Back in 2017, audit, tax, and advisory services network KPMG LLP teamed with Villanova and Ohio State universities to launch a first-of-its-kind initiative in which KPMG cover tuition, room, and board for selected students to earn a master’s degree in accounting with data and analytics — and, when they graduate, to give them jobs with KPMG.
The Master of Accounting with Data and Analytics program, designed to prepare students with specialized skills for practical use of the latest analytics technology, has naturally evolved along with today’s data-driven accounting environment. Most of its evolution can be seen in its rapid expansion. By December 2018, MADA had grown to nine universities, and in a recent announcement the program’s directors say it is welcoming seven new university partners, including four historically Black colleges and universities.
The expansion includes providing more than $7 million in scholarship funding over three years to the universities — one of the ways the firm is creating pathways for under-represented future leaders to build their careers in the profession and with KPMG as an employer of choice.
AMONG THE NEW MADA PARTNER SCHOOLS: HOWARD
“Expanding the master’s program will help close the gap between academic preparation and accounting career readiness,” says Scott Flynn, KPMG vice chair, audit. “Importantly, our HBCU-focused investments will support under-represented individuals and diversify our profession, better enabling us to deliver quality and innovation long-term.”
The universities newly added to the MADA program are:
- Alabama State University’s Percy J. Vaugh, Jr. College of Business Administration
- Bentley University’s McCallum Graduate School of Business
- Florida International University College of Business
- DePaul University Kellstadt Graduate School of Business
- Howard University School of Business
- North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University
- Prairie View A&M University College of Business
Alabama State, Howard, North Carolina Ag & Tech, and Prairie View are HBCUs. The expansion aligns with KPMG’s Accelerate 2025 commitments, a set of diversity benchmarks that include reaching 50% partner and managing director representation from under-represented groups, including doubling its Black representation, and a 50% increase in Black and Hispanic/Latinx workforce, according to its 2021 U.S. DEI Transparency Report.
“To achieve our growth and trust ambitions, we must unlock the power of our people — developing the best and most diverse talent, providing access to meaningful opportunities and creating an environment in which everyone can thrive and grow personally and professionally,” writes Paul Knopp, KPMG CEO, in the report. “Accelerate 2025 — our commitment to attract, retain and advance under-represented talent — is at the heart of that effort.”
SETTING THE TONE
More than 300 students have participated in the MADA program over the last five years. The program is changing the industry, says Becky Sproul, talent and culture leader – audit. It’s also changing the way accounting and analytics are taught, “setting the tone for academic innovation and influencing the broader academic community to pursue an advanced curriculum that includes D&A and technology.”
“We have more than 300 graduates of our Master of Accounting with Data and Analytics Program who are using their expertise to bring our clients greater insight and productivity in how we ingest and analyze data,” Sproul says. “For audit professionals, comfort with both D&A and automation technologies is a core capability that we invest in through our MADA Program.”