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Tao Guo

Tao Guo

Vanderbilt Master of Accountancy 2013


Mastering a New Language

Tao Guo learns to speak numbers


To someone like Tao Guo, English at first seems like a language of bewildering variation. Until she was 17, Tao lived in Shanghai; then started college in Canada; then moved to the United States, where she graduated from the University of Illinois-Champaign with a degree in Economics.

“The biggest surprise since moving to North America was all the different accents,” says Tao. “I went to a British school in China, so I had a British accent, and then saw that Canadians have all sorts of different accents — not to mention people from China, India and all over the world. They all speak a different English!”

Maybe that’s one reason why found the more universal language of accounting so appealing. But the diversity at Vanderbilt was appealing, too. “The program combines students from all different backgrounds, and I think that’s much better than having mostly students from accounting backgrounds,” says Tao, who played flute as part of a “band club” in Canada and counts photography among her hobbies.

She says she was also drawn to Owen because of the internship built into the one-year program. “When I looked through the curriculum and saw that, I was excited,” she says, ‘’because not all programs have that.”

The diversity at Vanderbilt, of course, means there are students from all parts of the United States. And that means, as Tao is quickly discovering, the one person in Owen’s MAcc Valuation class with an Oxfordian accent will be hearing many different brands of English.