Gary Gregg, MS’79

Poised to graduate from the State University of New York in 1977 with a bachelor’s degree in economics, Gary Gregg knew the job picture was grim. The United States was in a deep recession. “There were not a lot of jobs for liberal arts majors,” he recalls. But roughly two years later, Gregg had a great job, thanks to Northeastern’s graduate program in professional accounting and a top-notch co-op experience.

Gregg, MS’79 — now president of agency markets for Liberty Mutual — began studying accounting at Northeastern in June 1978, after working for a year to save money. He found himself among a number of other former liberal arts majors with no accounting or finance experience. There were six months of classes, a three-month co-op job, then another six months of classes. And there was a job right after graduation — at accounting giant KPMG in Boston, where Gregg had worked on co-op.

He credits the strength of Northeastern’s academic program, as well as the experience he gained at KPMG, with jumpstarting his career.

“It changed my life,” he says. “It really did. You take an unemployable liberal arts major, and in a fairly short period of time, you have this incredible education that gives you great skills.”

Gregg’s co-op experience at KPMG was “extremely useful and real,” he says. “You were functioning right away as an entry-level accountant.”

Gregg went on to work at KPMG for 10 years, conducting audits for entities ranging from banks to insurance to hospitals to sports teams. He found public accounting “an absolutely terrific career — you don’t just learn accounting and finance, but you get exposed to all sorts of businesses and industries.”

As agency markets chief at Liberty Mutual, Gregg leads a major business unit of regional and national property and casualty companies.

Over the years, both at KPMG and Liberty Mutual, Gregg has watched numerous Northeastern co-op students successfully navigate the “real world” and provide valuable help to companies — just like he did. Their success, says Gregg, confirmed what he already thought: that Northeastern is a great place to launch a career.