Authors

Alec Schuberth

Document Type

Dissertation

Abstract

Upon graduation, many college students embark on their professional careers in accounting. These graduates have completed their degree and moved to their new, exciting, and challenging jobs; but have these corporations recently expressed satisfaction with the performance of these young employees? Some studies suggest that many executives do not think that their new employees have developed the skills needed to be successful in today’s competitive business landscape. This project extends the literature by examining professional development in college graduates and applying it within the context of accounting education in college and universities nationwide. Overall, this project aims to investigate why corporations have their doubts about their entry-level employees by examining how job skills are developed in college accounting courses. The study uses primary data and previously existing studies to examine if the style of teaching (e.g. lecture-based or group work) has an impact on how well students build the skills executives believe are most important (e.g. working well in teams). The surveys administered during this study comprised of 142 undergraduate students at Bryant University. Statistical tests were conducted to determine whether significant skill development took place from one specific class year to another. The survey data suggests that significant development of selected skills occurs from freshman to senior year, whereas the one-year development stages (freshman-to-sophomore, sophomore-to-junior, and junior-to-senior) showed little to no significant change. The results of this study can be used by employers and employees alike to evaluate what initiatives universities can take to enhance the quality of accounting education as it pertains to professional skill development. University faculty and administration could also find value in this study, particularly with respect to curriculum evaluation.

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