William Woods Graduates First MBA-Accounting Students

During 2001, in response to new accounting industry educational requirements, William Woods University initiated a new master of business administration degree (MBA) with an accounting concentration.

The program now has its first graduates—a staff accountant for Professional Consulting Services in Columbia and a fiscal and administrative manager for the Department of Natural Resources in Jefferson City.

Gwen Morrison, the staff accountant, enrolled in the MBA-Accounting in May 2001. Her goal is to sit for the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) exam in November 2003, so she needed the additional post-baccalaureate hours the degree would provide.

Milt Barr, who works for DNR, took another route. He had already completed his MBA at WWU in 1998, and became a Certified Government Financial Manager (CGFM) in 1999, but was interested in continuing professional education opportunities. He enrolled in the accounting track and completed it at the same time as Morrison.

“I found myself using some of the updated information I was studying in the accounting courses almost immediately,” Barr said. “The courses reinforced my previous training with the specific accounting focus and gave me more confidence in the areas that I needed.”

Barr was a career U.S. Army Medical Services Corps officer who retired in 2000 after 30 years of service. His last position with the military was as a logistics and budgeting officer.

“In all my years of experience with the military, I was always having to set goals and objectives for professional development and then executing my plans for accomplishing them. I feel that it is important in any career to keep pursuing knowledge and excellence in order to do our jobs and be ready for the next opportunities,” he explained.

Morrison has her own goals. “Having an MBA will help me with management decisions I will have to make in the future and add credibility. . .Once everything calms down and I get my CPA, I would like to gain experience to become an associate at the firm I currently work with.”

She would eventually like to teach accounting classes and pass on her enthusiasm for accounting to up and coming students.

“I feel that the accounting industry has gotten a poor reputation over the past few years by some bad apples,” she said. “We (accountants) are not all tempted by the highest dollar figure; there are still a lot of us left who believe integrity is not something you sacrifice.”

William Woods University’s MBA with accounting concentration is a 36-credit-hour program designed to equip the accounting professional with a broad array of skills and knowledge for professional practice. It includes courses in governmental accounting, advanced taxation and auditing and information systems.

Like all of the Graduate & Adult Studies programs offered by William Woods University, the MBA-Accounting degree is designed for working adults, trying to balance employment, education and family.

Barr and his wife Cherie have two children who are in college, but Morrison’s children are younger. She and her husband Mark have children 15, 8 and 4.

“My husband was very understanding and cooperative,” Morrison said. “We made the commitment that I would finish the program and stuck to it. My children did not understand at times, but to see me walk across the stage to get my diploma made it all worth it for them.”

Both Morrison and Barr would recommend the MBA-Accounting program at William Woods to others.

“I would recommend the program to other accountants, for those who want to further their career, or want to sit for the exam,” Morrison said. “It allows for growth in so many areas, like time management and expanding your knowledge about leadership.”

“The program is well designed for today’s continuing education needs,” Barr said. “Adding the accounting track program allows students to pursue their interest in this area. Many students will be using this program in preparation for taking the Certified Public Accountant or Certified Government Financial Manager examinations. It is an outstanding way to prepare for these professional designations.”

Brian Lemons, director of graduate business programs, agrees: “This unique program appeals to a variety of audiences. Adults working in a business application find the courses provide an excellent orientation to basic financial planning and capital budgeting needs. For those who majored in accounting as undergraduates, this degree satisfies the 150-hour Missouri course requirement.”

He continued, “For business and government professionals, the program provides a well-rounded preparation to sit for the CPA and/or CGFM exams. For professionals currently involved in the accounting profession, this degree provides a complimentary perspective leading to the completion of continuing professional education (CPE) requirements needed to maintain licensing.”

To learn more about William Woods University’s MBA-Accounting or other Graduate & Adult Studies programs, contact WWU by e-mail at cgas@williamwoods.edu or phone at 1-800-995-3199. Information is also available on the web at www.williamwoods.edu.