Alumni Spotlight - Vanessa Bastien Joseph, Master of Professional Accounting

Alumni Spotlight - Vanessa Bastien Joseph, Master of Professional Accounting

Despite the start of a global pandemic and ongoing unrest in her native Haiti, Vanessa Bastien Joseph persevered and completed the University of Miami’s UOnline Master of Professional Accounting program. "My goal was to finish," she said. "And I did. I completed the program in May 2020."

Although she was born in Miami, Florida, Bastien Joseph spent most of her childhood in Haiti. When socio-political oppression forced the family to leave the country, she returned to Miami at the age of 13. She earned a bachelor’s degree in French with a concentration in business administration and found her way to banking at J.P. Morgan Chase.

In 2011, Bastien Joseph moved back to Haiti as the country seemed stable again. After working as a loan officer for two private banks, she joined the Fonds de Developpement Industriel (FDI), a specialized financial division of Haiti's central bank, where she found herself moving more towards accounting.

“My job involves a lot of research, because I have to be able to compare two companies in the same sector to know why one is succeeding and the other is not,” she said. “But my favorite part is dealing with numbers and trying to find what makes them add up or not. When it comes to numbers, it clicks for me.”

Although she had earned an M.B.A. online, she felt she needed something more to further her career.

The UOnline Master of Professional Accounting was the perfect solution. She could develop new skills while fulfilling a lifelong dream of becoming a ’Cane – all without leaving Haiti.

Just a month after beginning the UOnline program, Haiti was on lockdown for over 15 days. In addition to the global pandemic, the country endured protests and socio-political turmoil throughout the year. Bastien Joseph experienced limited electricity, unreliable wi-fi, and flooding, but was able to continue, thanks in large part to the flexibility of the program.

"The courses do not have specific meeting times, so I was able to go in and do the work as needed. The faculty also really understood the fact that I was in a country where I might have disruptions that could prevent me from turning in assignments on time," she said. "And the way the UOnline courses were built provided engagement between my classmates and me, which helped me build relationships for support."

The experience taught her how to manage her time better, but more importantly, it enabled her to advance in her career. As Assistant Director and Project Manager at FDI, she was integrated into a special follow-up unit, which looks into clients' financial statements to identify problems and ways they can restructure their businesses to pay off their debts.

"Being a part of that team has been a tremendous honor," said Bastien Joseph. "And it's all because I completed the UOnline Master of Professional Accounting from the U, which gave me the skills necessary to do a deeper analysis of financial statements."

Bastien Joseph now hopes to take her CPA exams and the Haitian equivalent to become a certified public accountant.

Learn more about the UOnline Master of Professional Accounting.