senior year of undergrad, and another great thing about Bay Path is how much they accommodated me as a new mom. I would have her in the classroom as needed and was able to graduate on time, with Kennedy in attendance at my ceremony.

"But I took no breaks and went right back to school for my graduate degree while still working. When I was thinking about my Master's program, I considered UMass. But Bay Path beat them out on the price, especially with the incentive and discount they give to students who return to school. And I was already familiar with the technology and courses and trusted the faculty, especially Kara Stevens and Dean Thomas Loper.

"Kara helped me pick my second degree. She walked me through the different accounting programs – forensic, public, private, and tax - and helped me decide between an MBA or a specialized Master's. I chose the Master's of Public Accounting because getting a focused degree was more appealing for the career I wanted in auditing.

"The degree was required for my corporate finance consultant role at MassMutual. The skills I gained from learning the ins and outs of a company by doing audits prepared me, even though I haven't been directly in financial reporting. Another part of my role is to make sure that we have the right accounting policies and procedures in place that can help mitigate our risks as a company as it relates to our financial reporting. My degree has always been needed and leveraged to help me be hireable and advance in my career.

"When I'm not working or spending time with my three girls, I invest in property and home. I'm a realtor, and my accounting degrees give me a leg up in understanding markets and numbers and being a business owner. So don't think that if you get a Master's in accounting, accounting is all you can do. Use that. Use your job. Invest. And try to open more doors for yourself and your family. That's my goal and my passion - to break generational curses for my kids to have wealth even when I'm gone." - Tionna Downie ‘15, G’17 MSA #MyPath

Please visit the MS in Accounting program page to learn about curriculum, faculty, program options, and more! 

Please visit the BS in Business: Business Administration program page to learn about the curriculum, faculty, and more!

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