Adkerson School gaining traction among the best
MSU’s Adkerson School of Accountancy graduates about 100 bachelor’s candidates and 35-40 master’s candidates each year. All of the spring 2016 graduates from its two master’s programs -- taxation and public accounting -- secured employment as early as a year before completing the program. PHOTO: Keats Haupt | Public Affairs
The Adkerson School of Accountancy in Mississippi State’s College of Business has earned its first-ever rankings in the nationally recognized Commerce Clearing House Public Accounting Report.
The recently released 2015 report ranked MSU’s graduate and undergraduate accounting programs 12th and 14th, respectively, among programs across the country with fewer than 15 full-time faculty members. A division of the Wolters Kluwer tax solutions firm, CCH has published annual rankings of the nation’s best college accounting programs for almost 30 years.
“Having these rankings does a lot for student recruiting and a lot for our program’s big picture,” Adkerson School of Accountancy Director Shawn Mauldin said. “We have a long history of providing quality accounting education, we have dedicated faculty concerned with engaging students, and we offer students opportunities to engage with the professional world.”
The school of accountancy graduates about 100 bachelor’s candidates and 35-40 master’s candidates each year, Mauldin said. All of its spring 2016 graduates from its two master’s programs—taxation and public accounting—secured employment as early as a year before completing the program. Many of those graduates go to one of the “Big 4” public accounting firms -- Deloitte, Ernst and Young, KPMG or PricewaterhouseCoopers-- while others land jobs with regional firms or as corporate accountants.
“The College of Business and Adkerson School of Accountancy offer an outstanding and stimulating learning experience for our undergraduate and graduate students, giving them an edge in the workforce after graduation,” said College of Business Dean Sharon Oswald. “The School of Accountancy’s recent rankings and 100 percent job placement further attest to our commitment to attracting and graduating the best and brightest students.”
That longstanding legacy is continuing with upcoming graduating classes. Grace McKellip of Slidell, Louisiana, earned her bachelor’s in May 2015 and promptly began the master’s of public accountancy program. However, she’s had a post-graduation job lined up since interning with Ernst and Young’s Houston office last summer. She plans to begin work for the firm’s Washington, D.C., office as an auditing staff member in the fall.
Typically, McKellip said, accounting students earn full-time job offers while serving their internships. The benefit of returning to school and completing a master’s program, though, is that it allows students to earn the required 150 course credits to complete the certified public accountant exam. Passing the exam greatly improves earnings and promotion potential, she added.
Similarly, Tiana Grover, a Decatur native who plans to complete her MPA in August, earned a full-time job offer while interning with the Ridgeland-based Horne LLP firm last summer.
Both McKellip and Grover credited MSU’s small class sizes, knowledgeable faculty and networking opportunities with professionals in the public accounting field for preparing them well for their careers.
“It was so advantageous to be able to build relationships with my professors who all know me by name,” McKellip said. “And the practical skills I learned in class came in handy during my internship. I remember emailing one of my professors while I was in Houston to say ‘Hey, I won an umbrella today at work because of something you taught me.’”
Neither McKellip nor Grover originally intended to be accountants. McKellip started as a chemistry major at MSU but switched to accounting after taking business classes her sophomore year. Grover aimed to be a pharmacist when she started school at East Central Community College, but she changed to accounting when she transferred to MSU as a junior.
“I’ve always liked numbers, and I’m a problem-solver, so this fits me well,” Grover said.
Mauldin said it’s fairly common for students to land on accounting after trying other majors simply due to misconceptions of the field. Plus, it’s not a field that high school students often consider.
As part of a newly developed strategic plan, Mauldin said MSU’s Adkerson School of Accountancy is aiming to enhance its resources, increase its visibility and reputation, grow and improve academic programs, and recruit, develop and retain high quality faculty.
“Obviously the foundation for what we’re doing is sound,” Mauldin said. “Many people care about what we are doing, and they want to see the school succeed. That just tells us how critical it is that we continue to implement the strategies we’ve developed.”
For more information on the school of accountancy, visit www.business.msstate.edu/programs/adkerson.
MSU is Mississippi’s leading university, available online at www.msstate.edu.
Allison Matthews | Public Affairs