Khabiyrul Gainey ’19, a recent Belk College of Business graduate, with a double major in Accounting and Finance, prepares for continued success in the Master of Accountancy (MACC) program after receiving the prestigious Commander F.M. (Mike) Reynolds Veterans Scholarship.
Khabiyrul reflected on his student experience from an undergraduate to joining the MACC program at the Belk College of Business in Fall 2019.
Photo credit: Jada Williams
What are you looking forward to in the MACC program?
I was able to custom-make it for me, so it’s going to be all the things I love, plus all the things I’m passionate about. What I did was I married the MACC program up with Data Analytics Science because earlier in my career I was in network management, that’s what I first when to school for, and I loved computers. I used to build them from scratch. So I switched up and basically took what I loved, with what I’m good at and combined them to make a data analytics combination with the MACC program. I talked to Ryan Chester and Dr. Cathey and they said it works. I’m actually the first student doing this and I’ll be the first one to try it out!
What has been the most rewarding part of receiving such a prestigious scholarship award?
If it wasn’t for the Commander Reynolds scholarship, I wouldn’t have been able to go into the MACC program. It was something where we kind of threw all our money in one basket, in the hopes for it, and it came through. Right now, I’m raising two kids - my son, Zion, who is three and my daughter, Harmani, who is one. We’re working on one household income, my wife’s an elementary school teacher. This scholarship has pretty much opened the door for me to not only accomplish the MACC but really pursue what I want to and that is the CPA exam. Otherwise, I would be studying hundreds of hours, while working, and now I can really focus and hone my skills to come out a better accountant and a better product for these companies.
“Khabiyrul stands out as a leader among his peers in the classroom. He is fully engaged in the classroom and constantly seeks to truly understand his coursework and its implications. It is evident that K is excited to learn and grow - that will take him very far in life. I was blessed to be one of his professors!”
- Dr. Gregory Martin, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Accounting, Turner School of Accountancy
Did you always know that you wanted to pursue a Master of Accountancy? How did you decide on this path?
My story is kind of weird. I actually came to school wanting to pursue psychology. I wanted to be a marriage counselor. I’m very infatuated with love and marriage so that people are together and find that perfect person, but because I had so many credits the school was very packed, so they said I wouldn’t be able to start until a semester later. In the military, at my last duty station, I was doing process insurance and looking at auditing the motor transports maintenance area. I made sure all the compliance rules and regulations were followed. I loved the process of doing that and I was trying to figure out what marries up with that so that I could go ahead and get started in school. After talking to some people they said you should consider audit and auditing falls under accounting. Next thing you know, I’m taking my first accounting class and I knocked it out of the park. I got a 4.0 my first semester!
"Khabiyrul is a very driven and determined individual who has his eye on success and has a tangible plan to get there! This is evident in his impressive accomplishments, not only in the classroom, but outside the classroom as well! He's a veteran, involved in a number of clubs and organizations in the school and Charlotte community and all around a stand-up guy! We're very excited to be welcoming Khabiyrul to the MACC program this fall!"
- Ryan Chester, MPA, Assistant Director for the Master of Accountancy and Master of Science in Real Estate programs
What helped you decide on the Master of Accountancy program at the Belk College of Business?
I have to throw his name out there, Ryan Chester. We had a bunch of talks and I told him I’m not going into the MACC program, I can do this on my own. I was in the mindset that I could do this on my own, but he sat down with me and we looked over some plans. What we saw was that, because I know he has young kids, that if I do the MACC program the biggest part that would benefit me would be the time that I would have allotted to my family. I think otherwise, trying to study and go full time to school I wouldn’t have a lot of time with my kids. I would be successful and probably still pass, but it would take me away a lot from my son and daughter. I really want to be there for them. Now the MACC program is an opportunity to spend more time with my family while still pursuing this. It’s a program that’s built for people to go get their CPA, with a good pass rate, so it’s been a blessing. Ryan has really sat down with me and given me all the information I need and really catered to making sure that I had all the information I needed as a student to say that this is the best path. I really do thank him.
Photo Credit: Jada Williams
How did your military experience influence your decision to apply for the Commander Reynolds Veterans Scholarship?
Commander Reynolds, he served at a very different time than when I served, but we had done things in the same kind of capacity. I started off as a reservist, just working hard and at the same time doing odd jobs in the civilian world. I did so well in what I was doing that, after returning from Afghanistan, that they actually allowed me to join the Inspector-Instructor staff to train people. At this point in time, I worked my way to a black belt instructor, so I was not only a transport maintenance guy but taught and instructed martial arts in the military. I taught how to drive trucks, I taught how to drive buses, I taught martial arts and that’s what I did for about four years while I was helping out with Toys for Tots. That really developed me, so by the time that I got back into the civilian world, my leadership was kind of a little bit ahead of everyone else. So I had to just to being a civilian, but it only took a bit of time and a lot of great people to help me get to where I am today. I’m really blessed to have those people.
What advice would you give Belk College undergraduate students that are starting their studies?
USE THE RESOURCES AT THE SCHOOL! UNC Charlotte has so many resources. One of the best resources that I’ve used is that you can go to at least seven places to get your resume critiqued. I started off and the Career Center critiqued my resume, then I had people in SGA critique my resume...after all that, your resume is going to nice! At the same time, you have places where you can get interview skills, go through the PILOT program at the Student Union, you can do different courses to build up your speech, learn about time management...there are just unlimited resources at UNC Charlotte! I would say to anyone - use them. Take the time, find out what’s out there and build yourself because that is what college is about. College is about developing yourself as an individual - experimenting and finding success.
ABOUT THE Commander F.M. (Mike) Reynolds Veterans Scholarship
Commander F.M. (Mike) Reynolds retired from the U.S. Navy after more than 30 years of service. During the Viet Nam war, he served as Commanding Officer of the U.S.S. Impervious, a mine sweeper operating along the coast of South Viet Nam and later in the Gulf of Tonkin. During his tour as C.O., Commander Reynolds earned the nick name “Iron Mike” for his steadfast service, fearless dedication to duty, and unwavering leadership under the most arduous conditions of war. The University of North Carolina at Charlotte recognizes the many sacrifices our veterans made while serving our country and in honor of Commander Reynolds, this scholarship was established to provide the opportunity for veterans to continue their higher education to become the next generation of public and private sector leaders committed to the service of others.