Flexible Course Schedules and Innovative Programming Contribute to Success
It’s a challenging, dynamic time to be part of the business landscape in Houston and beyond. One constant, even during times of great change — every industry is in need of employees trained to audit financials, analyze complex business problems and keep organizations aligned with accounting regulations.
Continued demand for the profession and Bauer College’s emphasis on creating programs tailored to student needs have contributed to the record-breaking size of this year’s Master of Science in Accountancy (MSACCY) graduating class. More than 100 MSACCY students are expected to walk the stage at graduation this spring, compared to a graduating class of 62 just a decade ago.
“The growth is a reflection of how the Department of Accountancy & Taxation makes a point of listening to and responding to what students are asking for,” said Department Chair Kaye Newberry.
She added: “Our academic advisors noticed an increasing number of full-time students wanting to finish the program as quickly as possible in order to complete the CPA exam before starting their full-time job. Based upon the needs of our students, we started offering more classes in shorter-session formats.”
Initially, the department implemented mini-mester courses in the spring term to accommodate students with internships. That enabled students to complete classes before or after their internship, in addition to taking an internship class for credit.
In 2016, the department worked with other Bauer departments to ensure MSACCY students had the ability to take business electives in the winter-mini session, enabling them to take more classes within the term but fewer classes consecutively.
The winter mini courses were incredibly popular with both full-time and part-time students, who indicated they also wanted to take accelerated classes in summer. Beginning last summer, the department offered a business elective MSACCY students could take in a summer mini session.
The changes are a big reason the number of students in the program has increased so much, even as the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants projects a decline in enrollment in masters programs nationwide.
Another strength is strong mentorship and guidance from faculty and academic advisors, said this year’s MSACCY Outstanding Student Thu (Tracy) Nguyen.
“I am always amazed by how professional, knowledgeable, and thoughtful our academic advisors are,” Nguyen said. “They have helped many students select good courses that best fit their interests and qualify them for taking the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) examination at the same time.”
Nguyen, who was born and raised in Vietnam, added that Bauer’s Accounting Advisory Board includes representatives from Houston’s largest accounting firms.
“The board helps create a very strong program curriculum that not only prepares our students for their professional career but also attracts employers to Bauer College for recruiting. As a student, I greatly benefitted from the abundant job opportunities offered by the best companies in Houston and nationwide,” she said.
Nguyen, who earned her BBA in accounting at Bauer in 2016, will sit for the CPA exam before beginning her career at a Big Four firm’s assurance practice in August.
More facts about the program:
- The department is working to establish an Applied Data Analytics in Accounting Certificate for the MSACCY program. The first graduate level course was offered in Fall 2016, with a second course added in Fall 2017. The program currently offers five different specialization certificate tracks and the Applied Data Analytics in Accounting Certificate will be the sixth certificate.
- An MSACCY Ambassador program began in 2015. Student ambassadors help recruit other students and foster a sense of community within the program.
- The MSACCY Mentor program, which pairs faculty mentors with students during their first semester, started in Spring 2017.
- Bauer is among only 14 universities in Texas to hold AACSB accreditation in Accounting.
- The Internal Audit Program is one of eight programs in the world and one of only five in the U.S. to be recognized as a Center of Excellence by the Institute of Internal Auditors.
By Julie Bonnin