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The Best Business Schools for Accounting
An MBA in accounting prepares students for the CPA exam and trains them to become financial analysts, accountants, financial managers, auditors, and more. This article highlights three of the top U.S. schools for an MBA in accounting, which, although all emphasize accounting as a required skill for any business leader, differ in their perspective of using accounting as a framework for decision-making, general use, and behavioral management. Read on to find which school might be the perfect fit for you.
McCombs School of Business
U.S. News & World Report has ranked McCombs School of Business, located in Austin, Texas, number one in accounting programs for seven years in a row. Without debate, this is one of the brightest and best accounting programs in the country. Although a major is not a requirement for Texas MBAs, over 50 percent of McCombs students choose to pursue one of seven curriculum concentrations. The accounting concentration is broad and well rounded, seeking to educate a wide range of students: those who need a basic background in accounting are enrolled in required core courses and have the opportunity to pursue a unique speaker series offered by McCombs. Known as the Lingo series “Accounting Terms Made Easy” by Professor John Robinson and the Department of Accounting Chair Lillian Mills, the unique series breaks accounting down into language easy to understand. On the other hand, courses such as Advanced Corporate Finance or Investment Theory and Practice appeal to the finance buffs and career accountants. Students preparing for a career in investments are encouraged to take as many courses as possible. Graduates of the McCombs accounting concentration emerge well prepared for the work force and are often recruited for jobs as internal auditors, management accountants, tax accountants, and senior financial analysts.
The Wharton School
The University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business emphasizes accounting as a sector not only for those seeking to pursue a career in the industry, but as a basic foundation of behaviors for the greater population of investors, creditors, regulatory agencies, consumers, and employees. As such, the Wharton Accounting Department teaches, researches, and practices the best ways to communicate transparency of an organization’s financial state through methods such as the design of executive compensation packages, value-based purchasing incentives in health care, securities analytics, taxes and organizational design, and accounting policy. At Wharton, an MBA accounting major focuses on the user of the financial data and how information can be best communicated to the user, whether it be the employee, the board of directors, or the federal government. The flexible curriculum also allows students to mold their courses to their interests, including courses geared toward gaining certification as a CPA or CMA, leading to a high recruitment and retention rate upon graduation.
Booth School of Business
The Booth School of Business at the University of Chicago offers accounting as one dimension of a multi-disciplinary approach to business. The accounting concentration trains students to look at accounting as a larger framework for decision-making and creating effective incentive programs. Not only do students take courses in financial accounting, managerial accounting, taxes and strategy; they explore activities beyond the classroom for active learning through case competitions, on-campus networking events, and shared interest groups. Additionally, the required Booth leadership training, Leadership Effectiveness and Development (LEAD), puts students on the crux of such critical decision-making, requiring students to use the key frameworks learned in theory and apply them in negotiations and project proposals.