By Emily Scott
Whether you’re a student finishing up your undergraduate career or a young professional looking to enter the field of accounting, you may be considering a Master of Accountancy (MAcc) degree. Obtaining an additional degree requires time, money, and dedication, so you’re probably wondering if the MAcc program is worth the investment. To help prospective students decide if the degree is right for them, Emily O’Dell, Director of Vanderbilt Business MAcc programs, discusses what you can do with a MAcc degree and what potential job opportunities are available.
What is a Masters of Accounting?
A Masters of Accounting degree prepares students to be successful business professionals in the field of public accounting. During this one-year program, students will take classes in accounting, finance, and economics to learn the fundamentals necessary for success in the accounting field. Some programs, including the one at Vanderbilt Business, also incorporate accounting internships at the Big 4 and prepare students to sit for the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) exam. Once they’ve earned the CPA certification, graduates of the program will be prepared to enter the accounting field.
What different types of jobs do the Assurance and Valuation tracks prepare you for?
The Vanderbilt Business program offers 2 tracks that prepare students for entry level jobs within the assurance and valuation lines of public accounting. “All of our students are starting out as audit associates or business valuation associates,” O’Dell said. “If you choose the Assurance track, you will be assisting in performing audits for a variety of clients, learning the ins and outs of what a business looks like, and working on teams.” In the Valuation track, students will gain similar experience but instead will be valuing a company’s assets and liabilities as opposed to performing audits. Both tracks prepare students to be successful in the field of public accounting.
What kinds of jobs does a Master of Accounting prepare you for?
The MAcc degree at Vanderbilt prepares students to sit for the CPA exam and eventually obtain an entry-level job at the Big 4 firms: Deloitte, EY, KPMG, and PwC. “We work with the Big 4 to give our students the opportunity to land a job with one of them. They are interviewing our students and typically placing them as associates in the audit and valuation service lines,” O’Dell said.
After working for the Big 4, students frequently go on to pursue work in non-accounting fields. Many students go on to work in fields such as healthcare, media and entertainment, and banking, and often these industry interests come from experiences working on specific industry accounts during their time at the Big 4. As O’Dell explains, “The exit opportunities after working for the Big 4 are a huge draw to the industry. You can learn so much and see a lot of different career paths and industries through public accounting, so you can jump out and continue to follow an industry that you are interested in.”