Guide to the Vanderbilt MAcc Application: More than just a Bookkeeper

Application Strategy

Guide to the Vanderbilt MAcc Application: More than just a Bookkeeper

Vanderbilt’s MAcc program is a year-long program which immerses students in accounting and auditing courses. It is predominantly focused on providing students with the knowledge they need to pass the CPA exam and move on to a successful career in public accounting. Part of the program is recruiting with the Big Four accounting firms, followed by an internship during busy season. This gives any Vanderbilt MAcc student knowledge and experience that will be invaluable once he or she begins her full time job.

Because one of Vanderbilt’s best attributes is its ability to guarantee its students interviews with the top accounting firms in the country, Vanderbilt is looking for students who are more than just bookkeepers! Yes, it is important that an applicant should be able to fundamentally understand and do well in accounting courses, but Vandy also wants students who like working with and socializing with people, who are engaged in learning (during and after grad school), and who are ambitious and hardworking. Students should be able to network and to demonstrate social skills, since public accountants are primarily client serving. Being really good at accounting and being book smart, while great, will not necessarily secure an acceptance (plus Vanderbilt prides itself on its diverse students who all have a variety of majors!). Thus, the application and interview process examine whether a candidate is able to work with others and be a team player alongside assessing academic prowess.

In terms of tips on the application itself, be specific in your essays when speaking about your career goals and your contributions to Owen and Vanderbilt! For example, no one really knows what it means when you say “to change the world” or something equally vague. There is nothing wrong with wanting to change the world. It is an absolutely commendable enterprise. But, how do you plan to achieve it? In what way do you want the world to change? Be clear and try not to make broad sweeping statements. This is an opportunity for Vanderbilt and Owen to see who you are as more than just your goals, but your motivations and, more importantly, specific plans. Think carefully: Where do they fit?