A $1.5 million gift and two new master’s degree programs are expected to increase both the prestige and enrollment of the highly ranked University of Mississippi’s Patterson School of Accountancy by appealing to top students interested in a master’s degree incorporating an emphasis in data analytics to their traditional course of study.
Scholarships for the new programs – the Master of Accountancy and Data Analytics and the Master of Taxation and Data Analytics – are being funded by Big Four audit, tax and advisory firm KPMG LLP as well as its Ole Miss alumni partners and professionals.
In 2016, KPMG collaborated with Ohio State University and Villanova University to launch the scholarship program. A year later, KPMG added seven more schools, including Ole Miss.
“We firmly believe that in this era of technology disruption that a core competency of students who come to the accounting profession are going to need a deep skill set in data analytics and other types of cognitive technologies in addition to their technical training in accounting and tax,” said Chuck Walker of Nashville, Tennessee, who leads KPMG’s asset management practice out of its New York office and is an Ole Miss alumnus.
Walker graduated from Ole Miss in 1979 with a bachelor’s degree in business administration with an accounting major.
“One of the things we are particularly proud of is, due to this unique program, the number of world-class students who will now attend the Patterson School from all across the country” he continued.
Data analytics is changing the way that the public accounting profession provides services. Beyond a deep knowledge of accounting, professionals often need to have data analytics expertise and possess the analytical skills and critical thinking to improve procedures and deliver insights that are expected in the data age.
“With the momentum created with the establishment of the dual-degree programs, the KPMG Ole Miss alumni partners and professionals in conjunction with the KPMG Foundation are pleased to endow this KPMG Chair of Accountancy and Data Analytics to provide faculty support to the Patterson School,” Walker said.
Dean Mark Wilder is grateful for KPMG’s confidence in, and generous support of, the Patterson School.
“We appreciate so much all that KPMG is doing for our faculty, students, and program. The Patterson School has enjoyed a tremendous partnership with the firm for many years, and KPMG has made, and continues to make, a profound impact on our program,” Wilder said.
“The establishment of a second $1.5M endowed faculty chair at Ole Miss, the KPMG Chair of Accountancy and Data Analytics, will have a lasting impact on our faculty and the education of our students. We are so grateful to our KPMG alumni and friends, and the KPMG Foundation, for their confidence in our program and for their amazing support” Wilder continued. “In addition, our partnership with KPMG in delivering graduate education in accounting/tax and data analytics will provide outstanding benefits to our program and students. It is a high privilege to work with KPMG to provide innovative graduate programs to help develop future accounting and tax professionals for the data age.”
According to the 2017 annual national rankings of accounting programs published by the Public Accounting Report, UM undergraduate, master’s and doctoral programs are all ranked No. 8 in the country. The master’s program leads the Southeastern Conference in the rankings and the undergraduate program is second in the SEC. One or more Ole Miss accountancy programs have led the SEC in the rankings in each of the past seven years.
On multiple occasions in the past five years, KPMG has hired more interns nationally from Ole Miss than from any other university in the nation. As such, KPMG has a vested interest in continuing its partnership with Ole Miss in delivering graduate education in data analytics.
“It’s good for us and it’s good for the university,” Walker said. “The value Ole Miss dual-degree graduates will have in the marketplace is much greater than someone who just has a master of accountancy or master of tax degree.
“Our KPMG Ole Miss alumni partners and professionals have a strong desire to give back to the Patterson School so it can continue to be a leader among accounting programs in the US,” he continued. “We believe the combination of KPMG’s sponsorship of this unique dual degree program and the establishment of this endowed chair by our alumni will continue to strengthen Ole Miss and its commitment to the accounting profession.”
In 2014, with a $1.5 million gift, KPMG’s Ole Miss alumni partners and professionals in connection with the KPMG Foundation established the KPMG Chair of Accountancy, a position Wilder holds today.
For more information on KPMG’s sponsorship of students to attend masters programs in data analytics, click here.
For more information on ways to support the Patterson School of Accountancy, contact Denson Hollis, executive director of development, at [email protected] or 662-915-5092.
By Bill Dabney