August 22, 2016

Professors: Master’s of Accounting Degree Designed to Meet Student ‘Need’

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Students searching for a master’s degree in accounting will soon need to look no further than the Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management.

The school’s new master’s program, formally titled the ‘Master of Professional Studies in Management,’ will open its doors to students in fall 2017. John Little, a professor of practice in the Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, will direct the program.

Little said the creation of the degree was inspired by students who were forced to apply for accounting programs at other universities when “we [could have met] that need right here at Cornell.”

He added that having a master’s of accounting available to students will encourage undergraduates who have finished their curricula to pursue another field of study.

“Many of our students graduate a year or at least a semester early,” Little said. “The MAcc program will provide them the opportunity to round out their time at Cornell, attaining a master’s degree while also preparing for the CPA, CMA or CFA exam.”

Students interested in the program should have a background in “core business classes,” but the most critical prerequisite is Intermediate Accounting, which should be taken this fall for students who are interested in applying to the program in the spring, according to Little.

“We worked really hard to make the program requirements flexible enough to accommodate students with different educational backgrounds,” he said. “A Dyson or Hotel student who is already an accounting concentrator can take fewer accounting classes and more management electives. On the other hand, someone with an undergraduate business major may have some core accounting to make up, so they would take fewer management electives.”

An estimated 20 recent graduates are expected to enroll in 2017, according to Little, but he predicted that the program “will likely expand beyond Cornell borders.”

The MPS program was approved by Cornell and New York State in 2015 and “shows the power of the newfound College of Business,” Little said.

“We really wouldn’t be able to do this without combining the forces of Johnson with Dyson and the School of Hotel Administration,” he said.

Prof. Robert Libby, accounting, agreed, adding that although the program is “housed and administrated” by the Johnson School, the College of Business created the dialogue that made the project a reality.

“This program was talked about in the past, but it took the CCB to bring it to the forefront,” Libby said. “I think this shows what the collective power and positive change that the CCB can bring to Cornell.”