This Pirate is pursuing
a passion for numbers.
Maurice Thompson is working towards an accounting career.
Maurice Thompson, a first-year graduate student in accounting, is interning this summer with Ernst & Young in Greensboro, where he’s learning to conduct audits.
“An audit is making sure everybody’s accounts really reflect what they’re supposed to be. Because if people are lying about their finances, it can cause a lot of problems,” said Thompson, who earned his undergraduate degree at ECU in May. “It’s like being a detective, with numbers.”
Thompson learned about the “big four” through his accounting classes at ECU. “There are four big accounting firms and Ernst & Young is one of them,” he said. The accounting department within the College of Business held a “Meet the Firms” recruiting event Thompson attended. “Ernst & Young was the last booth I went to,” he said. “The guy liked me and set up an interview and I got the internship.”
Thompson said he enjoys interning with Ernst & Young because of their family atmosphere.
This isn’t Thompson’s first internship. Last summer he worked as the executive intern of human resources at Target in Greenville. After Thompson brought in a Target manager to speak about career opportunities to members of his fraternity, Alpha Kappa Psi, the manager asked him to apply for an internship.
Thompson said his internship at Target will help with his career goal of becoming a certified public accountant, because it taught him the value of teamwork and meeting deadlines. “As a CPA, you have those deadlines to meet - especially with an audit. Everyone has a piece of the audit, and at the end, everyone comes together and it’s like a puzzle.”
He also learned that working in retail wasn’t for him.
When he’s not conducting audits, Thompson manages the campus living front desk, where he and 10 ECU students help students and parents with all housing related inquiries. He has worked for Campus Living since 2010 and became the front desk manager in 2012.
“The position has helped to provide me the opportunity to learn my leadership style and integrate my learnings into other positions I have in my current life and future career,” said Thompson.
Thompson said his favorite part of the job is welcoming and assisting incoming students with the transition to college living. He plans to continue working there until he finishes his graduate program.
Thompson decided to become an accountant after taking Financial Accounting, taught by Jan Workman.
“I always knew I wanted to go into the business field, but I wasn't sure what concentration I wanted to go into,” Thompson said. “When I took that first accounting class, going to that class and seeing (Workman’s) passion for accounting really made me like the career.”
After graduation, Thompson plans to get his CPA license and work as an auditor for Ernst & Young.
Why did you choose ECU?
Because of the vibe I got from the tour before I filled out an application. My sister went here and graduated in 2006, so I didn’t really want to follow in her footsteps, but when I toured here my senior year, the school spirit made me reconsider it.
How has Alpha Kappa Psi developed you as a student?
It’s taught me professionalism and cooperation. Working with a lot of diverse individuals and getting things done has taught me how to work on a team and how to be a better professional all around.
How does managing the campus living desk work into your experience?
It’s taught me a lot of discipline. I became a manager the beginning of my junior year. It’s taught me to be accountable with making sure that I’m publishing the schedule two weeks in advance so that people know when they're working. Making sure my student staff knows about all the changing policies because people really depend on us for everything campus living-related.
Being the manager has helped me with my professional communication. I’m the middle person for my staff and the professionals who work in campus living. My professional email and voice mail etiquette, all the communication that goes along with the business, I’ve learned while I’ve been there.
How do you think your two degrees from ECU will set you apart?
My two degrees will set me apart because of the knowledge that I’m receiving. Just from my undergraduate career, I’ve learned so much and that’s because of my instructors. For the most part, all of my instructors have that real-life knowledge. I feel like seeing them and taking a little bit from them each day is going to put me ahead. The College of Business makes sure you have everything you need when you leave this university. You’re going to get a job and people are going to be able to tell that you’re an ECU graduate right away.
Photography by: Cliff Hollis
Written by: Grace Haskin
College: College of Business
Class: First-year graduate student
Hometown: Burlington, North Carolina
Hobbies & Interests: Golf, grilling, intramural sports, hanging out with my girlfriend, Alpha Kappa Psi brothers and family
Clubs & Organizations: Alpha Kappa Psi Professional Business Fraternity, National Association of Black Accountants
Hangout: Bate lobby (the business fraternity’s home base)
Place on Campus: The mall area
Place to Eat: Marathon
Class: ACCT 4631 Internal Auditing taught by
Dr. Rebecca Fay
Websites: www.ecuakpsi.com and www.bleacherreport.com
TV Show: Scandal
Movie: John Q
Most Influential Professor: Jan Workman, my first accounting professor. She is the reason I choose accounting as my career.
Dream Job: PGA Tour Golf Professional
You Can’t Live Without: Love from loved ones
Role Models: My parents, Anthony and Lucia Thompson, and my sister and ECU alumna, Michelle Thompson
Words to Live By: "I’m not a businessman, I’m a business, man!" - Jay-Z
Advice to Fellow Students: "You make the most of your time at ECU by remembering what you’re here for. Go to class on time and make sure you’re getting your work done before you engage in other activities, whether it’s on campus or off campus.
Something cool about ECU: There are electrical outlets in the trees on the mall, so you can study and relax.
“You make the most of your time at ECU by remembering what you’re here for. Go to class on time and make sure you’re getting your work done before you engage in other activities, whether it’s on campus or off campus.”
– Maurice Thompson