ACU’S College of Business Administration is ranked as the No. 1 graduate school for students attaining employment within three months of graduating.
Ninety-seven percent of students graduating from COBA with a master’s of accounting are employed in accounting-related jobs within three months of graduation. The average among business graduate schools is 73 percent, which applies to jobs both related and unrelated to the student’s master’s program.
U.S. News & World Report released the rankings March 30. The rankings were produced from the 141 graduate business schools that provided information regarding graduate employment.
Tim Johnston, assistant dean of the College of Business and School of Information Technology, credits COBA’s small size and singular focus on accounting for its success.
“This is a very specialized master’s program and it’s set up at the point and time that the student is in their undergraduate program,” Johnston said.
A master’s of accounting, specializing in certified public accounting, is the only master’s degree that COBA offers.
The ACU undergraduate accounting degree requires approximately 120 hours and an internship. Many COBA students intern at one of the four major accounting firms in the nation and later go on to work for those firms after finishing their master’s degree. To be a certified public accountant, 150 total hours of higher education are required in addition to passing the CPA exam.
“We have several students who, as soon as they finish their master’s of accounting, they know who they’re going to work for already because out of their internship, they were already offered a job,” Johnston said.
Caitlin Winegeart, masters of accounting student from Abilene, interned with Walmart headquarters in Bentonville, Ark. as an undergrad. Winegeart is set to graduate in May and will go to work for Walmart in its internal audit department.
“It really increases my confidence level, graduating knowing that I’m coming from a reputable program,” Winegeart said. “I know that they have good placement and they work really hard to make sure that their graduates have a job when they leave. So that’s very comforting.”
COBA is also given a high ranking with respect to students who, like Winegeart, are employed by graduation with 74.1 percent of its students meeting that criterion for the 2011 ranking year.
Although COBA is No. 1 in the job market, U.S. News & World Report ranks it 107th out of 437 business master’s programs in the magazine’s 2011 Best Business Schools rankings.
Johnston said this ranking is lower because it includes not only the graduate school, but the undergraduate school. ACT and SAT scores of incoming undergraduate business students can have an adverse effect on the rankings of the business school as a whole.