Hear From Christos Vagenas about the M.S. in Accounting Program

Program: M. S. in Accounting, entering fall 2020*
*Christos graduated in spring 2021 and accepted a full-time position with EY.
Hometown: Pasadena, CA
Undergraduate Experience: Azusa Pacific University | B.S. in Accounting

Christos Vagenas considers himself a “people person” and is a proud Greek American who grew up in his family’s restaurant business. Prior to enrolling in the LMU M.S. in Accounting program in fall 2020, he worked as a tax intern at Lucas Horsfall in Pasadena, and completed an audit internship with EY. He’s ready for his next big challenge – earning a master’s degree at LMU.

What was the aha moment that led you to apply to the LMU M.S. in Accounting program?
Growing up, my mother did the bookkeeping for our family’s restaurant and I helped her. It was a way to spend time with her. After many endless nights spent with my mother organizing papers, recording information and conversing about our family business, I realized I have a passion for numbers and that accounting was my calling. I learned that through accounting, I can help people, which is a good feeling.

The memories with my mom as a young teenager led me to enjoy the work I do as an accounting intern and as a businessman. To be a successful accountant, you need to understand the language of business first. Every business person or establishment is managed differently. However, understanding and knowing how money flows in and out of companies is probably the most exciting thing for me. A master’s degree in accounting will assist in furthering my capability to help others and my family.

Why did you choose the LMU M.S. in Accounting program?
I had a close friend who was an accounting major at LMU who said great things about the program and school. When I was researching graduate accounting programs in Southern California, I wanted to connect with program directors to learn what the university and program was like. LMU provided me with the best communications and program transparency of all universities. I spoke with Dr. Terry Wang, the program director, and was able to visit a class and experience the program firsthand. After meeting with some of the program staff and faculty as well as Dr. Wang, I felt wanted and at home with LMU. I also believed it would open more doors for me with companies than other schools.

What do you hope to achieve professionally with your LMU graduate education?
Earning an M.S. in Accounting will prepare me to sit for and pass the California CPA exam. I plan to focus on data analytics in order to work in that area in audit or tax for a Big 4 accounting firm. My degree will give me a head start, help me further my career and give me a better mastery of accounting. I enjoy accounting, like keeping busy, have worked throughout college and am always ready for the next challenge that life brings.

What are you most excited about as you enter the program?
Not only will LMU enhance my skills in leadership, critical thinking, and giving back to the community, it will also challenge me intellectually and give me a competitive edge. Coming from a smaller university that allows students to maintain a one-on-one relationship with their professors is very important to me. I want to be the catalyst in the classroom, sharing my leadership skills, work ethic, personality, adaptability, communication, and creativity to meet the deadlines.

I’m excited to move on to the next step in my life, in a new atmosphere and work with new individuals. I look forward to making connections with classmates, professors as well as through my professors. Everything is going to change and I want to be with people who want to push for the future.

What’s your favorite thing to do in Los Angeles?
Greek dancing! I have been a dance director at a Greek parish in Pasadena for the past five years. Being part of this program allowed me to preserve my country’s love for dance. A little-known fact is that Greece has the most considerable variations of dance. I am also the president of a nonprofit foundation called Koinonia, which means “community” in Greek, that promotes Greek culture, hosts events and provides scholarships.