Immersive experiences set MSA/MBA students apart


GSPA

After immersing themselves in day-to-day accounting activities at one of the “global seven,” some of the top accounting firms in the world, 61 D’Amore-McKim Graduate School of Professional Accounting (GSPA) students in the dual Master of Science in Accounting and Master of Business Administration have returned to campus. Many are back with job offers in a sector that they had little to no experience in just 11 months ago.

The 51st cohort of Graduate School of Professional Accounting (GSPA) students are back from the program’s three-month work experience at a leading public accounting firm, and many have already been offered work positions after graduation.

The program is an intensive dual degree 15-month program, designed for students with undergraduate liberal arts degrees. Twelve months of the program are spent in the classroom, consisting of a summer session, a fall session, a spring internship, and a closing summer session, where classes are taken with newly-applicable business experience.

Students say they are attracted to the program because of its acceleration, two degrees simultaneously and an experiential learning opportunity. During their time at the firms, many students partner with program alumni, engrossing themselves in the accounting field with help from someone who also went through the program and understands the challenges they face.

In the past 10 years alone, the program has had a virtual success rate of 100% job placement, with most students being offered, and accepting positions. Since the program was founded in 1965 by Professor Joseph Golemme, there is now a current alumni network of over 3,000 graduates worldwide.

With curriculum specifically designed to prepare students for the certified public accountant (CPA) exam, accounting firm partners work with GSPA program professors to design a complete experience both in the classroom and at work, creating a holistic learning approach in either audit or tax accounting.

Many students cite the structure of the program as a key to their success. Each cohort works during winter tax season, the busiest months of the year, and performing under these circumstances while working with a variety of clients, affords an experience level that often sets them ahead. MSA/MBA students get to work with leading global firms, with clients on the New York Stock Exchange, including Binder, Dijker, Otte, USA, LLP (BDO), Deloitte, LLP, Ernst & Young, LLP, Grant Thornton, LLP, Klynveld Peat Marwick Goerdeler (KPMG), RSM and PricewaterhouseCoopers, LLP(PwC).

Faculty and students thoughts about the D’Amore-McKim MSA/MBA:

“I’ve taught in the program for two years and this upcoming summer will be my third. I love teaching students with liberal arts backgrounds because they are critical thinkers with a broad base of information to draw from. One of the best things for students is obtaining a liberal arts degree and getting a sense of the world, and then coming back and adding on an accounting degree. It just makes so much sense,” said Associate Professor of Accounting Wendy Bailey.

“I was an English literature undergraduate student and after graduating I got a job as a development and business assistant at a non-profit. I was dealing with money and accounting and saw what exactly goes into a budget…which is what drove me to get an accounting degree, plus the MBA at Northeastern. It makes it easier to set back out on a different accounting level,” said Brian Hannagan, MSA/MBA’16, who was offered a position at the firm BDO, USA, LLP.

“The internship really gives you an idea of what it’s like to work in the field, so coming back to school there are no storm clouds or confusion, you know now how it will be working in accounting and you can then apply what you learned in the last few months to the last few weeks of classes with a different, more prepared view,” said Rachel Burgess, MSA/MBA’16, who was offered a position at the firm PwC, LLP.

“It’s interesting to watch them when they come back from working in a firm. They’re working so hard and they come back with a desirable level of self-confidence, it’s enhanced by the experience. It’s only 10-12 weeks but they may do six months of work during those 12 weeks,” said Executive Professor and Accounting Academic Specialist in the GSPA program, Dan Archabal.