Pursuing the CPA path: 2020 Elijah Watt Sells Award winners weigh in

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CPA Exam candidates choose to pursue the certified public accountant career path and accounting field for a variety of different reasons. From passion for the subject matter, to high career aspirations, students studying for the CPA Exam have all sorts of motivations that encourage them to study harder and pass the milestone exam. 

As passing the CPA Exam is known to be an extremely challenging feat, it takes hard work and a determined mindset to get through the studying and exam process. 

The Elijah Watt Sells Award recognizes CPA candidates who achieve a cumulative average score of 95.50 or greater across all four sections of the CPA Exam and pass all four sections on their first attempt. And from 2007-2020, more than 90% of all Elijah Watt Sells Award winners have prepared with Becker. 

Hear from the Elijah Watt Sells Award winners of 2020 and former Becker students what motivated them to take the CPA Exam, and their reasons for pursuing the CPA path.

Why did you choose to become a CPA?

“I entered college as an accounting and finance major, but hadn’t fully decided what I would do with my degree. Once I started my intermediate accounting classes, I fell in love with the subject and could clearly see myself working in accounting. I knew obtaining my CPA license would open doors in my career and so, with the encouragement of my professors, I made the decision to pursue a masters of accountancy and begin preparing for the exam. 

If you see yourself in accounting long-term, getting your CPA license will provide you with more opportunities to grow your career and advance in the workplace, regardless of whether you intend to work in private or public accounting. While passing the exam is no small challenge, it is a valuable investment in your future.”

 - Jacob Oster, former Becker student


“I first heard about getting a CPA license in college and learned more from the Becker representative who came to speak to my accounting classes. I was motivated by the many opportunities and options the certification could give me. I completed internships in both public and private accounting, and I realized that if I decided to [pursue] public, I needed the certification to move up the chain; additionally, if I decided to go private, the certification would make me more marketable and well-rounded.”

 - Michaela Peterson, former Becker student


“My professors at Villanova were the biggest motivating factor for me. As is true with most college freshmen, I had absolutely no idea what I wanted to do post-graduation. I was in the business school but was overwhelmed by all of the different majors and career paths available. My financial accounting professor my freshman year really pushed me to consider a career in accounting after I received nearly a 100% in his class.”

 - Sarah Zazzu, former Becker student


“The CPA license will be your doorway for greater opportunities, maybe not now but definitely in the future. At the end of the day, considering the competitive corporate landscape, this license will be your edge. Having it will do you good - nothing to lose, so much to gain!

 - Hannah Faye, former Becker student


“I always enjoyed working with numbers and solving problems. When I took my first accounting course in college, I was naturally good at it. From there, I decided accounting was the best option for me.”

 - Peyton Bell, former Becker student


Why did you choose Becker as your CPA Exam Review provider?

“ My company provided the Becker exam resources for me, but even if they hadn’t, I never would’ve considered any other exam prep company. Everyone I know who has passed the exams has studied with Becker. It is the best exam prep available and I never had any need to consult other review resources.”

 - Jacob Oster, former Becker student


“I chose Becker for my CPA Exam preparation because they are very supportive of your success. Becker not only visited my college classes and had a great relationship with my instructors, but I was also able to set up individual meetings with their representative to ask questions about my specific situation and how I could make it through the application and testing process while still in school. Amy put aside time for my personal situation and was very knowledgeable, and so I am very grateful.”

 - Michaela Peterson, former Becker student


“I have always been extremely self motivated and was a bit skeptical about how much I would rely on Becker in my studying. Then, one day, my friend sent me this Peter Olinto video on YouTube - I laughed the entire 3 minutes and 47 seconds of the video. That was when I knew that this was the right service for me. Sure, I could have studied for the exams on my own - but I definitely would not have had as much fun without Becker.”

 - Sarah Zazzu, former Becker student


It’s clear that CPA Exam candidates pursue the exam and CPA license for a variety of reasons, and all have relied on comprehensive exam preparation to reach their career goals. By preparing with a trusted CPA Exam Review provider, you can fulfill your career aspirations and reach the next level in your accounting career.


Learn about the prestigious Elijah Watt Sells Award criteria and more information about the award here.


Ready to start studying? From 2007-2020, more than 90% of all Elijah Watt Sells Award winners have prepared with Becker. Explore Becker CPA Exam Review.

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