Pre-MAcc Success

As a non-accounting undergrad, I had to enroll in the Pre-MAcc program before officially entering the MAcc. It’s one of the most rigorous academic experiences you’ll ever have–approximately equivalent to completing 2 intermediate accounting classes in about 2 weeks!–but it’s set me up for success in the academic year and, more importantly, my career.

I recommend the following to maximize your chances for success in the Pre-MAcc.

  • Ask Questions: As my classmates would attest, I never stopped asking questions. If something is the slightest bit unclear, ask. Accounting builds upon concepts. If you miss Step A, you’re going to be lost on every subsequent step. It’s graduate school. Everyone is motivated to succeed. There’s no “stigma” against asking questions like you might’ve encountered in undergrad. And there are no dumb questions.
  • Learning > Memorization: Think about the swath of material you’ll be covering. It’s impossible to memorize most processes and methods in the Pre-MAcc and succeed. But if you understand the “how” and “why” to what you’re doing, you’ll do well. The exams are often structured in a way that requires you to understand concepts. Don’t expect to be asked a basic question. Expect to use multiple pieces of concepts and problem solving to find solutions. Journal entries will only get you so far.
  • Commit To Success: Part of what makes the Pre-MAcc challenging is the time required. Class could run from 9 until 5 (ok, they let us take a lunch break) and on weekends. It’s easy to fall into the trap of going home after class, too exhausted to keep studying. But you must persevere. Hit the books until you feel comfortable with the material. Study nightly rather than cram for the exams.
  • Accept The Learning Curve: Nothing frustrates me more than not understanding something after seeing it once; the Pre-MAcc frustrated me many times. It’s intermediate accounting. It’s not as easy as recording sales revenue. It’s fine if you don’t understand how and why a concept is the way it is the first time. Or the second time. Or the sixteenth time. Keep at it and you’ll have an Aha! moment where everything makes sense. Don’t get discouraged.
  • Study Smart: Flashcards were effective for me. A lot of flashcards. (My classmates didn’t share my love for those glorious 3 by 5 index cards.) Know how you learn best and focus your studying around what works.

If you’re concerned you’ll struggle because your undergrad education is so far removed from accounting, don’t worry. I majored in broadcast journalism (a running joke amongst my undergraduate classmates was communications majors couldn’t do math–yikes) and received an A for the course. Accounting is an interesting discipline that blends rules, logic, reasoning and (often) basic arithmetic. My opinion is your undergraduate major doesn’t matter for success in the Pre-MAcc. What matters is your willingness to work hard and challenge yourself. If you identify with that, you’re on the right path for Pre-MAcc success.

OSU MAcc Program: Non-Accounting Majors Welcome

When I first applied for the Master of Accounting program last fall, I had only ever taken one accounting class in my entire life. Many graduate accounting programs require multiple prerequisites for entry, so if you are a non-accounting major like myself, it is often difficult to gain access to some of the most selective programs. Ohio State offers a unique 3-week intensive program called the Pre-MAcc Seminar  that allows people to take three intermediate accounting courses in three weeks, thus satisfying most of the prerequisites for the MAcc program. If that sounds intense, that’s because it was – we met for eight hours a day, with lectures in the morning and TA sessions in the afternoon.  We even had to come to class on Saturdays, twice during the preseason football games! (*I have been told that future students will not have to suffer this injustice, because the program will be held a few weeks earlier next year, since OSU is changing from quarters to semesters.*)

In just thirteen classes, we covered a year’s worth of intermediate accounting. You may be saying to yourself “it’s not possible to learn a year’s worth of accounting in that amount of time” but it really wasn’t so bad. Sure, we were living, sleeping, and breathing accounting, but in the end we all surprised ourselves with how much we were able to accomplish in such a short amount of time. But really, there was no question about whether or not we would make it. We all came into the Pre-MAcc with a great passion for accounting, and we knew that we would have to work hard in order to make it through to the MAcc program. Many of my colleagues in the MAcc program have said they wished they had done the Pre-MAcc just as a refresher. I highly recommend it, whether it be as a reminder of what you have learned for the past four years, or a crash course in your future, the Pre-MAcc seminar is a rewarding experience that more than prepares you for the transition to grad school and the MAcc program. More information about this past year’s program can be found here.