A Competitive Edge with STEM
The Jenkins Master of Accounting (MAC) Program joins an elite group of AACSB accredited accounting programs to be awarded the STEM designation. The designation recognizes the program’s continued efforts to explore ways to update the curriculum for the ever-changing area of data analytics and related emerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence, robotic process automation and blockchain. The MAC curriculum continues to evolve, to educate students about how to extract, transform, and load data to perform data analytics and present insights gained from the data. This is in response to evolving data analysis practices by businesses and the accounting profession that provides services to those data-driven businesses.
MAC Program Director, Scott Showalter, commented “The MAC faculty have been very diligent over the past two to three years refreshing the MAC curriculum and the STEM designation confirms the wisdom of that effort.”
Businesses have transformed the way they measure, analyze and present information. The accounting profession is looking for accounting programs to prepare students for this data-driven world. Employers look for candidates that are able to extract, transform and load data to perform data analytics and present insights gained from the data. Jenkins MAC graduates have this competitive advantage as they pursue new careers in public accounting and the corporate sector.
The accounting profession has made significant investments in methodologies, tools and skills to address the need of analytics and professionals who know how to interpret and analyze data. In 2015, PwC issued a document to higher education titled, “Data driven, what students need to succeed in a rapidly changing business world,” highlighting the anticipated needs of the accounting profession and how higher education needs to respond to those needs. In response to the PwC call to action and advice from the Accounting Department and MAC advisory boards the Jenkins MAC Program began a journey to transform the curriculum to include significantly more data analytics, related technologies and critical thinking skills.
In preparing the request for the STEM designation, the amount of STEM content in the MAC Program was impressive with approximately 51% of the content in the required core classes and 74% of the content in the electives having STEM orientation, far exceeding the content required to be designated a STEM program.
Per Showalter, “The STEM designation is not a destination, but rather a continued journey to ensure the curriculum continues to anticipate and meet the needs of the accounting profession.”
Additionally, the change in designation will provide international students who graduate from the Jenkins MAC Program with the opportunity to be eligible for an extra two years of Optional Practical Training (OPT), allowing NC State to be more competitive in recruiting and retaining the very best international applicants.
About the Jenkins MAC
The Jenkins MAC Program is one program offered in two formats: On-Campus and Online. The 31-hour program attracts full-time and part-time students who are seeking to begin a career in the accounting profession, change career direction, or advance their existing career. Both formats share a common core of 22 hours (seven 3-hour classes and one 1-hour class). The 1-hour course focuses on career preparation. In addition to the 22 core hours, there are 9 hours of elective courses. The 9 hours can be applied to one of three concentrations (tax, information technology, or enterprise risk management) or for a non-concentration option. All three concentrations contain significant data analytics and related technologies. Certain courses and concentrations require a practicum experience.