Ethan Lay: First MA Degree Holder from Accounting Partnership with Washington University

Ethan Lay, ’16, KA is the first of his kind from Westminster College. The CPA is the first to earn his Master’s Degree through the Westminster College-Washington University Master’s Degree in Accounting Partnership. As an added plus, Lay passed the CPA exam on the first try in December 2017, while still working on his degree.

Lay recently discussed his accounting career and how Westminster College prepared him for life outside of The Columns.

Where do you currently work, and what is your position? I’m an Associate in the Public Sector Services Group at CliftonLarsonAllen in St. Louis.

Please tell us about your experience with the combined program between Westminster and Washington University’s Olin School of Business. I feel that I graduated from the Westminster Accounting Department with a strong foundation in accounting principles. I was able to build off that foundation by applying those principles to the classes I took at Washington University.

What was the best part of the Westminster-Washington University Program? My favorite part of the program was that it challenged me to apply everything I learned to practical situations.

How did Westminster help prepare you for your life and career? Westminster played a huge role in leading me to the internships I’ve had and the career I’ve started. The great thing about Westminster is the connections you make. Westminster is a tight-knit community, and when you begin looking for jobs, alumni are a great resource you can use to get your foot in the door.

What would you say to prospective students who are considering attending Westminster? I would definitely recommend the school. When you go to a college with smaller classes, the professors are more accessible and willing to assist students with career exploration and internships. The size of Westminster also allows for leadership opportunities in and out of the classroom, which gives students a leg up when entering the job market.

What do leadership and success mean to you? To me, leadership means stepping up to the challenges that face you and bringing the best out of the people you’re surrounded by.

On the Lighter Side

What was your favorite spot on campus? The airport at the KA house.

What are some of your favorite TV shows? Some of my favorites are Game of Thrones, Peaky Blinders, and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.

What do you do in your free time? I spend time with friends, family, and my dogs, Lola and Orchid. I also play video games and basically watch any sporting event on TV.

For more information on the Westminster College-Washington University Master’s Degree Program in Accounting, please call ­­­­1-800-888-WCMO or visit

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