McCombs accounting program ranks first in national survey

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For the fourth year running, the McCombs School of Business ranked No. 1 among academic institutions for accounting in a national report evaluating graduate success.

The 2013 Public Accounting Report involved polls of hundreds of accounting professors from nearly 200 institutions, asking them to evaluate programs based on the likelihood of graduates becoming partners — the highest rank for an accountant in a public firm. McCombs placed first in all three categories in the PAR survey: undergraduate, master’s and Ph.D.

Jim Franklin, the school’s Master in Professional Accounting (MPA) program director, said he thinks the department’s success starts with an exceptional faculty.

“Our faculty are not just outstanding professors in the classroom, but they are also amazing researchers who have a lot of their work published in prominent academic journals,” Franklin said. 

Franklin also cited the culture of the student body as a factor in the school’s success.

“[Students] who come to the school are smart and energetic, with a sincere desire to really work hard and achieve,” Franklin said. “When you bring in an outstanding faculty to teach them, you end up with outstanding graduates who go on to do great things.” 

Accounting department Chair Lillian Mills said she was encouraged by the graduates’ employment prospects, saying some of the nation’s top accounting firms hire more UT graduates than graduates from any other school. 

“Our students are in high demand by employers,” Mills said. “We attract more than 100 non-[Certified Public Accountant] firm employers to campus who are eager to hire our accounting graduates. As a result, each year about 95 percent of our students are employed at graduation.” 

In addition to maintaining their No. 1 ranking, the accounting department recently created a new partnership with Ernst & Young Foundation, an accounting firm, to attract minority students to the field. 

“We are partnering with Ernst & Young to attract and mentor more under-represented minority students to UT’s MPA program,” Mills said. “By pairing interested minority MPA students with a working professional mentor from Ernst & Young, and pairing those same MPA students as ambassadors to interested McCombs sophomores, we expect to attract more business students to major in accounting.”

Fifth year MPA student Francisco Loredo said he was drawn to McCombs’ rich history and student life, as well as to its internationally renowned faculty. 

“Inside the classroom, professors challenge [students] to not only learn and understand accounting, but to identify issues with current standards and practice,” Loredo said. “The program also helps build team work and leadership — skills that are so crucial in the business world.”