Accounting is a popular career choice because accountants will always be needed in every industry. As such, the field of accounting is very stable and is continuing to grow. For this reason, students with executive-level career aspirations choose to seek an advanced degree to improve their career outlook. There are several different types of advanced degrees in the accounting field. One of the most popular is an MBA, or Master of Business Administration. Below are some tips to help you choose the MBA accounting program that is right for you.
Online vs. On-Campus
One of the biggest decisions to make when selecting an MBA accounting program is whether to take classes online or on campus. Your decision should be based on how you learn best. Some students prefer to learn in class with a teacher present. The energy of the classroom helps them stay focused. Other students prefer to take classes toward their accounting MBA online. Some students find they focus better when their primary interaction is with an online classroom in a self-paced study atmosphere. The big advantage of online classes is that you can fit your studies in around family and work obligations. You will also save time because you won’t have to commute to a campus.
Choosing a Location
You will also want to consider whether the master’s program you choose can help you achieve your career goals. If you want to work in accounting in the film industry, for instance, you may have better options for making valuable employment contacts if you choose a program based in a major entertainment city like Los Angeles; however, if you plan to work in technology online or start your own CPA business, it may not matter what city you pursue your studies in.
Name vs. Value
A small number of employers may be partial to hiring candidates from particular MBA programs. This is usually easy to research beforehand if you visit the websites of the firms you are interested in working at and view the biographies of their executives. If you do not discover a preference for a particular school during your research, this is good news. You can now feel confident to select an MBA program that offers you the most value for your education.
Full-Time vs. Part-Time
Not all MBA concentrations offer both full-time and part-time options. If you are a student who needs to pursue your advanced degree on a part-time basis, be sure to research how often the classes you need are offered. Also, be sure to research eligibility requirements for how financial aid is disbursed. Some programs may offer loans, grants or work-study options to both full- and part-time students, while other programs may reserve these aids for full-time students only. Here, an online program may help ease the time burden if you need to pursue your studies at a slower pace.
Another important consideration when selecting an MBA program in accounting is your budget. How much you spend for your advanced degree can change based on the type of program you choose, how you choose to study and what your status is. Students often discover that online classes offer slightly lower tuition and fees because online institutions have lower overhead costs.
Choosing a Focus and a Mentor
Finally, if you have a particular interest within the field of accounting, such as tax law, entrepreneurship or international trade, you may need to do more research to find a program that offers more classes in your chosen area of specialization. In the same way, if you aspire to study with certain well-known professors, you may want to select a program in which those professors are teaching so you can build a personal mentoring connection with them. This may help you later when it comes time to search for a job.
If you budget some extra time to consider each of these issues in depth, you will be able to choose your MBA program in accounting with confidence.
Steven Yang earned an undergraduate degree in accounting. When he decided to return to graduate school, he spent six months researching different programs before selecting his top three. He is looking forward to graduation this year.