Best MBA in Accounting

Are you ready to find your fit?

Accounting is the language of business, helping firms communicate with investors, regulators, and giving managers a picture of corporate health.

A typical MBA program with a focus in accounting will not only teach you the nuts and bolts of financial recordkeeping, it will also teach you how to best apply those technical skills in real world large-scale situations, while taking the overall business model of your company in mind.

With an MBA in accounting, you’ll be a stronger candidate for management and executive positions rather than being limited to number-crunching.

What kind of accounting degree should you get?

The MBA in accounting is one avenue for students who are interested in financial analysis – usually as it pertains to making management decisions in corporations. Students interested in practicing independently as a CPA may also consider pursuing a Master’s degree in Accounting degree, either in person or an online master’s in accounting. Students should consult their respective CPA State Licensing Board about the specific coursework that would make you eligible to sit for the CPA exam in your state.

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How much do people make with an MBA in accounting?

Depending on your employer and job description, you can expect a salary of $50,000 and up as an accountant with an MBA. According to Payscale.com, accountants with an MBA average $50-65,000 in compensation.

Those in executive positions are paid more. A corporate controller makes around $99,000 a year, while an accounting manager averages $74,000. Those working in consulting or investment firms may make much more, both as salary and in bonuses.

Learn more about business degree salaries.

What can you do with an MBA in accounting?

A key benefit of earning an MBA is the flexibility and relevancy it offers across industries – and an MBA specializing in accounting only emphasizes that flexibility with career opportunities in public, private and government roles offering a range of opportunities in many fields.

Whether your goal is to move into an accounting role or advance as a leader with accounting skills, the ability to analyze and interpret financial data is a sought-after skill and increasingly important as organizations expand across the globe.

 
 

What are the requirements for an MBA in accounting?

To apply for competitive MBA programs in accounting, you will need a bachelor’s degree with coursework that shows you’re well prepared for graduate work in business. You don’t necessarily have to major in business or economics as an undergraduate to be a competitive candidate.

You’ll also take the GRE or GMAT, depending on the requirements of each school. Finally, you’ll complete a personal essay and interview process to ensure you’re a good fit for the school.

Learn more about the requirements to work in accounting.

What are the best MBA degrees in accounting?

We’ve ranked the top 15 accounting MBA programs that can help you become a leading candidate for an accounting or financial analysis position. Our rankings take into account factors including reputation, graduation rates, selectivity, and faculty resources. Some, but not all, are targeted towards management professionals already working in the field and require previous work experience for admission. Check those requirements carefully so you can find the program that best fits your needs.

Best MBA Degrees in Accounting

See our rankings methodology page.

  1. Harvard University
    Location

    Cambridge, MA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Our top-ranked MBA program with an option to concentrate in accounting is at Harvard Business School, where decisive moments define each student’s education. Here, everything from section life to case studies, from field-based learning to international Immersions, culminates in one larger lesson—what it means to assume leadership. Through case method courses, FIELD projects, multimedia simulations, and more, you’ll exercise the leadership skills you will practice in business and beyond. 

    Features

    The Required Curriculum forms the first year of study and establishes a common foundation in the fundamental practices of business including finance, marketing, leadership, negotiation, operations, strategy, and more. All students participate in the same set of classes within their section of 90 colleagues, including FIELD, which complements case-method learning with smaller hands-on team projects, personal reflection, and global immersions. Students may take any combination of courses—up to five courses per semester—and also have the opportunity to cross-register for courses in other select graduate programs. Here are some options:

    • Business Analysis and Valuation Using Financial Statements
    • Managing with Data Science
    • Reimagining Capitalism: Business and Big Problems

    Notables

    Upon arrival at HBS, students are assigned to a specific “section”—a group of approximately 90 students with whom they will complete the Required Curriculum. Through FIELD projects and global immersions, first-year students enrich their section experiences by participating in small, cross-section teams that change throughout the year, connecting participants to the broader HBS community. 

  2. Stanford University
    Location

    Stanford, CA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    The MBA program at Stanford University is distinguished by its flexibility as well as the inclusion of global experience to the degree requirements. Regardless of your major, the first-year curriculum is shared among all students. In the General Management Perspectives core, you’ll dive into complex accounting issues. Your courses offer a menu of choices in each required discipline, calibrated to your skills, experience, and future goals.

    Features

    In the second year of the MBA, you will likely be taking almost all electives, during which time you can focus on accounting principles and practice. These courses can help broaden your experience and perspective, or broaden your knowledge in a specific area. Recent electives in accounting include:

    • Accounting-Based Valuation
    • Alphanomics: Informational Arbitrage in Equity Markets
    • Analysis and Valuation for Event-Driven Investing
    • Mergers and Acquisitions: Accounting, Regulatory, and Governance Issues

    Notables

    Participating in a Global Experience is a noteworthy requirement — and a highlight — of the Stanford MBA Program. You’ll gain a rich perspective of global management issues, and experience life-changing insights, as you take part in these exciting global opportunities. You can choose an immersion experience, where you’ll spend at least four weeks during the summer working on projects for a sponsoring organization in an industry such as consumer products, international development, energy, finance, healthcare, media and entertainment, technology, and telecommunications.

