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Master's in Accounting Programs

Universally recognized as an accounting powerhouse, Gies Business offers a variety of master's programs that can prepare you for a successful career. With the #1 accountancy faculty in the nation and #2 graduate program, accounting at Gies ensures you'll be taught and mentored by the top experts in the field.

Gies offers three STEM-designated Master's in Accounting programs:

Master of Accounting Science (MAS)

The nine-month residential MAS will develop your data analytics skills so you can be a leader in accounting and sit for the CPA exam with confidence. This program is designed for students with:

  • A bachelor's degree in accounting from an accredited US institution
  • US-based internship experience

Master of Science in Accountancy (MSA)

The one-year residential MSA will build students’ expertise in the fundamentals of accounting, develop data-driven decision makers, and prepare students to sit for the CPA. This program is designed for:

  • Domestic students who do not have a bachelor's degree in accounting
  • International students with any undergraduate degree
  • Students with a preference for residential, in-person learning

Online Master of Science in Accountancy (iMSA)

Regardless of the depth of your accounting background, the iMSA is a flexible, 100% online program that will teach you to gather and analyze critical information and make informed, strategic decisions. This program is designed for students with:

  • A bachelor's degree in any field, including accounting
  • A preference for flexible, 100% online learning

We develop information engineers and problem solvers

The most successful accountants are not just number crunchers; they're highly-trained, forward-thinking professionals who can make data-driven strategic decisions. At Gies Business, you'll be immersed in a leading-edge curriculum infused with data analytics that top employers demand. Our graduates are leaders, communicators, and critical thinkers prepared to lead businesses into a rapidly changing future.

Accelerate your career opportunities

As one of the largest suppliers of leaders in the accounting profession, we boast more partners in the Big Four CPA firms and consistently place graduates in C-suite jobs with major corporations. Gies graduates land jobs, in the US and abroad, with prestigious companies like PwC, ADM, Tencent, Grant Thornton, KPMG, Deloitte, EY, and many more.

Gies' graduate accountancy programs enable you to gain a competitive advantage in the marketplace. Employers recognize the value of an accounting degree from Gies College of Business, and our graduates are prepared to add value in their careers from day one. So whether you want to sit for the CPA, land a job with the Big Four, or just learn to speak the language of business, Gies' graduate programs can help you achieve your personal and professional goals.


Connect With Us

If you have questions about admissions, tuition, curriculum, or anything else about Gies accounting programs, we’re here to help.

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Gies News and Events

Is the pandemic providing a taste of future for the restaurant industry?

Apr 2, 2021, 10:01 AM by Aaron Bennett
Associate Dean Robert Brunner discusses how the food industry might change in a post-COVID world. Conversations with students started by focusing on changes they were already experiencing and how those changes might carry over into the future.

Robert Brunner photoAs we slide into year two of this global pandemic, visions of long car rides flash in my head. You may have experienced the phenomena where the bored child asks, ‘Are we there yet?’ with increasing fervor as the distance to the destination dwindles. In this same spirit, we all look forward to the day when life returns to normal - ‘Are we there yet?’ But perhaps we are asking the wrong question, and, instead we should ask ‘Will we recognize normalcy when it arrives?’

Before the pandemic began, I created a course at Gies College of Business called Emerging Technology and Disruption. The pandemic has, of course, disrupted how the class operates; we, as many other courses across the world, are now remote. More importantly, though, the pandemic has changed the viewpoint of the students enrolled. For example, in the past I might talk about education technology and how remote learning might evolve, but students have now experienced this transition first-hand. As a result, their minds are more open to such transitions in other businesses.

In a recent class, students discussed how the food industry might change once the pandemic has ended. The conversations started by focusing on changes they were already experiencing and how those changes might carry over into the future. Central to this conversation was the closure of the dorm buffet and the lack of sit-down restaurants near campus. With this worldview, students stated that buffets would be less likely to exist in the future as people would be hesitant to share food in public with strangers. They also expected an increase in digital interactions with restaurants, including online ordering, payment, and either touchless pickup or more robust delivery options. 

That’s when the conversation became really interesting. Since people already use digital apps to find and choose restaurants (e.g., Google or Yelp), and they use apps to buy food and have it delivered (e.g., Uber Eats or DoorDash), students wondered if there are other pricing options that might be possible if restaurant operations become more digitized.

To understand this logic, consider the menu. In most cases, a restaurant hands out physical menus to patrons, even when ordering takeout, and have a PDF copy or similar static version of the menu online. What if the menu became digital? Restaurants could easily set prices to drive brand loyalty (e.g., repeat customers), to account for different portion sizes (e.g., lunch versus dinner), to account for a change in in-stock ingredients (e.g., popular items sell out quickly), or even to employ dynamic (or surge) pricing to encourage people to spread out demand to reduce overload times on the kitchen staff.

A digital menu could have greater benefit to the restaurant via an integration with other software. For example, the menu could be tied into a customer relationship management tool (CRM) to improve tracking of customer orders, which might lead to automatic reordering, simplified reviews, or tailored suggestions for new dishes that might follow from a recommendation engine (like Netflix). This also would allow the restaurant to track each customer’s interaction with the menu, which, via A/B testing, might improve order flow and execution by optimizing the look and feel of the presented information. At the other end of the business, the digital menu could be tied to inventory management and supply chains to enable automatic reordering.

At first glance, this might seem a bit far-fetched; however, many of these ideas are grounded in real-world experience. Students know that many businesses charge a lower price for cash purchases; might this carry over to a digital cash purchase (e.g., Venmo)? Students also often use loyalty cards to get discounted food; why shouldn’t the restaurant have greater control of this process? Finally, surge pricing has been used sparingly by restaurants and bars. For example, the Detroit Beer Exchange opened nearly a decade ago and adjusts beer prices based on demand. In the end, one lesson for that class period was that innovations are often in plain sight and are simply waiting for the right entrepreneur to seize the opportunity—pandemic notwithstanding.

Of course, when performing scenario planning, we don’t simply want to imagine a variety of futures; we need to select the most likely and most impactful scenarios to frame a conversation about making strategic decisions. When asked about the likelihood that buffets would disappear, the students responded with a low probability. Perhaps they were voting with their stomachs, as college students are wont to do. On the other hand, maybe the right entrepreneur just wasn’t in my class.

Robert Brunner is Associate Dean for Innovation and Chief Disruption Officer at Gies College of Business at the University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign. He is also the director of the Disruption Lab.