Kenan-Flagler Business School has long offered one of the nation’s top-ranked master of accounting programs. Starting next summer, the school plans to also make the program available online.
“Demand for hiring our MAC graduates has never been stronger, with 98 percent having accepted employment offers by graduation,” said Kenan-Flagler’s Dean Douglas A. Shackelford ’80, who also is a Meade H. Willis Distinguished Professor of taxation. “Historically, firms have wanted to hire more of our graduates, but space constraints prevented us from increasing the program’s size. Technology now lets us increase access to a UNC education for even more talented people and meet the demand from companies who want to hire them.”
The program’s online format will be called Accounting@UNC.
The field offers diverse opportunities and a career path where human capital is the currency, according to Jana Raedy, associate dean of the MAC Program since 2011 and Ernst & Young Scholar in accounting. “Today an accounting degree is more powerful than ever before. I can’t think of a master’s program that provides higher return on investment for long-term success.”
And it’s not just for accounting or business majors. “History and English majors, please apply. We value liberal arts education, and it benefits our graduates’ long-term career success as they move into positions of leadership,” Raedy said.
“The top accounting firms and corporations value our graduates’ intellectual horsepower, technical knowledge and skills in decision making, leadership, critical thinking and communication,” she said. “It’s a powerful combination that gets even stronger with time. We are training the future leaders of the accounting firms and the wider business world.”
The 15-month online program will use the same admissions standards, curriculum, faculty and career management approach as the 12-month residential MAC program, said Amy Wittmayer, the new managing director of the MAC Program. “Accounting@UNC includes a three-month internship; a required face-to-face immersion in Chapel Hill for orientation, leadership development and recruitment; and a second, optional immersion coinciding with the recruiting period when employers come to campus.”
Wittmayer previously served as director of the MBA Career Management Center for the full-time MBA Program, where she worked with students, firms and alumni. She also worked as a finance and accounting professional in the corporate sector.
UNC started its MAC program in 1985. Pending approval by the UNC System Board of Governors, Kenan-Flagler plans to launch Accounting@UNC in July 2015.
Accounting@UNC would continue Kenan-Flagler’s track record in using technology to enhance learning and access in business education. The school launched its first online degree program, MBA@UNC, in 2011 with 19 students; today, 550 students are enrolled in the pioneer program.
Also, according to a recent story from UNC News Services, a quarter of UNC’s online MBA students are active-duty military or veterans, and their number also is growing in UNC’s residential (4 percent) and executive (10 percent) MBA programs.
The news report added that UNC appears to be at the crest of a national wave of military enrollments. Results from a survey conducted in 2013 by MilitaryMBA.net showed that military personnel or veterans made up 18.7 percent of all online MBA programs, as well as 7.7 percent of executive MBA and 4 percent of full-time MBA programs. At that time, UNC had the second-highest percentage (21.3 percent) among the schools participating in the survey.
As with MBA@UNC, 2U Inc. plans to serve as the technology partner for Accounting@UNC, providing its platform and support for students and faculty. 2U is a provider of cloud-based software-as-a-service solutions for nonprofit colleges and universities to deliver high-quality education to students anywhere.
“As a Carolina accounting graduate, a CPA with several years of public accounting experience and a longtime UNC accounting professor, I am proud that 30 years later we are again leading the way and again using technology to increase access to a UNC education,” Shackelford said.