January 06, 2021 • By Sydney Charles
Vivian Cai—Business Administration ’18, MPAc ’19, MFIN ’20—has broken a Merage School record as the first student to receive two master’s degrees and an undergraduate degree at the School. Although it took hard work and determination, Cai’s passion for education and her decision to pursue a double master’s was supported by her parents.
“I grew up in Dongguan, Guangdong, China, and my parents were very supportive of my decision to receive higher education in the United States. When I decided to pursue two master’s degrees, they supported me unconditionally,” Cai said. “I really appreciate their support and guidance on my education and career decisions.”
Cai made the decision to move to the United States and pursue higher education at the Merage School to gain resources and opportunities.
She explained, “I chose the Merage School because of the location and the reputation. It provides many resources, both academically and professionally. Also, I love the weather in Southern California, it makes me feel more energized and passionate.”
She decided to pursue two master’s degrees to gain valuable experience in both of her chosen fields and to reach her professional goals.
“One of my goals is to become a CFO after several years of public accounting experience and to become a successful investor,” she explained. “I believe that having both an accounting and finance background can help me in the long run. Learning accounting allows me to easily understand a company’s revenue stream and cost structure by looking at its financial statements, and learning finance enables me to valuate a company with those statements. By leveraging my knowledge, I was also able to make some fruitful investment decisions of my own.”
One thing Cai has learned from her time at the Merage School is the importance of teamwork and leadership. In fact, some of her favorite memories involve team bonding.
“Walking away with strong teamwork and leadership skills has proven to be instrumental,” said Cai. “The Merage School really cultivated my teamwork ability. In a professional setting, it’s very important to know how to find your role in a team and contribute.”
Currently, Cai is working at Fidelity Accounting Tax Inc. ─ a Seattle-based CPA firm with a focus on taxes. The triple Merage School alumna plans on returning to China and applying her newfound knowledge to a new role at a market-leading public accounting firm, MaloneBailey, LLP in Shenzhen.
She said: “I chose this firm because the position will be heavily focused on an upcoming IPO audit for the Chinese firm going public in United States, which allows me to leverage my US GAAP knowledge and to learn more about the Chinese market.”
Jana Cheng, associate director of recruitment and admissions for the MPAc program, believes that Cai’s journey can inspire other students to pursue their interests.
“Vivian’s unique trajectory and the fact that she returned to the Merage School two times shows that everyone’s educational journey is different. We all have different goals, and we can all tailor our pursuit of higher education to bolster that goal.”