By Mackenzie Burckbuchler
If you are looking to launch your career in public accounting, you have likely considered a Master of Accounting or Master of Accountancy (MAcc) program. A MAcc degree provides both long-term and immediate short-term value. To discuss the return on investment from a MAcc degree, we spoke with Emily O’Dell, Director, MAcc Programs at Vanderbilt Business.
1. CPA Results
By design, MAcc programs prepare students for the Uniform Certified Public Accountant (CPA) exam. To become a licensed CPA, all states require that candidates take at least 150 hours of coursework, which exceeds most undergraduate requirements. Earning a MAcc degree is a common way to reach the necessary hours of coursework. During your MAcc program, courses will prepare you for all 4 sections of the CPA exam: Auditing and Attestation (AUD), Business Environment and Concepts (BEC), Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR), and Regulation (REG). A MAcc program will also teach you how to critically apply that knowledge.
“At Vanderbilt, we give you the curriculum you need to get the professional license and pursue a career in accounting. But we also give you the tools you need to follow through. We are not just teaching you the basics of accounting. We are teaching you how to think critically about business decisions and the business world,” says O’Dell.
2. Confidence Gained
While enrolled in a MAcc degree program, you will likely find yourself developing invaluable soft skills. As you actively participate in group work and learn how to formulate business strategy, you will advance your interpersonal communication skills. While accounting does require strong technical skills, the most successful public accountants also know how to interact with their clients on a personal level and exhibit a high level of professionalism.
“Public accounting is face to face, which requires professionals to be in front of clients and have an executive presence. During the Vanderbilt MAcc program, you will learn how to approach partners and clients, how to ask the right questions, and how to take ownership of your business career and be the person people consult for answers,” says O’Dell.
3. Accelerated Career Growth
Many MAcc programs equip students with the education and skills to accelerate their career at a quick pace. Vanderbilt specifically has relationships with the Big 4 accounting firms that open doors for students during the recruiting process. Often, MAcc students then find themselves in a good position to advance from an entry-level position to manager quickly at one of the Big 4 firms. From there, exit opportunities are often abundant, allowing you to progress faster and find the career best suited to your interests and needs. If your goal is to hold positions such as CFO, Executive, or Partner in your career, O’Dell says earning a MAcc degree can provide you the experience and skills needed to reach those career milestones quicker.
“At Vanderbilt, we prepare students for a career in public accounting and can help, in many instances, put you on a path to a more lucrative career,” adds O’Dell “We prepare you for success, which allows you to progress faster.”