MAcc group at the Washington Campus

In the words from the popular musical “Hamilton,” Master of Accounting (MAcc) students got to be in the “room where it happens,” this spring.   

Accompanied by Tzachi Zach, director of the MAcc program, 20 students ventured to Washington D.C., where they spent three days as part of the Washington Campus, a non-profit, non-partisan, higher education consortium, where the students learned about the relationship between accounting, government and public policy.

The students spent their time with colleagues from Purdue University and Indiana University hearing from a diverse group of professionals, including regulators from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), institutional watchdogs and former U.S. Representative Robert Carr.  

MAcc students at the Washington Campus
MAcc students pose on the
steps of the Capitol during
their trip to the Washington

This year marked the MAcc program's second trip to the Washington Campus. 

“The program exposes students to a variety of D.C.-based institutes and organizations, broadening their perspectives about the profession, markets and the economy, and showcasing how they are all connected to the political system,” Zach said.  

At the Washington Campus, speakers discussed new trends in the field, such as AI and blockchain, but also touched on age-old issues, like fraud and government partisanship.  

MAcc student Braxton Dewey came away from the trip with a sobering understanding of the accounting industry and the challenges it faces. 

“Having the opportunity to hear about the state of the industry from the regulatory and public accounting vantage points was spectacular,” he said. “My generation’s adherence to professional and moral standards is essential to the well-being of public accounting as we currently know it.” 

The trip also opened students’ eyes to career paths outside of the traditional accounting trajectory.  

“Many students, myself included, get tunnel vision during the recruiting process; the goal is to get into a Big Four or regional accounting firm and work until you can pivot into an industry position or make partner,” said student John Yandam. “During this trip, though, I realized there is so much more than just picking between audit and tax.”  

While in Washington, D.C., students visited the floor of the House of Representatives and participated in a guided tour of the U.S. Capitol Building by Carr.  

“As an international student, this was my favorite experience,” Jiyao Liu said. “It was fascinating to be in a room that I’d only seen in the news and the movies.”  

The trip coincided with the rise of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic; the group ended its excursion two days early due to safety concerns, leaving after Ohio State announced its transition to online classes.  

Although COVID-19 cast a shadow over the trip, Dewey found it exhilarating to be in Washington, D.C. during such a tumultuous time. 

“The discussion of coronavirus during the Washington Campus session proved very insightful,” he said. “While it was alarming to watch the virus in its early stages, I have a great appreciation for seeing firsthand how leaders in our industry navigate such trying times.”