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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Next Degree: McGladrey's MST Program

Darlene D. has been a CPA for 30 years. She worked for the Big Four when it was the Big Eight. And she’s owned her own firm. But she never had a good opportunity to pursue her master’s degree in taxation — until now...

“I’m a firm believer in lifelong learning,” says Darlene, manager in our Ohio Economic Unit (EU). “So when I learned about McGladrey’s Master of Science in Taxation (MST) program, my only response was, ‘Where do I sign up?’”

Darlene expected to have to pay for at least some portion of the program: “When I first learned about the program, I naturally assumed I’d pay at least half from my own pocket. But that didn’t deter me,” she says. “Then I learned that everything—books, tuition—was picked up by the firm. I can’t think of a better employee benefit for a tax professional.”

McGladrey’s MST program, hosted by DePaul University exclusively for McGladrey, is entirely Web-based. In the three-plus years that Darlene and her colleagues took classes, they never had to leave their office—until the big graduation party last November in Chicago, of course.

Darlene, along with nine other McGladrey students, was a member of McGladrey’s first graduating class. More than 80 students will graduate with master’s degrees in tax in the near future.

According to program coordinator Diane K., director-learning and professional development, the MST program may be the only in-house accredited master’s program in the country. The curriculum is tailored to the types of clients McGladrey typically serves. The program lasts a little more than three years, and classes are “held” online one night a week and taught by three full-time DePaul professors.

Chris S., managing director, along with all Great Lakes EU leaders, is a huge proponent of the program. He says the topic comes in very handy during on-campus interviews. “When I talk to undergrads, I explain that we like to see our employees get their CPAs first, work a few years to get some real-world client experience, and then go into the MST program,” he says. “That really seems to appeal to a lot of the recruits I meet with.”

According to one of those recent Great Lakes EU new hires, Peter E., “Without a doubt, the MST program was a significant factor for deciding which firm to work for….The idea that I could work for McGladrey full-time with the MST program instead of having to return to campus for a year was amazing.”

If you do join McGladrey as a Tax Professional, be sure to contact your local HR department to learn more about how you can participate in this great learning opportunity.

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