Brieanna Da Silva » Alumni Spotlight

MFAcc 2023 » Brieanna Da Silva 

MFAcc - Dual JD/MBA Candidate


Brieanna Da Silva
Brieanna Da Silva Founder & Law Student, Da Silva & Co. and Index Network

Born out of an insatiable curiosity and a drive for innovation, my journey has taken me from the storied halls of the University of Toronto to the dynamic landscape of Mitchell Hamline School of Law. 

At the University of Toronto, I pursued a double major in Criminal Law & Sociology, accompanied by a minor in Ethics. This foundational education laid the groundwork for my understanding of legal principles and societal dynamics, fueling my passion for the intersection of law and society. Furthering my academic pursuits, I delved into the complexities of financial investigation and legal compliance with a Master's degree in Forensic Accounting, expanding my expertise and analytical skills. 

Beyond academia, my entrepreneurial spirit led me to establish Da Silva & Co, a consulting firm specializing in helping individuals navigate academic admissions and career transitions within the legal field. Da Silva & Co provided fertile ground for creativity and innovation, allowing me to explore new horizons and embrace the challenges of entrepreneurship. 

Index Network, another venture of mine, was born out of a need to create a network of independent experts to aid the legal field. This initiative seeks to connect legal professionals with specialized expertise, fostering collaboration and innovation within the industry.

Driven by a vision to bridge the gap between law and business, I am now pursuing a dual JD/MBA program at Mitchell Hamline School of Law. With the goal of becoming dually licensed in both Canada and the US, I envision a future where legal expertise and entrepreneurial acumen converge seamlessly. 

At the core of my journey lies a passion for Intellectual Property Law—a field brimming with opportunities for collaboration and creativity across borders. I am captivated by the prospect of leveraging my interdisciplinary background to navigate the complexities of intellectual property rights and drive innovation on a global scale. 

As I embark on this new chapter, I am filled with excitement and determination. Armed with a diverse skill set and an unyielding drive to make a difference, I am ready to embrace the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. With each step, I am committed to pushing boundaries, fostering innovation, and shaping a future where law and business converge to create meaningful change.


What are some of the key skills and knowledge you acquired during the MFAcc program that are still important to you today?


Financial Investigation Techniques: Developed proficiency in advanced techniques such as forensic auditing, fraud examination, and financial statement analysis for meticulous investigations. 

Legal and Regulatory Compliance: Attained a comprehensive understanding of legal frameworks, ensuring adherence to regulations governing financial practices. 

Communication and Presentation Skills: Enhanced ability to convey complex financial information effectively to diverse audiences. 

Loss Quantification: Mastered the skills needed to assess damages comprehensively, navigate the litigation process, and quantify various types of losses. 

Enhanced Analytical Skills and Financial Irregularities Detection: Developed analytical prowess to identify patterns and anomalies indicative of financial misconduct. 

Understanding Psychology of White-Collar Criminals: Gained insights into the motivations and behaviors of white-collar criminals, aiding in prevention and detection efforts. 

Interview Skills: Acquired proficiency in conducting thorough interviews to extract crucial information during investigations. 

Research Skills and Mentorship Collaboration: Cultivated research skills and engaged in collaborative mentorship, fostering professional growth in a supportive environment.


What were some of the most valuable lessons and/or memorable experiences from your time at MFAcc?


One of the most valuable lessons I learned during my time in the MFAcc program was the importance of recognizing the intersection between law, finance, and psychology. During my studies, I discovered that dedication, perseverance, and a willingness to learn were the keys to thriving in this multidisciplinary environment. Additionally, I realized the significance of taking things slow, especially when tackling complex concepts or methodologies. Collaborating with classmates from diverse backgrounds and seeking assistance from professors were instrumental in overcoming challenges. This lesson has not only shaped my approach to learning but has also instilled in me a sense of confidence and resilience that I carry forward in my professional endeavors. 

A memorable experience during my time in the MFAcc program was working closely with my mentor, Lola Ahmedova, on my research paper focusing on money laundering and human trafficking. Collaborating with an experienced mentor not only enhanced my understanding of the subject matter but also helped me refine my research and writing process.


What advice would you give to professionals who are looking to pursue a degree and career in Forensic Accounting?


The first piece of advice I would give is to remember that a degree in Forensic Accounting is not only for those seeking a career as a Forensic Accountant. The MFAcc program also offers students a competitive edge in their career in the legal or business sectors. The skills and knowledge gained in this program, such as analytical thinking, investigative techniques, and understanding of financial regulations, are highly transferable and applicable across various industries. Nevertheless, if you do want to practice as a Forensic Accountant it is fundamental to take the time to thoroughly research and understand the field of Forensic Accounting. Familiarize yourself with the various roles, responsibilities, and specialties within the field to determine if it aligns with your interests and career goals. 

The second piece of advice would be to acquire the relevant education and experience. It is helpful to obtain further certifications, such as a CPA, CFE, CBV, CAMS to enhance your qualifications and credibility in the field. 

Third, network network network! Network with professionals already working in the field of Forensic Accounting and seek out internships or job opportunities to gain hands-on experience. Building a strong professional network and gaining practical experience can be invaluable in launching and advancing your career.


What trends or changes have you observed in your industry since graduating, and how have you adapted to them?

One notable trend I've observed in the industry since graduating is the increasing importance placed on having a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) credential or being in the process of obtaining it. Employers are placing greater emphasis on candidates who hold or are working towards their CPA designation due to the comprehensive knowledge and rigorous standards it represents. Recognizing this trend, I have taken proactive steps to learn more about pursuing a CPA designation. I understand the value it will add to my qualifications and how it will enhance my credibility and competitiveness in the field.


Are there any major accomplishments or achievements you would like to share with us?


I'm excited to share a couple of recent accomplishments that have been particularly meaningful to me. Firstly, I had the opportunity to secure a research associate internship with World Without Genocide. In this role, I am collaborating with a talented team to contribute to important research projects aimed at raising awareness and advocating for human rights. This experience has not only allowed me to apply my skills and knowledge in a real-world setting but also deepened my passion for making a positive impact in society.

Additionally, I'm proud to have been appointed as the Career Coordinator of the Student Intellectual Property Law Association at my law school. In this leadership role, I work closely with fellow students to organize events, workshops, and networking opportunities aimed at enhancing our understanding of intellectual property law and fostering professional development within the field. It's been a rewarding experience to support my peers in pursuing their career goals and furthering their interests in intellectual property law. 

These recent accomplishments have not only provided me with valuable learning experiences but have also reinforced my commitment to contributing meaningfully to both legal and humanitarian causes. I look forward to building on these achievements and continuing to make a positive impact in my academic and professional endeavors.


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