MBA in Accounting

A master’s in business administration with a concentration in accounting prepares students for management positions in business with a strong focus on accounting. This degree program also develops students’ problem-solving skills as they relate to common and theoretical business practice. A key aspect of this program is the development of leadership skills, which prepare graduates to take on positions of responsibility within an organization. Graduates of this program may also attain the necessary credit hours to earn a CPA certification while also becoming more desirable to employers thanks to the skills developed and knowledge gained.

Why Pursue an MBA Accounting Degree?

Earning this degree shows that an individual is committed to contributing to the success of a company, as well as his or her own career success, and these attributes are held in high regard by employers. This degree can also provide students with the credit hours and knowledge necessary to take and pass the Uniform CPA exam for CPA certification. Most programs take two years or less to complete, and many such programs have a flexible, accelerated tracks that permit students to graduate with an MBA in as little as 12 months. In either track, many schools offer MBA courses or even entire MBA programs that can be completed online. This allows career accountants to go back to school to pursue this degree and noticeably improve their career prospects in a short period of time.

Prerequisites and Requirements

In order to gain admittance to this program, candidates must first have earned a bachelor’s degree. Many programs prefer that the undergraduate degree be related to either business or accounting, though students who majored in other subjects may be able to enroll in business and accounting courses to gain conditional acceptance. Most programs require candidates to have a 3.0 or better GPA for undergraduate coursework, which should include higher level math courses such as calculus and statistics. Highly competitive programs usually also require candidates to achieve a minimum score on the GMAT or GRE exams. Letters of recommendation and personal statements may also be expected prior to admission.

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Typical Coursework

As with other types of MBA degrees, an MBA Accounting degree equips students with the skills and knowledge needed for business success through coursework paired with experiential and learning activities outside of the classroom. Depending on the program, such activities may include workshops, seminars with respected business leaders, internships, and competitions based on hypothetical cases. Those pursuing this degree will also take traditional courses such as:

  • Managerial Accounting
  • Intermediate Accounting
  • Financial Analysis
  • Tax Strategies
  • Business Law
  • Personal and Corporate Taxation
  • Leadership & Organizational Behavior

Career Opportunities for Graduates

Graduates of this program have many career opportunities in accounting and business. These opportunities include a career as a senior business analyst or a corporate controller. As the US economy recovers, Robert Half Finance & Accounting reports that employers are trending towards hiring well-qualified candidates for core accounting positions first, especially those that play a role in business expansion.1 This puts graduates in a desirable position, as with an education in business management and administration and accounting, these graduates are well qualified to fill these in-demand roles. Occupations available to graduates of MBA in Accounting programs include accountant and auditors at a median salary of $63,550 per year2 and financial managers at a median salary of $109,740 per year.3 Graduates are also prepared to step into management roles in public accounting firms, which have a need for individuals who not only understand accounting, but can actively develop and improve relationships with clients in private industry. Private accounting companies and non-profit institutions also seek graduates for management positions.

1. Robert Half Salary Guide: https://www.roberthalf.com/salary-guide
2. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Accountants and Auditors: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/Business-and-Financial/Accountants-and-auditors.htm
3. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Financial Managers: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/financial-managers.htm