While many universities offer degrees in accounting, this article examines the opportunities for overseas students at dedicated business/management colleges and other vocational levels.
GSM London is a UK-based specialist management school with both under- and postgraduate courses in accounting and finance, says Emma Buckby, Regional Director. Using the example of the MSc course, she explains “modules include internationally focussed tutorials and lectures, as well as up-to-date case studies. It also includes a module on Project Management, which is invaluable nowadays for most businesses, as are skills in business analysis.” An increasingly popular option, she says, is the flexibility of a two-year degree, with obvious financial savings over the standard three-year option. “Our students often say that they find the pace easier than the traditional terms as they don’t lose their momentum over long summer holidays.”
At Kaplan Business School (KBS) in Australia, Alex Chevrolle, Director of Higher Education Australia, says, “Our programmes are designed for students who do not necessarily have previous experience but wish to pursue a career in accountancy.” These include the Bachelor of Business (Accounting), Master of Professional Accounting and Master of Accounting, and graduates from these will automatically be able to enrol as associate members of the CPA [Certified Practicing Accountants] Australia or ICAA [Institute of Chartered Accountants Australia], with several exemptions and recognitions available. “Some of our international students come here to study after completing a degree in their home country, so that they qualify to work as accountants in Australia.”
Chevrolle says, “We take pride in our programmes being professionally focussed and industry relevant and our graduates leave KBS with the professional communication, practical, theoretical and analytical skills they need in the workplace.” With small class sizes, he says, “Students benefit from an intimate and supportive learning environment,” and adds, “With more than 60 nationalities represented at our schools, students benefit from a truly international network of alumni.”
Through its Navitas Professional Division Navitas in Australia offers a Professional Year Accounting programme which, says Annette Madjarian, was developed by professional accounting bodies including CPA, ICAA and the Institute of Public Accountants. Delivered in five cities, the 44-week course also focusses on Australian workplace culture, job-seeking skills, leadership and team building as well as effective business communication, she says, and includes a 12-week internship.
Employability is key, says Madjarian. “Students who undergo the programme have a higher employment outcome in accounting than non-participants, with more than 70 per cent employed in accounting. The main focus of the course is gaining and retaining work in accounting, offering professional training specific to the industry.” The Navitas University Programs Division also offers accounting degrees at a number of partner universities across Australia.
At the Australian Institute of Professional Education (AIPE) a range of accounting qualifications from certificate to advanced diploma level are offered. AIPE’s Shumaila Ali says it is a growing employment market in Australia, in public and private sectors. “The accounting industry is thus diverse, secure and profitable,” she says. “[Students] will be trained in managing budgets and forecasts, preparing financial reports and tax returns and evaluating risk.”
At Academia International in Australia, “Accounting/Commerce courses range from nine months to two years and have logical breaks where a student can still attain a lesser qualification even if they choose not to complete all two years,” explains Mel Koumides, Director, with stages including certificate IV, diploma and advanced diploma. “Furthermore, as industry has to ratify our curricula, our accounting courses are more practically oriented with more hands-on work including the use of popular accounting packages and less theory.” There is also an option to pathway into the second year of a degree programme at Academia’s university partners, she adds, offering financial savings.
In the UK, industry relevance is paramount for the London School of Business and Finance’s (LSBF) accounting courses, informs Professor Maurits van Rooijen, Rector and CEO. “We work alongside our corporate partners to ensure that our courses are in line with modern market conditions, giving students the most innovative and up-to-date programme possible.” He explains, “In addition to our traditional courses such as ACCA [Association of Chartered Certified Accountants] and CIMA [Chartered Institute of Management Accountants], we recently launched an International Financial Bootcamp in collaboration with Sorbonne Graduate Business School [in France].”
Markets and recruitment
At the London School of Business and Finance, Professor Maurits van Rooijen says professional courses are popular in Asian, African and Middle Eastern countries, while Latin American and European students are prominent on postgraduate programmes. At GSM London, Emma Buckby informs, “Accounting and finance courses are popular with a number of markets, especially India, parts of Africa, Southeast Asia, Hong Kong and China.” At Kaplan Business School, Australia, meanwhile, significant numbers come from China, Pakistan, Vietnam and Latin America, says Alex Chevrolle.
For Academia International, Australia, agents are the most important recruitment channel, says Mel Koumides, with word-of-mouth and Internet advertising also important. Buckby explains, “Our international strategy is a mixture of engaging with agent networks, attendance at recruitment fairs and holding our own students seminars.” LSBF similarly uses several channels to ensure reach and diversity, says van Rooijen. Chevrolle, meanwhile, says, “The majority of our international students are recruited through our worldwide agent network, who I would like to recognise and thank for their ongoing support.”