Meg Rodeback didn’t even know the Priscilla S. Payne Outstanding Student Performance Award existed before she earned it in August 2018. But then her parents texted to say they had received a letter congratulating her on receiving the award, which is given to the top performer on the Certified Management Accountant (CMA) exam by the Institute of Certified Management Accountants (ICMA).
“I was shocked,” says Rodeback, who hails from American Fork, Utah. “I hadn’t seen the raw score, so I was just happy I passed. I wasn’t aware that my score was much better than average.” The average score on the CMA is 360/360, and most students take the exam several times. Rodeback earned a score of 450/430 after taking the exam only once.
Despite her extraordinary test results, Rodeback wasn’t always an accounting enthusiast. She started out as a business minor and was interested in a career in medical research. But after taking the introductory accounting class, she applied to the major and was accepted into BYU Marriott's School of Accountancy in 2015. “Going into the class, I didn’t expect to love it as much as I did,” says Rodeback. “I quickly found out how much I loved numbers and making them work, so I changed my plans.”
While a student at BYU Marriott, Rodeback took classes from accounting professors Kay Stice and Jim Stice. “They are both such wonderful teachers,” she says. “Their passion for their work in accounting was a huge influence on my decision to pursue the profession.”
Associate professor Steve Smith was also instrumental in helping her find a career path that suited her. Many accounting majors go on to work for one of the Big Four accounting firms after graduating and completing the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) exam. However, Rodeback wasn’t sure she wanted to go that route. Smith, the school’s ICMA representative, told her about the CMA exam and which careers were available if she passed it. She took his advice to pursue the CMA certification and, in deciding to take the career path less traveled, Rodeback has come out on top.
Rodeback graduated from BYU Marriott in 2017 and now works on internal audits for The Walt Disney Company in Burbank, California. “I’m part of a company that is very conscious of its brand,” she says. “The BYU Marriott’s School of Accountancy helped me understand the power of a good brand. It was a privilege to be part of a well-respected program, and it inspires me to do my best to carry on a legacy that has been built by the students who came before me.”
Writer: Ellen Ford