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The Problem Solver

Strategic planning and changing lives is the thing for Sydney Martin MBT ’20

May 08, 2020

With a position as a tax associate at Deloitte right around the corner, Sydney Martin MBT ’20 has come a long way since last summer. With a bachelor of arts in economics and French, she signed up for USC Leventhal’s Summer Intensive to get up to speed for a Master of Business Taxation. In the eight-week program, she took 15 credits worth of accounting core courses. 

“It was all day, five days a week, and was incredibly challenging, but it gave me such a solid foundation for beginning my master’s program,” she said. “Making it through Merle Hopkins’ Intermediate Accounting 1 and 2 in three weeks was a major accomplishment.” 

Martin came into the MBT program with professional experience. She had worked as a lead tax assistant at GreerWalker in Charlotte, N.C., for a couple years with her undergrad degree before coming to Leventhal. She said her economics education gave her an excellent foundation for problem solving and she wanted to pursue a career where she could work with clients to solve problems.

“Tax did exactly that,” she said. “Tax is unique in my opinion in that you can see tangible changes in the clients you work with, both large and small, because of the tax planning. Strategic planning is one of the most interesting things for me, and I look at tax consulting as a sort of puzzle that can help businesses and individuals thrive in ways that would not be possible without the problem solving that goes on in the profession.”

A native of Laguna Beach, Calif., Martin chose Leventhal over other programs because she is a lifelong Trojan—her mom attended USC Marshall—and because of the specialized tax program, which no other top 10 program has.

Since then, she has realized another great benefit. “The network that I've formed over the past year in this program is unparalleled,” she said. “I have found both lifelong friends as well as lasting connections with faculty who I will continue to learn from after I leave USC.”

Leventhal’s reputation also contributed to her landing the Deloitte job way back in October. What most excites her about the position she starts in July is the opportunity for continuous learning.

“A company like Deloitte has opportunities in so many areas, and I'm excited to be able to learn from each and apply what I've learned. The company has incredible exposure I am excited to take advantage of,” she said.