Ireland’s oldest accounting masters adapts to changing business environment
The programme produces well-rounded graduates who consistently perform above national averages in professional accountancy examinations.
UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School offers the leading specialist accounting masters in Ireland, with 98 per cent of graduates employed after six months. As the country's first and longest, established accounting masters, the programme is widely recognised for the quality of its graduates and the accelerated career trajectory that they take, both within Ireland and around the world. Alumni have gone on to become partners in the Big Four accounting firms, and chief executives or chief financial officers in publicly-listed companies.
The programme produces well-rounded graduates who consistently perform above national averages in professional accountancy examinations. In the most recent sitting of the Final Admitting Examination (FAE) for Chartered Accountants Ireland, 95 per cent of programme graduates passed the examination on the first sitting and two placed within the top 10.
What does a master of accounting at UCD Smurfit School involve?
The UCD Smurfit School's master of accounting is a one-year full-time programme for high-performing students who wish to pursue a career in chartered accountancy. The programme focuses on three key areas of learning and development.
1. Technical Skills
First, technical skills are advanced through a range of modules on subjects such as accounting, auditing, taxation and finance. The technical material is delivered by a leading teaching team from academic and professional backgrounds. An emphasis is placed on case-based learning which simulates real-life business scenarios.
2. Analysis and Interpretation
The second area is analysis and interpretation. Modules in analytics and financial analysis teach students how to leverage data and technology to enhance their financial decision-making processes. Through these modules, students receive hands-on training in essential software including SAP.
The second half of the programme focuses exclusively on developing broader business and personal competencies
3. Consulting and Professional Development
The final area is consulting and professional development. Students develop their critical thinking, problem-solving, presentation skills, group dynamics and team skills, negotiation and leadership skills through specially-designed modules. This includes a consulting project within an organisation over the summer term.
How has the curriculum adapted to the fast-changing business environment?
“As part of a recent review, the programme was benchmarked against top master of accounting programmes globally,” said Dr Sean Power, academic director of the master of accounting programme. “Changes were implemented to strengthen the programme.”
“The programme has been restructured to allow for all technical material to be delivered within the first half of the programme. The second half of the programme focuses exclusively on developing broader business and personal competencies.”
“Another exciting change is the introduction of a consulting project: a capstone module. Teams of students are required to address a real-life issue facing an enterprise. Previously year projects included developing key performance indicators for a large public transport organisation and building a financial model for a digital start-up.”
What are the career benefits of the programme?
The MAcc at UCD Smurfit School is an academically rigorous and challenging postgraduate programme. Students are equipped with a broad skillset that is more relevant to modern-day economic and societal challenges.
After qualifying as a chartered accountant when advancing your career, either in practice or in a global organisation, the master of aqualification differentiates you in an increasingly competitive and internationalised workforce.
Furthermore, graduates join an established network of alumni. Many alumni have led extremely successful careers in both practice and industry. Listed among the alumni are the current managing partners of PwC and KPMG in Ireland, the chief executive of Glanbia and the chief financial officers of Bank of Ireland and Kerry Group.
Why did you choose the MAcc at UCD Smurfit School?
“Upon graduation I had two options: I could commence a training contract immediately within a company or study the MAcc for a year in the UCD Smurfit School, which would entitle me to exemptions from the CAP two exams,” said Victoria O’Gorman, a MAcc graduate and now financial analyst, investment appraisal, at CRH plc.
“By choosing the MAcc, I was able to focus on building my technical skills before starting my training contract. I could then fully immerse myself into practical learning and adapt to a new environment during my first year of work without the pressure of attending lectures and studying for the CAP 2 exams,” continued O’Gorman.
The small class size – fewer than 40 students – accentuates this learning experience and enables a close unity between us
“I chose to do the MAcc in the Smurfit Business School due to its reputation for best-in-class lecturers, global ranking and triple accreditation. As barriers continue to dissipate in the global business network, studying in a business school with an international reputation was highly appealing.”
What are you enjoying most about your UCD Smurfit School MAcc experience?
“The most enjoyable aspect of the MAcc so far is the learning environment established within the course. It is extremely supportive and encouraging where each one of us is motivated to achieve our goals,” said Paige Kelly, MAcc class of 2019. “The lecturers are all experts in their respective fields, with an experienced teaching methodology that includes providing personal interaction and valuable insights into the accounting profession.”
“The small class size – fewer than 40 students – accentuates this learning experience and enables a close unity between us. It isn’t all about working hard, but also socialising and creating friendships that will last throughout our careers. In our second semester, we have been engaging in a range of professional development lessons, which has helped us to grow and develop our interpersonal skills together.”
The master of accounting provides an opportunity to study at Ireland’s leading business school, which was ranked 23rd in the Financial Times' ranking of leading European Business Schools. The UCD Smurfit School is the only business school in Ireland, and one of an elite group of schools worldwide, to hold the "triple crown" of accreditation from three centres of business and academic excellence: EQUIS, AACSB and AMBA. UCD Smurfit School’s alumni communities include more than 84,000 professionals around the globe in 35 international chapters.
Applications are now open for the full-time master of accounting programme. The programme begins in September. Learn more about the programme here.