  3. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
    Location

    Cambridge, MA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    The MIT Sloan MBA uses “Action Learning” as the centerpiece of your experience. To reinforce their developing knowledge, students at MIT Sloan exercise their leadership skills and apply classroom learning to management challenges in organizations around the world. MIT Sloan offers Action Learning labs focused on subject areas, like sustainability or analytics, or on geographic regions or type of company. During the first, or “Core,” semester, students are divided into six cohorts with nearly 70 students in each from a rich mix of backgrounds, interests, and experiences.

    Features

    You’ll learn the principles of financial accounting, and how that information is used in making investment decisions, in corporate and managerial performance assessment, and in the valuation of firms. You’ll also learn how to perform economics-based analysis of accounting information from the viewpoint of senior managers. Due to MIT’s special expertise in the field, students who choose to study accounting often have an interest in advanced financial analytics. Courses in accounting include the following:

    • Corporate Financial Accounting
    • Financial Accounting
    • Taxes and Business Strategy
    • Security Design and Corporate Financing

    Notables

    In response to the growing demand from students to dive deeper into analytics and data science, MIT Sloan launched the Business Analytics certificate, available to all MIT graduate students enrolled in a degree-granting program. Students can select from a wide array of electives in their vertical of interest. The classes are completed over a 2-4 semester period, including a number of options for students to learn and practice using analytics techniques in operations, finance, marketing, human capital, healthcare and sustainability. 

  4. Northwestern University
    Location

    Evanston, IL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    At Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Business, you will a gain firm grounding in the fundamentals through the Growth Core MBA curriculum. After you complete required courses, you’ll be able to explore a wide range of electives and 1,000+ experiential learning opportunities, to learn, test and build your skillset to meet your professional aspirations. 

    Features

    Kellogg’s rigorous core MBA curriculum provides you grounding in the fundamentals of growth and the foundation for advanced, specialized work in academic majors and professional fields. The core curriculum for the Two-Year Program consists of nine courses in fundamental areas, including accounting; management and organizations; marketing; finance; managerial economics; decision sciences; operations; and management and strategy. Then, there are two fundamental tracks for an accounting major:

    • Financial Accounting Track
    • Managerial Accounting Track

    Notables

    Upon graduation, few Kellogg School students go to work for accounting firms, but many find that accounting complements their second major. They find it easier, and more insightful, to learn accounting while at the Kellogg School rather than having to learn it haphazardly on the job. In addition, many consulting careers have a strong accounting component to them – consultants who evaluate the performance systems of their clients are performing accounting analyses. Even if you never plan to become a CPA, the Kellogg School can prepare you to use accounting information in a wide variety of business careers. 

  5. Columbia University in the City of New York
    Location

    New York, NY

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Columbia Business School’s MBA in accounting begins with a comprehensive core curriculum that builds the foundation necessary for success in any field. Versatile programs like Master Classes, the Individual, Business, and Society Curriculum, and Columbia CaseWorks all approach business education in new ways, and the school’s cluster system encourages students to learn not only with, but from, their peers. 

    Features

    All Columbia Business School students gain a foundational understanding of accounting principles through the core curriculum. Your classes will go beyond the basics. You’ll discuss whether corporate accounting promulgated by the regulators—the Financial Accounting Standards Board and the International Accounting Standards Board—is really up to the mark. Students interested in further refining their expertise in accounting may take electives offered by the Accounting Division, including:

    • Accounting for Value
    • Corporate Transactions and Financial Modeling
    • Earnings Quality and Fundamental Analysis
    • Economics of Strategic Behavior

    Notables

    Columbia’s program is noteworthy for its emphasis on community building. This process begins right at the start of the MBA program, as admitted students are assigned to clusters of 65 to 70 fellow students who take all of the first-year core classes together. As diverse as the class itself, each cluster is made up of people from all over the world, with a wealth of different skills, ideas, leadership styles, and backgrounds. 

  6. University of Chicago
    Location

    Chicago, IL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    The Booth School of Business at the University of Chicago offers an MBA program tailored to prepare its students for business leadership at a new level. You’ll experience an academic program that features an emphasis on analyzing problems, generating key insights, and implementing creative solutions. The curriculum is noted for its flexibility, with only one required course. This gives you the ability to target the depth of knowledge and skills in accounting that a potential employer will value.

    Features

    As the study of an organization’s financial information, accounting is often referred to as the language of business. In the accounting concentration, you’ll learn how an organization’s financial performance and health are reflected in its balance sheet and income statement. Accounting gives you a framework from which you can quantifiably evaluate how choices are affected by incentives and resources. You’ll have the option of taking courses that address your individual career choices, including:

    • Cost Analysis and Internal Controls
    • Accounting and Financial Analysis
    • Taxes and Business Strategy
    • Financial Statement Analysis

    Notables

    The program is noted for an emphasis on experiential learning, giving you the chance to strengthen the connection between theory and practice. Testing the skills and knowledge you’ve gained in a practical setting will stretch and prepare you for business leadership. You’ll also benefit from an academic connection with the University of Chicago, one of the leading research institutions in the world. Through a number of joint degree programs, you can increase the value of your MBA by combining it with a degree from one of the University’s other world-renowned programs.

