In the spring of 1986, eight graduate students turned their tassels and made Carolina history as the first class to graduate from UNC’s Master of Accounting (MAC) Program.
The MAC Program was envisioned and designed during the late 1970s and 1980s, born from an accounting concentration then offered within the Undergraduate Business Program. Its mission: to produce highly skilled business leaders prepared to make an immediate impact in the accounting industry.
As the business world and accounting profession have changed, so has the MAC Program. The unique and rigorous curriculum – taught by world-renowned scholars – was developed for non-accounting majors. Students build on the foundation of their liberal arts degrees and gain subject-matter expertise, experience and leadership skills that position them for success.
In 2015, UNC Kenan-Flagler launched an online delivery of the MAC Program, building on the School’s success in using technology to enhance learning and access to business education. The online format attracts a more diverse group of students – from recent grads to working professionals to current and former military – with the flexibility to advance their careers and enables the School to meet the demand from companies who want to hire them.
“An accounting degree is more powerful today than ever before,” says Jana Raedy, associate dean of the MAC Program, associate professor and Ernst & Young Scholar in Accounting.
That’s because today’s accountants aren’t just “bean counters.” The industry has rapidly evolved, creating a wealth of diverse opportunities across job functions and geographies. UNC Kenan-Flagler alumni fill the ranks at all of the Big 4 accounting firms, as well as in middle-market firms, global corporations, public-sector entities, startups and nonprofit organizations. The School’s focus on leadership development pays dividends for students and companies alike – and the numbers don’t lie. In 2015, 98 percent of MAC students seeking jobs received full-time offers within three months of graduation.
“Top firms value our graduates’ intellectual horsepower, technical knowledge and skills in decision-making, leadership, critical thinking and communication,” says Raedy. “It’s a powerful combination that grows even stronger with time. We are training the future leaders of the accounting industry and the greater business world.”
Thirty years after its launch, UNC Kenan-Flagler counts more than 3,000 accounting alumni and remains at the forefront of innovation in higher education.
“As a Carolina accounting graduate, a CPA with several years of public accounting experience and a long-time UNC accounting professor, I am proud to celebrate 30 years of excellence in accounting education,” says Doug Shackelford, dean and Meade H. Willis Distinguished Professor of Taxation. “But our work isn’t done. We will continue to innovate and push the boundaries to deliver one of the world’s premier accounting degrees and prepare current and future business leaders to make an impact.”