Smeal master of accounting program reports high graduate placement rates

More than 95 percent of this year's Smeal College of Business Integrated Master of Accounting (MAcc) Program students had already accepted a job at the time of graduation, according to program director Benjamin Lansford, clinical assistant professor of accounting.

In fact, he said, because most students hold an internship before their fifth and final year in the program, and those internships often lead to job offers, at least 80 percent of students had already accepted a full-time job before entering their final year of study.

The majority of students are placed at Big Four accounting firms — KPMG, Ernst & Young, Deloitte and PricewaterhouseCoopers — which recruit heavily at Penn State.

“Penn State is a big draw for the Big Four because we’re a one-stop shop,” said Benjamin Lansford, Integrated MAcc program director. "They find that they can recruit here efficiently.”

“Penn State is a big draw for the Big Four because we’re a one-stop shop,” said Lansford. “Not only do we have really great accounting students, but they can also look at students from other majors and colleges for positions in consulting, information technology and finance. They find that they can recruit here efficiently.”

Andres Lee will begin his fifth year of the integrated program this fall and has already accepted a full-time offer with PricewaterhouseCoopers in Philadelphia beginning in the fall of 2014. He held two internships with the company, the second of which was with the assurance group.

“The highlight of that internship came when the senior on my team asked me to crunch some numbers for him. For him to include me and depend on me made me feel like an asset to the team,” said Lee. “In the end, I was offered a full-time position, and I gladly accepted.”

“The trademark of a Penn State student in their internships is that when they’re done with a project, they go ask what they can do next," said Lansford. "The firms love that about our students.”

One reason Penn State students do so well in finding jobs is that the rigorous curriculum is tailored toward preparing them to pass their CPA exam, but Penn Staters also have strong interpersonal skills.

“I often hear from recruiters that Penn State students are special because they’re appropriately assertive,” said Lansford. “The trademark of a Penn State student in their internships is that when they’re done with a project, they go ask what they can do next. The firms love that about our students.”

The Integrated MAcc Program is a five-year program, after which students are educationally qualified to take the CPA exam and graduate with both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in accounting. The Smeal College of Business also offers a One-Year MAcc Program for students who already have a bachelor’s degree and want to pursue CPA certification.

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Last Updated September 10, 2013