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Dec 15, 2021 2021-12 Accountancy Alumni Finance Student

Demand up for Master of Accounting and Master of Finance graduates

Nine out of 10 corporate recruiters in the US expect interest in business school graduates to increase or remain stable for the next five years – and global demand is also strong, according to a survey conducted by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC).

At Gies College of Business at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, the top employers of master’s in accounting graduates in 2019 and 2020 include Deloitte, EY, Grant Thornton, KPMG and RSM. For master’s in finance graduates, CITIC Securities, Deloitte, Essence Securities, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, EY, KPMG and PwC are the top employers.

Nearly all Gies Business students who completed their master’s in accounting or master’s in finance reported finding a job opportunity*:

*Landed job or continued education within six months of graduation; 2020 Graduates

Skills That Make Candidates Stand Out

In the finance and accounting sectors, 71 percent of the companies surveyed by GMAC said leaders in their organization tend to have a graduate business school education.

Gies College of Business prepares you for the strategic thinking, strong communications skills, and versatility recruiters say they value most from business school graduates. Accounting and finance graduate students take a deep dive into acquiring professional success skills through intentionally designed courses and experiential learning opportunities. Gies also offers many opportunities for hands-on client service, including the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program in accounting and the Finance Practicum in the MSF program.

“As the accounting profession and technology change around us, there is no time for complacency. We must prepare our current students for the future of the profession,” said Michael Donohoe, head of the Department of Accountancy at Gies.

Gies offers three graduate programs in the accounting and finance fields.

The Master of Accounting Science (MAS) is a nine-month, STEM-designated program for students who already hold a bachelor’s in accountancy from a US institution. It offers a dynamic and collaborative environment where you can develop deep technical accounting knowledge, strong communication and critical-thinking skills, and the data analytic competencies necessary to become a business leader and sit for the CPA.

The Master of Science in Accountancy (MSA) is a one-year, STEM-designated program designed for students of all academic backgrounds; a bachelor's degree in accounting is not required. The MSA builds expertise in the fundamentals of the profession and offers cutting-edge instruction on developing analytic capabilities that will help you prepare to sit for the CPA exam.

    What’s the difference between the MAS and MSA? Learn more.

The Online Master of Science in Accountancy (iMSA) is a practice-oriented program delivered fully online. The iMSA provides an affordable opportunity to earn a graduate degree from an accounting powerhouse, while maintaining a balance with work and other obligations. Complete the degree in as little as 18 months, or up to 36 months. The iMSA will prepare you to be a leader in your industry and sit for the CPA.

The Master of Science in Finance (MSF) is a 15-month, on-campus, flexible master’s program. You learn from industry experts and world-renowned researchers to develop the technical, analytical, and practical skills needed to succeed in the dynamic world of finance. The program is STEM-designated, and it is an official Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) program partner. A background in finance is not required.

"The [MSF] program is designed so that you can pursue your desired specialization while also learning the basic necessary financial knowledge. You can also get personal career guidance from faculty and the career services office," said Saraja Samant (MSF '19).