  7. University of Virginia
    Location

    Charlottesville, VA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    The MBA in accounting at the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia begins with a required curriculum in the first year that provides you with an integrated perspective on general management. From finance and marketing to accounting and leadership, these required courses cover important business themes. Darden’s core curriculum is designed to give you both breadth and depth, while allowing you ample time for career discovery and preparation for first fear interviewing. 

    Features

    At Darden, all first year students take a core accounting course. Then, Darden offers many opportunities to expand your knowledge of accounting principles and practice, both inside and outside of the classroom, through elective courses and internship experience. You’ll learn how to navigate our society’s accounting and financial-reporting systems, and take an in-depth look at the numerous factors that managers and executives must consider as they confront complex and difficult financial accounting and reporting issues. Accounting electives available include:

    • Management Planning and Control Systems
    • Taxation and Management Decisions
    • Taxation of Mergers and Acquisitions
    • Financial Statement Analysis and Corporate Valuation

    Notables

    Darden offers students a number of global learning opportunities. One is the Global Client Course elective, where you and a small team of students provide consulting services to an international company or organization while working closely with a Darden faculty member over the course of a quarter or semester. At the beginning or end of each course, you will visit the company on location to build on-the-ground knowledge and experience the issue at hand. 

  8. University of Pennsylvania
    Location

    Philadelphia, PA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    As one of the leading schools of business in the U.S., the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania offers an MBA with an accounting major that helps students acquire the skills to measure and communicate an organization’s economic activities. In this major, you’ll learn the formal system of collecting, organizing, and reporting the financial data used to make economic decisions. You’ll also learn how to use this data shed to light on current financial status and liquidity, as well as past profitability and funds-generating capability.

    Features

    The accounting major at the Wharton School focuses on the people who need, and use, accounting data. Most courses in the department stress concepts, procedures and applications with a view to helping the student understand how accounting information is generated, as well as its reliability in analysis. Most accounting majors are preparing for careers in which accounting data are used extensively. To complete the major, you’ll need to complete the equivalent of four credit units from the following:

    • Cost Management
    • Auditing
    • Problems in Financial Reporting
    • Financial Statement and Disclosure Analysis

    Notables

    The department’s flexible curriculum also allows interested students to take the required courses toward certification as a CPA (certified public accountant) or CMA (chartered management accountant). As the specific course requirements for these certificates vary from state to state, and usually exceed the minimum requirements for a Wharton MBA major, students who seek professional certification should seek the advice of the Accounting Department adviser as early as possible to plan their programs. 

  9. Dartmouth College
    Location

    Hanover, NH

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    The Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth offers an MBA that, among other options, allows students to concentrate in accounting and prepare for a career in the field. Every element in the academic experience at Tuck—from team-based project work and experiential and global learning opportunities to case-based courses, independent study, and small-scale Research-to-Practice Seminars—is designed to push students further than they thought possible with the goal of developing curious, creative leaders. 

    Features

    Tuck’s integrated core curriculum provides rigorous coverage of key functional areas and disciplines with courses that build on and complement each other: statistics and decision science, corporate finance and capital markets, managerial and global economics, marketing, organizational behavior and personal leadership, strategy, communications, and operations. Students who have extensive previous background in a particular discipline may exempt out of a course and take an elective course in its place. Courses in the accounting field include:

    • Financial Reporting and Statement Analysis
    • Financial Statement Interpretation and Analysis
    • Managerial Accounting
    • Taxes and Business Strategy

    Notables

    Students participate in the Tuck First-Year Project (FYP), a required course in which teams of Tuck students apply learning from their entire first year at Tuck to complex, real-world issues of strategic importance for a variety of clients—multinational corporations, SMEs, nonprofit/nongovernmental entities, and early-stage startups from a wide range of industries. All projects include an immersive, full-time fieldwork component, typically outside of the U.S. 

  10. University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
    Location

    Ann Arbor, MI

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Michigan’s Ross MBA program will take you from the classroom into the field to tackle complex, unstructured problems. Analytic rigor is demanded throughout; you’ll learn to make evidence-based recommendations, have clear logic to defend your solutions, and expect others to have the same. The MAP project is a key part of this program, where first-year students immerse themselves in the business world for seven weeks as they work exclusively with a corporate, entrepreneurial, or non-profit organization to solve a pressing challenge. 

    Features

    Core courses establish a foundation you will build on throughout your Ross MBA experience. The Ross MBA Program allows you to explore a few electives while taking your first year core, and then completely customize your second year, to pursue your individual interests. There are also several focused learning opportunities offered including:

    • Fast Track in Finance
    • Healthcare Concentration
    • Real Estate Development Certificate
    • Sustainability Concentration

    Notables

    You’ve got 24 hours to save a company: What do you do? That’s what happens in another notable part of the MBA program at Michigan: the Sanger Leadership Center’s Crisis Challenge. This is an intensive experience where you and a team of your peers will assume the role of senior management facing a devastating crisis. After you find your solutions, you face a judging panel of faculty and members of the business community. 

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