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Furman, Vanderbilt Forge New Partnership

When a university like Furman consistently funnels well-rounded, high-caliber graduates to a top-rated master of accounting program like the one at Vanderbilt University, it makes perfect sense to establish a more formal relationship in order to nurture and sustain it.  And that is why Furman and Vanderbilt’s Master of Accountancy (MAcc) program at the Owen Graduate School of Management have forged a new alliance that will benefit both schools.

The alliance will impact Furman students in a number of ways.  Vanderbilt will offer $10,000 base scholarships to qualified admitted students on top of any merit-based award they receive, and the program will offer junior year admission to students who commit to enroll at Vanderbilt the August after graduating from Furman.  The university will also host bi-annual visits by Vanderbilt personnel to counsel students about careers in public accounting.

“The Vanderbilt MAcc program is an outstanding graduate program that has attracted a number of Furman students over the past few years and the alliance will make it even more attractive to our students,” said Dr. Suzy Summers, Furman’s  James C. Self Professor of Business Administration.

Indeed, over the past eight years, 17 Furman graduates have matriculated to Vanderbilt’s MAcc program. And through the program, which is open to all majors, students receive opportunities to engage with the Big 4 public accounting firms (Deloitte, EY, KPMG, PwC)—firms recognized for developing entry-level professionals and for providing unparalleled access to serious careers both inside and outside the public accounting profession.

Students who choose the Assurance or Valuation tracks for MAcc’s intensive one-year program go through rigorous coursework punctuated with guest speakers, professional development coaching, and an opportunity for a 10-week paid internship.

They also receive support to prepare and sit for (and pass) the CPA exam. MAcc students have a 90 percent pass rate for the CPA exam, among the highest in the nation. And even better, 100 percent of MAcc students have secured employment (usually with Big 4 partner firms) by graduation.

“Our shared goal with this Furman alliance is to develop first-rate, professional services talent,” said Dr. Karl Hackenbrack, CPA, Vanderbilt Associate Dean and Director of Accountancy.  Our partners in this enterprise are the leadership teams of the Big 4, with whom Vanderbilt MAcc has a rich and enduring relationship.”

On Furman’s side of the alliance, the university has agreed to:

  • Facilitate and augment Vanderbilt MAcc’s initiative to expose both current and prospective Furman students to the alliance.
  • Facilitate Vanderbilt MAcc access to a diverse cross-section of students through classroom visits to explain the value of the alliance.
  • Work closely with Vanderbilt MAcc representatives to create avenues for student outreach through multiple departments and offices on campus.

“We are pleased our relationship has matured to the point that this alliance is possible,” Hackenbrack said.  “Twenty years from now, we are eager to look back and know we not only served well our institutions and alumni, but more broadly, society by helping develop ethical, well-rounded professional services providers.”

Learn more about Vanderbilt’s Master of Accountancy program. Or contact Dr. Suzy Summers in the Furman Department of Business and Accounting,, (864) 294-3313.

Last updated September 2, 2016
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Clinton Colmenares
News & Media Relations Director