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How to choose a MAC program

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The Master of Accounting (MAC) program you choose will have a major impact on your life and your career. There’s a lot to consider: Your goals, the quality of the education, tuition costs and living expenses, and more.

It’s a big deal, but don’t let that keep you from making a choice. Asking yourself a few key questions can help a lot.

Your goals

The first step in choosing a MAC program is to understand what you want to get out of the program.

1. What knowledge and professional abilities do you want leave the program with?
MAC programs will ground you in accounting fundamentals. But you should consider what else is offered. Will you have a chance to choose electives and focus on a particular accounting topic? Does the program offer courses in communication skills and leadership, which are critical to career advancement?

>> Check out “How Much Does a MAC Degree Accelerate your Career?”, a quiz with some eye-opening facts.

2. What kind of network will you have when you graduate?
What you know is important; whom you know opens doors. Classmates and professors from your MAC program can become the core of a strong professional network. And a school’s alumni can add an additional layer to help you in future job searches. Will the programs you’re considering help you nurture this network?

3. How long will it take you to find the job you want?
You should review each MAC program’s job placement rate — what percentage of alumni get a job within a few months of graduating. Ask what kinds of jobs graduates get – positions at the Big 4 (the largest, most prestigious public accounting firms), smaller “middle-market” firms, or corporate jobs. How much support will the school give you in the job search? A good career services office will invite employers to campus and coach you on interviewing, resumes, networking and more.

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Program features

In addition to your goals, you’ll also want to consider specific features of each program. No Master of Accounting program is the same. Here are some differences to consider.

Length. How long will it take you to earn the degree?

Required prerequisites. How much of an accounting background, if any, will you need?

Cost. Consider tuition as well as your cost of living. Does the program have a financial aid office to help you?

Location. In a traditional MAC program, that university will be your home for the duration of the program. Will you like the weather, the nightlife and the local community? Some schools now offer online programs that require minimal time on campus, so living wherever you want might be a choice.

Reputation. Is the program at a name-brand school that future colleagues, potential employers and others will recognize instantly?


Finally, every program has other characteristics that affect the quality of the education you’ll get and how much you’ll enjoy the experience. These include things like how professors interact with students and the camaraderie (or competitiveness) between students. Visiting a MAC program can give you a stronger sense of these factors than you’ll ever get from brochures or a website.

Ready to find out how much you really know?
We’ve designed a short quiz that will reinforce your decision to pursue a MAC degree and shed some light on some surprising facts.

Put yourself to the test and find out how much you really know about the most important numbers in accounting.