Mayte Dingman juggled family, work and military duties while earning an accounting degree from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. By using her top CliftonStrength® of Responsibility, she also found her way around a few obstacles on her route to becoming a certified public accountant (CPA).
“I never pretended I was a perfect student,” said Dingman, a Phoenix native. “I had to retake a couple accounting classes, but my Responsibility allowed me to do better each opportunity. A lot of times we’re afraid to fail, and all we really need is to pick ourselves up and be ready to work harder next time.”
Dingman, who served in the U.S. Air Force while attending the College of Business School of Accountancy, worked in various accounting and non-accounting jobs while going to school, along with being a wife and mother of two children. She now sits nine credit hours away from taking her CPA exams.
“The CPA has always been a goal of mine ever since I remember thinking about my career. Getting my CPA is my finish line because I eventually want to have my own accounting practice. It’s another way of meeting the challenge of handling more responsibility,” she said.
Another unique challenge Dingman faced included being a non-traditional transfer student. Although she originally planned to earn a master’s degree while working toward her CPA, she graduates in December with 143 credit hours, putting her very close to the 150 needed to sit for the CPA.
“When I talked to Jina Morris (MPA coordinator), we went through how many credits applied to my degree. Rather than get an MPA, it works better for my family and me to take three additional post-graduate courses because they are the only thing holding me up from taking my CPA,” said Dingman.
Morris worked closely with Dingman during both the rigors of difficult classwork and in advising Dingman about her options leading up to graduation.
“We always say having the CPA behind your name will take you far,” said Morris, an assistant professor of practice in accountancy. “Mayte is so close to the 150 hours needed to sit for CPA exams that it’s a great route for her to just take those nine extra hours rather than getting an MPA. The CPA lets you move up the ladder and gives you extra opportunities whether becoming a CFO or choosing to run your own company. It shows you’re smart enough and will put in the time to pass those tough exams.”
Dingman knew she wanted to be an accountant since high school. After going to community college, working full-time and serving in the military, she found value in classes outside of accounting as well. She knew learning all aspects of a business would help prepare for her career regardless where she works.
“My human resources class played a big part in helping me see what it takes to run a business and handle those personnel decisions. The management and marketing classes gave me more of an idea about how to set up a business from starting with a mission and structuring everything around it to be successful,” said Dingman.
She learned even more working at the university Military Veteran Success Center.
“My job there is completely unrelated to accounting. I work on putting relevant information on their Instagram account, creating flyers and updating the website. I’m in charge of communicating any news to military veterans and students for upcoming events,” she said.
The variety of experiences Dingman encountered during her years at the School of Accountancy provided her with additional confidence going forward. She appreciates the support she received from faculty.
“I had a great experience with the faculty and enjoyed getting to know them. They are very welcoming and with my other CliftonStrengths of Empathy and Harmony, I got to know more about them and their lives outside of grading papers. I am so fortunate to have been able to finish my school at Nebraska. I can’t imagine experiencing this anywhere else,” she said.
Dingman plans on completing the nine credit hours needed and take her CPA exam in early 2021. She hopes to work in a smaller accounting firm and experience what owning a similar business would be like later in her career.
To learn more about the School of Accountancy, visit: https://business.unl.edu/accounting.