Students gather real world experience through Baylor’s accounting program

Baylor's accounting program, which is nationally recognized program, allows students to earn their undergraduate and master's degree in only five years. Photo courtesy of Baylor University.

By Greta Gould | Reporter

The accounting program at Baylor seeks to prepare students to reach a variety of career goals once they graduate. The uniqueness of the program allows students to graduate in four years, but they can gain their master’s degree in five.

According to Baylor’s Accounting and Business Law website, “Baylor’s accounting program is an accredited, nationally-recognized program whose students consistently score among the top in the nation on the CPA exam, the leading professional accreditation,”

Students who choose to take the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) test are required to stay an extra year in order to complete the required number of hours. During this fifth year, students spend two months interning at different accounting firms.

Kathleen Kilpatrick, a current graduate accounting student from Dallas, is currently completing her internship at Klynveld Peat Marwick Goerdeler (KPMG).

“I’m working everyday. I get to be in the real world for a few months and then go back to being a student,” Kilpatrick said.

This is something not many students have the opportunity to do unless they seek out internships over the summer. These internships set students above students from other schools who have not had the same experience.

Students are able to choose from two different routes when earning their master’s degree. They are able to decide if they want to purse a Masters of Accountancy or a Masters of Taxation, the Baylor Accounting website said.

According to the CPA Accounting Institute for Success website, the test consists of four parts: Auditing & Attestation, Financial Accounting & Reporting, Regulation and Business Environment & Concepts.

Megan Bundrick, Baylor accounting graduate from Shreveport, La., recently began taking her CPA exam. Being able to take courses at Baylor for undergraduate and graduate school, along with the internship, prepared her to succeed on the tests, she said.

“The prep courses we get that our firms pay for do a really good job at teaching us stuff specific for the exams, but without the foundation our accounting courses provided us, I think it’d be way more difficult,” Bundrick said.

Internships are secured in multiple different ways. One way is to participate in recruiting. Recruiting consists of an application, a dinner before the interview and then the interview itself, Kilpatrick said.

“You have a dinner with [recruiters] before so you can kind of meet some of the professionals who might be interviewing you,” Kilpatrick said.

The interviews take place over three days and allow students to get a feel for the firms who participate and allow firms to assess the skills of their potential interns, Kilpatrick said.

Internships are usually completed in Dallas with one of the “Big Four” firms. These firms consist of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Ernst & Young and Klynveld Peat Marwick Goerdeler. According to Kilpatrick, these companies take on a multitude of interns.

According to Kilpatrick, being able to do this internship for a few months is the perfect way to dip your toe into the adult world before graduating. Students are able to showcase their work for their employers in hopes of being offered a full-time position upon graduation.

These internships provide students with real-world experience with clients and employers before they graduate which will help to set them up for success in the long run.

According to the Baylor Accounting website, “over 30 employers currently recruit Baylor accounting majors,” which helps to maintain a high job placement rating.

“I’ve considered doing the accounting program because I feel like it does a great job at preparing students,” Houston sophomore business major Kaitlin Kennedy said.

Companies appreciate and search for students who have experience under their belt, especially experience at one of the Big Four firms. This sets Baylor’s accounting program apart from other programs, Kennedy said.