A Furman Degree Skyrockets Alum’s Career

From the start, Tiffiny Murphy ‘16 knew she made the right decision by enrolling in Furman Undergraduate Evening Studies (UES). 

Tiffiny enjoyed the business aspect of her job at a local photography studio, where she had worked for more than six years. The studio’s owners treated her well, and she was happy there. In the back of her mind, however, something told her she was destined for more. “I had always wanted to get my bachelor’s degree,” Tiffiny explained “but was unsure what to major in.”

Tiffiny contemplated her return to the classroom for several years.  Ultimately, she says, “It was the realization that I could not thrive without furthering my education,” that propelled her to take action. In her search for a local university, it was essential to find one that not only made her feel welcome, but also fit her needs and goals. That is when her friend Anja Smith (’14) told her about UES at Furman.  Tiffiny learned UES offered the two majors she was drawn to most, accounting and business administration. Although she did not know where her career path might  lead, she knew these majors would aim her in the right direction.

The cost of a private university was a big concern for Tiffiny. “I was surprised to learn that Furman UES tuition was comparable to the other institutions in the Upstate, so right away I scheduled an admissions appointment to see if Furman would be a good fit for me. I liked that I met directly with the UES Director.”

Tiffiny cites several reasons for choosing Furman UES over other local options, such as Furman’s reputation for excellence, UES’s small class sizes, and its evening format, which enabled her to continue working full time during the day.

“Typically, I learn better in a smaller classroom setting because students are better able to engage with one another and directly with the professor,” she explained.

She credits her professors and UES staff for her positive Furman experience. “The real-world knowledge that UES professors bring to the classroom really connects with adult students.  Through their own experiences, instructors share relevant examples of how the material we learn in class directly applies to our careers and everyday lives. The one-on-one advising by UES staff was especially valuable, supportive, and instrumental in keeping me on track to finish my degree.” Two professors in particular greatly influenced Tiffiny, Greg Haselden and Dr. Margaret Oakes. “I was lucky to have Greg Haselden for four of my accounting classes and benefited from his vast knowledge, and Dr. Oakes’ class, The History of Detective Fiction, was my favorite class outside my major.” Tiffiny’s fellow students also made a lasting impact. “I made some really close friends here and still talk with them on a regular basis.”

Tiffiny attributes her continued professional growth to her time at Furman saying, “My experience at Furman enhanced my critical thinking and communication skills. I am more confident in my knowledge and my ability to perform in my career.”

Since graduating, Tiffiny’s career has skyrocketed. Her current employer, GrandSouth Community Bank, promoted her to Assistant Vice President of Accounting. In December 2018, she passed the certified public accounting exam and obtained her CPA License.

According to Tiffiny, “The outstanding UES accounting courses and instructors prepared me well for the CPA exam. Professor Haselden’s auditing course alone helped me pass the audit section, which is one of four parts to the CPA exam.” Now that Tiffiny has achieved a bachelor’s degree and CPA license, she is defining her next goals in life. For now, she is looking forward to growing and learning more within her organization as her responsibilities expand and change.