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The Job Recruiting Process for Rice MAcc Students

by The Master of Accounting Program Staff

Beyond delivering a top-tier graduate accounting education, the one-year Rice MAcc program has a structured approach to equip its students to succeed on the job market. 

Preparing to interview for jobs

For Rice MAcc students, preparations for job recruiting start early! Before classes have even begun in the fall, incoming MAcc students complete an online job hunt primer course that Rice’s Center for Career Development office developed. This summertime, self-paced course lays the groundwork for the job recruitment process, including best practices for writing professional emails, how to deliver effective “elevator pitches,” and techniques for effectively answering interview questions. The course also guides students on how to craft a strong resume.

After they’ve completed the course, incoming MAcc students submit their polished resumes to the program. The Rice MAcc assembles them into a resume book and shares that resume book with recruiters from the public accounting firms that recruit most heavily from Rice, including the “Big Four” firms.

MAcc students arrive on campus to start their classes in mid-August. Soon after, the Rice MAcc hosts an interactive workshop to build on what students learned in their summer online course. It covers what the interview experience will be like and proper interview attire. The workshop also helps students identify their interviewing strengths and weakness so they can further hone their skills.

Additionally, since prospective employers often hold recruiting events at restaurants, the Rice MAcc hosts a dining etiquette workshop in early September so students will be polished and confident for recruiting events that involve a meal. In this workshop, a Rice career services staff member leads the MAcc students through an actual three-course meal. As students eat, the instructor gives them tips and tricks for dining in a professional setting.

Deciding on types of jobs to pursue

The versatility of job options – straight out of graduate school and throughout one’s career – is a true advantage of having an accounting-based profession.

MAcc students often find starting their career in public accounting to be attractive, due to the opportunities for rapid advancement, on-the-job learning and the ability to specialize in industry groups, great network building, and the professional prestige of having work experience with a well-known public accounting firm. It’s not surprising, then, that about three quarters of MAcc students decide to take a first job in public accounting.

The MAcc program arranges for public accounting firms, including the “Big Four” firms, to hold information sessions for the MAcc students. These info sessions occur from late-August through mid-September, and they allow students to learn about each firm and its culture. Students apply for positions at firms of their choosing, submitting their applications as early as mid-September. Firms then select the candidates they would like to interview, and most interviewing occurs in October.

While public accounting is popular, it’s certainly not the only type of job available to Rice MAcc students. There are also opportunities in consulting, corporate accounting, banking, and government and not-for-profits. To make students aware of the many available jobs outside of public accounting, Rice’s Center for Career Development office holds a workshop in September to show MAcc students how to take full advantage of Rice’s job postings database, called Handshake. Students realize that the variety of jobs postings open to people with a graduate accounting degree is remarkable.

Throughout the recruiting process, the Rice MAcc program director is available to work with students on a one-on-one basis.

Accepting the job offer

Students who receive public accounting job offers typically get their offers soon after their interviews. That means that most students know which firms they have offers from by early November. By mid-November, many MAcc students will have made their decision and accepted a job offer. Students pursuing a non-public accounting job will also often receive job offers during their fall semester, though sometimes the non-public accounting job search extends into the spring semester. Regardless, by graduation, over 95% of MAcc students have typically accepted a job offer.

Once a student has accepted a job offer, the student will decline any other outstanding job offers they have. Then the recruitment process is all wrapped up!

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