For one Tech graduate student, completing her master’s degree at Tennessee Tech University was an easy decision, especially since she was already a Tech alumna. Choosing between a Master of Accountancy degree or another business degree was more difficult. The ability to earn her Certified Public Accountant licensure at the same time was a deciding factor.
Emily Kuper, from Jackson, majored in accounting at Tech and graduated in Fall 2021.
She came to Tech as an undergraduate because of the reputation of Tech’s business programs and she really liked the area. She said she liked the fact there was so much natural area around, and the campus just felt “really welcoming.”
“I had gotten to know the accounting faculty really well during my time as an undergrad, I knew they would support me and help me along my career, and I thought my familiarity with them would serve me well in grad school. So far, that has been true,” Kuper said. “I heard about the MAcc mostly from the faculty here. I talked with lots of students and weighed my choice between the MAcc and the Master of Business Administration degree, and eventually decided the MAcc was for me.”
The first and only program of its kind in the state, Tech’s hybrid MAcc program was created to allow students to simultaneously earn a master’s degree and sit for the CPA exam.
“I think my best experience in the graduate program has been, shockingly enough, group work. The MAcc splits you up into little mini-cohorts, and we stay in contact even when we don't have an assignment actively due,” Kuper said “They have been a lifeline when working through a mostly online program.”
Most of the program’s content is delivered online, giving a distinctive benefit to working professionals, and the online content is broadened with two weekend residencies. The residencies will focus on professional development, peer networking, and implementation of the materials covered.
Kuper started as a graduate assistant in the Department of Economics, Finance and Marketing, and when an administrative assistant left, she took over that position on a part-time basis. Her administration job provides her with flexibility to complete assignments.
“On the administrative side I've also been able to see faculty work with students that aren't me. And it's also been great to see how much care and attention is given to them,” Kuper said. “My experience isn’t unique, every student that comes in here is going to be treated with care and attention.”
In the MAcc program Kuper received course credit for the preparation and completion of the four parts of the CPA exam: business environment and concepts, audit, regulation, and financial accounting and reporting. This allowed her to prepare and sit for the CPA as part of her program of study and pass all four parts.
“I would say in the graduate program that I am being prepared very well for my career,” Kuper said. “I am thinking about technical tax problems in more detail than I did as an undergrad, and I can tell that will translate effectively into the business world.”
Kuper has already accepted a position with the Elliott Davis accounting firm in Chattanooga in their tax department, which she will begin in August. In the future she would like to move into nonprofit work of some kind, so that she can “help give back” to her community.
“The most exciting thing about working in accounting and getting a Master of Accountancy Degree at Tennessee Tech is really the challenge of it. Problems that you work on are analytical and they can be interesting,” Kuper said. “They're just kind of fun to work on, so looking at those problems, and then how those situations can impact real life people. I think for me, it's been very fun.”
The goal of the MAcc program is to prepare students for successful careers in accounting, with a priority on a professional certification as well as foundational business skills.
“The MAcc has been an intensely rigorous program, but I don't regret my decision to enroll in it. I think the level of intensity has prepared me very well for my upcoming future,” Kuper said. “Earning my Master of Accountancy degree here at Tennessee Tech is a great way to expand your horizons, within accounting and outside the accounting profession. Looking at complex issues is a great way to expand your horizons and find new opportunities.”
For more information on the MAcc degree program at Tech visit https://www.tntech.edu/business/macc/index.php.