Accountants Sample MBA

KNOXVILLE — Accounting graduate students at the University of Tennessee are looking beyond balance sheets and audits and into the marketplace.

The addition of broader-based business skills to the Master of Accountancy program has won a national honor from the American Accounting Association for Dr. Bruce Behn, assistant professor of accounting.

He received the 1999 Innovation in Accounting Education Award for implementing a cross-functional, mini-Master of Business Administration program and the College of Business Administration’s computer-based “Marketplace” simulation into the accounting program.

“The [accounting] profession wanted students who have an understanding of the big picture,” Behn said. “Our faculty were concerned because some students were taking elective courses that were adding little value to their education.”

Students benefit, he said, because they learn to think beyond their accounting training and become better business advisors.

New grad students attend a four-day orientation and a three-hour course during the academic year. Both faculty and students view the two courses as a continuous sequence where they explore customer value, statistical process control, performance management and corporate strategy.

UT’s Master of Business Administration program takes an integrated approach, and Behn drew on his teaching in the traditional and executive MBA programs when he designed the accounting courses.

“I wanted to give the students the best of what both MBA programs had to offer in a condensed version. All of this material is taught by award-winning UT faculty and business leaders in an integrated fashion,” Behn said.