Department Head Dr. Maher talks with Master's Students

“The accounting profession is continually evolving, and it is imperative that the education we provide evolves as well so that our graduates are prepared to successfully enter the accounting profession,” stated Nadia Rogers, associate professor of practice in the Department of Accounting and Information Systems (ACIS) and director of the Master of Accounting and Information Systems (MACIS) Program.  “We recognize that data and analytics is the wave of the future and have taken the necessary steps to modify our curriculum.”

One of the ways in which Virginia Tech’s ACIS Department has addressed the need to include data and analytics in its curriculum at the graduate level is by joining forces with one of the “Big Four” public accounting firms, KPMG LLP, in its Master of Accounting with Data and Analytics (MADA) Program.

“We are incredibly honored to have been selected by KPMG as one of nine high quality universities in the country to participate in its MADA Program – the only program of its kind,” explained Rogers. According to documentation from KPMG, “this award-winning program offers students a one-of-a-kind master’s degree for accounting professionals in the data age. The demanding coursework goes beyond traditional accounting principles to include technologies and methodologies used in today’s highly complex, data-centric accounting environments, ensuring that next generation accounting students are equally comfortable in their data and analytics skills, as they are in their traditional accounting skills.”

Participation in KPMG’s MADA Program provides many benefits to ACIS faculty and students. Faculty have undergone intensive training provided by KPMG on its proprietary tools. “KPMG is also sponsoring a limited number of our students, which results in tremendous financial, practical experience and leadership benefits,” stated Rogers. From a financial standpoint, KPMG is paying tuition, fees, books and a monthly stipend to help cover room and board for each sponsored student. In addition, the sponsored students have an internship with KPMG during the entire Spring semester to gain extremely relevant experience during one of the firm’s busiest times. Upon graduation, the sponsored students are hired by KPMG as Experienced Associates with a three-year, full-time employment contract, along with an opportunity for an accelerated career path.

“What I absolutely love about our involvement in KPMG’s MADA Program is that, not only does KPMG support earning a master’s degree, but all students, regardless of KPMG sponsorship and regardless of the option chosen within our MACIS Program, have exposure to KPMG’s proprietary tools, data sets and case studies. We truly believe, based on feedback we’ve received from the profession and various conferences we have attended, that our students are on the cutting edge,” said Rogers.

KPMG is no stranger to the outstanding graduates of our ACIS Program. In fact, “KPMG is the top firm in hiring ACIS graduates as it knows the value of our students and is happy with our Programs’ trajectories,” explained Rogers. This longstanding relationship, along with the mutual desire to educate students regarding data and analytics, led KPMG to include Virginia Tech in the expansion of the MADA Program, an expansion that increased the number of participating schools from two to nine and increased the number of student participants to 134.

While KPMG is investing heavily in the education of its MADA students, it left the design of the curriculum to the experts. “KPMG was very clear when it began discussions with our ACIS Department about participating in its MADA Program – it is not an academic educator. KPMG highlighted key skillsets and knowledge it wanted incoming employees to have and trusted us to create the curriculum,” per Rogers.

To be considered for acceptance into the MADA Program, students must submit an application with KPMG, complete the Graduate Management Admission Test, and participate in an interview process with KPMG executives. Virginia Tech’s ACIS Department then follows its regular admission process when accepting applicants. Once accepted into the MADA Program and Virginia Tech’s MACIS Program, sponsored students are expected to successfully complete 30 credit hours (10 courses), including earning 3 credit hours for the Spring Internship with KPMG. Students hold discussions with KPMG to determine the office in which they will intern and then go on to work full-time after graduating with a master’s degree from Virginia Tech.

For many years, Virginia Tech’s ACIS Department has taken pride in providing its students with a world-class education that combines accounting and information systems knowledge. With the recent changes in its curriculum and participation in KPMG’s MADA Program, the ACIS Department has shown its continued commitment to evolve with the profession and provide a world-class education to its students.

With Virginia Tech’s inaugural group of MADA students set to graduate later this year and the class of 2020 ready to begin in the fall, recruitment for the 2021 MADA class is underway. The application window is open now through May 19, 2019. For more information about KPMG’s MADA Program, or to apply, please visit

Written by Jeremy Norman