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Getting a master’s degree in accounting is a big investment in both time and money — so you’ll want to make sure you’re wringing the most out of every moment. We talked with Amy Weiss, a 2014 Master of Accounting (MACT) graduate from St. Edward’s University, who works as a tax associate at BDO, about how to take advantage of every opportunity during your education.

Stay focused.

Accounting offers high-prestige, high-paying jobs, but you’ll never land them if you don’t ace your classes first. You’ll need to hone your time-management skills and delay gratification. “I was working full time while I got my degree, so something had to go, and that was my social life,” says Weiss. “You’ve got to be highly motivated.”

Take advantage of small class sizes and dedicated instructors.

You’re not going to be lost in the shuffle in St. Edward’s classes. Don’t be afraid to ask lots of questions in class and visit your professor during office hours. They want to help you succeed. “Nurture those relationships,” says Weiss. “When I wasn’t sure what path to take next, I was always able to talk with them.”

Develop a support system.

A spouse, family members, friends — you’ll be leaning on them for help as you work on your degree, so make sure they’re fully on board with your plans. “I don’t think I did a load of laundry the entire time I was in school,” says Weiss. “My husband was — and needed to be — incredibly supportive. You just can’t do it alone.”

Get to know your classmates.

The men and women in your classes will be climbing the same accounting career ladders that you will be, and they can be invaluable resources to help you land interviews, discover new opportunities and connect you with others who can help. “Your classes can be great networking opportunity,” says Weiss. “Developing those relationships will only benefit you in the future.”

Snap up internships and other opportunities.

When recruiters come to campus, make sure you’re ready: They can be a foot in the door for your dream job. “Someone from my current firm came to recruit at St. Edward’s. When I spoke with him, he understood I couldn’t quit my job to take an internship, and he offered me a full-time position when I was done with the program.”

Learn to sell your strengths.

Working adults earning a degree have a lot more on their plate than most undergraduate students, but that may not be a liability. “As a working adult, you’re a little more seasoned, you’ve learned how to juggle priorities, and you’ve learned how to succeed,” Weiss says. “That’s something potential employers can get excited about, and it can work to your advantage.”

The Master of Accounting (MACT) program at St. Edward’s University helps students develop deep technical expertise in areas including accounting research, advanced federal taxation and fraud examination. CPA pass rates for St. Edward’s University graduates are among the top five in the state.

Erin Peterson is a freelance writer.