Success of Rhodes’ Accounting Program Credited to Students Having a Strong Liberal Arts Background

The Master of Science in Accounting Program at Rhodes is 21 years old. The program, which takes two semesters to complete through a matter of eight courses, has proven to be extremely successful. In fact, it boasts 100 percent job placement for students following graduation, whether at big four, regional, or local firms.

Dr. Pamela Church, director of the M.S. in Accounting Program, explains that this incredible success rate is due to accounting students, both in the undergraduate and graduate programs, taking interdisciplinary courses. The program’s faculty do not believe that accounting should be taught in isolation. This means that on top of a thorough accounting education, which Church says “emphasizes both theoretical and technical elements,” students also receive an interdisciplinary teaching of business.

The current success of the program also is fueled by the fact that Rhodes students “stand apart from other new hires,” says Church, “because they have a strong liberal arts background and can communicate in oral and written forms as well as think critically and analyze thoroughly.” The combination of all these attributes is what continues to attract employers to the program.

Church also points out that Rhodes’ Department of Business in general has a very strong internship program, which further helps students become good candidates for post-graduate jobs. She cites that “more than 80 percent of business students have some type of work experience in conjunction with their undergraduate degree, whether paid or unpaid.” These internships allow students to get hands on experience in a field where they are interested in working, as well as integrate their classroom learning to a real world setting. They also allow employers to interact with Rhodes students which can lead employers to return to Rhodes for full-time hires.

The program is larger than ever this year with 21 students staying at Rhodes for a fifth year in order to pursue the M.S. in Accounting. Church says that this is in part due to the fact that “accounting is a stable career even in uncertain economic times,” as well as the program’s reputation and success rate.

But beyond job placement, Church says students develop a network with one another and faculty members that is just as fulfilling as the promise of getting hired. “Alumni often tell the faculty that they have developed supportive relationships in the program that continue for many years beyond graduation,” she says.

(information compiled by Rhodes Student Associate Sophie Anderson ’15)