Each of Daniels’ four MBA programs comes with a strong cohort of classmates and post-grad connections

Grayce Lee

Grayce Lee knows that when most people think of accountants, they think of human calculators with a pocket protector sitting at a desk all day crunching numbers.

“That’s not me,” said Lee, a Denver market leader at Embark and a member of the Colorado Women’s Chamber of Commerce. “[Accountants] get to help people. We find a problem and fix it and make lives better.” In fact, Lee sees the world of accounting as vibrant—with everyday opportunities to learn about new industries and solve complex problems.

But Lee didn’t always see accounting this way. She received both a master’s and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Iowa and, at the time, she was drawn to the industry’s buttoned-up rules and black-and-white nature. Through her real-world professional experiences and a return to education at the University of Denver, she’s begun to see so many more shades of gray.

Before enrolling in DU’s full-time Denver MBA program, Lee thought she was done with school. She had no intention of pivoting her career, but found herself in a challenging work environment. With the pandemic in full swing, finding a new job felt impossible.

“I just got this wild hair one day and I told my husband I was going to apply to DU’s MBA program,” Lee said. “And it was just one of those things. It was DU or nothing.”

Lee didn’t know what to expect from heading back to school. Her previous experience with a graduate program was directly after her undergraduate studies, at a large institution that felt impersonal and overwhelming. DU immediately seemed unique.

“It just feels so different. It was wild to me the first time I met with career services at DU, and they said I could reach out to any DU alum and they’re going to respond,” she explained. “It just felt small and cozy and approachable.”

During her time in the Denver MBA, Grayce Lee worked with Seven Seas Water Group on a project for the program’s Social Good Challenge.

During her time studying at DU, Lee had the opportunity to drill deeper into accounting and explore new areas of business with classmates from around the world. She explored marketing and analytics, for example, and was able to share her passion for accounting with other students, while practicing confidence-building skills through class presentations and conversations.

Lee also studied her classmates and professors—especially other women—to learn from their leadership skills and interactions. Getting to study alongside people with a wide variety of skillsets and life experiences expanded her own reality in an invaluable way. It was these intangible experiences that most enriched Lee’s time at DU.

“Getting to be exposed to people of different ages, different backgrounds, different nationalities that all wanted to be in this same space to learn but brought different things to the table was so important,” she said. “And I think the more people can broaden their viewpoint on all things in life, the better off you’re going to be as a human and as an employee.”

In fact, Lee says her time in the Denver MBA has already been more integral to her career path than she thought. Even though she didn’t pivot away from accounting, Lee did pursue a new job at Embark, a business consulting firm that prioritizes work-life balance and a different approach to accounting.

After just over a year with the company, a market leader position opened up, and Lee jumped at the opportunity. In July 2023, she started in the new role. “I don’t think that I would’ve had the confidence to apply for this role without [the MBA program],” she said.

As a market leader, Lee is passionate about making sure her teammates have everything they need to thrive. She hopes she can give back to future MBA students as well—through conversations that open new doors and the connection she thinks is so critical.  

“I think it’s like important that when we connect with others and that we share the good and the bad because there are so many things in life that we feel shameful about, whether that’s society pressure, family pressure or our own pressure,” she said. “The more we’re able to connect with others and show our true selves, the better it is for everyone.”

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The Daniels College of Business offers four MBA programs designed for the individual needs and experiences of business professionals.
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