Is the University of Pennsylvania Accounting Program the Best of the Best?

Why would you consider the University of Pennsylvania Accounting Program over all the other great universities out there? Penn has an interesting history, a great community, and a comfortable and convenient campus.  Academics in general at the University of Pennsylvania are world class.

Planning to study accounting at Penn?  Well, technically you won’t. Students considering the University of Pennsylvania Accounting Program (or any other business concentration) apply from high school for direct admittance into The Wharton School of Business. 

And from there, undergraduate students at Wharton graduate with a B.S. in Economics.  If accounting is your desired profession, you can obtain an accounting concentration at Wharton.

Be aware, though, that only 0.2% of Wharton’s undergraduate class of 2010 entered accounting after earning their degree. 

Wharton School of Business

Founded in 1881 by Joseph Wharton, a Philadelphia industrialist with a vision for the future, Wharton is one of the best business schools in the world.  Ranked as the top U.S. undergraduate business school by U.S. News and World Report, Wharton has the largest alumni network in the country.

A business degree from Wharton is highly regarded, but not for accounting.  Wharton did not even appear on Business Week’s ranking of the top accounting schools in America.

Wharton Undergraduate – Curriculum

Wharton’s curriculum is different than many schools, offering traditional business topics such as accounting or marketing as concentrations within the economics degree.  

Wharton’s economics degree focusses on practical skills needed in a variety of business careers rather than economics theory and Wharton undergrads get a general liberal arts education with an international perspective.   Undergrads also get a taste of academic research, solving current business problems while they learn theory. 

The majority of Wharton’s undergraduate class each year enters investment banking / finance (57.2%) or management consulting (24.0%).   Perhaps this is due to the lack of a true undergraduate accounting program and Wharton’s heavy emphasis on practical economics.

Wharton Masters Program

The MBA program at Wharton allows students to select a major course of study within the core program. Of course accounting is one of the key majors, but again is not a main curricular focus.  Forbes places Wharton 4th on its list of 75 best MBA programs for 2011. 

Graduates in 2011 with an MBA from Wharton were highly sought after in Financial Services (38.54%) and Consulting (30.3%) with only a small percentage (0.48%) entering Professional Services, the reporting category including accounting.

Wharton’s MBA program has a unique learning experience based on leadership.  Each first year MBA student is assigned a Learning Team (roughly 1/4th of the class).  This model was developed at Wharton and is a key part of the MBA experience.  You explore leadership in a safe environment as faculty and your peers provide feedback and collaborate with you to develop your leadership potential.  

Wharton PhD Program

The University of Pennsylvania Accounting Program is primarily a doctorate program.  PhD degrees from Wharton don’t even carry the “Wharton School of Business” name, but instead are issued by the University of Pennsylvania.  

The accounting concentration is all about research, so if you love to investigate and problem solve, it’s the perfect place for you.

First year accounting doctoral students attend a weekly one hour faculty discussion called The Workshop Colloquium where faculty members discuss research within the department.  Students work as faculty research assistants during their first two years.

After the first two years, students begin the doctoral thesis.  Wharton students are encouraged to research topics with strong political and economic relevance. 

Wharton’s accounting community is relatively small, but is known for the quality of ideas and caliber of thought they share.  You’ll work closely with faculty and develop strong relationships, graduating as a member a select community.

Summary - The University of Pennsylvania Accounting Program

Graduates of the Wharton School of Business are highly regarded and sought after.  Admission is competitive and difficult, but the reward is worth the effort.  If your main love is accounting, however, Wharton may not be the place for you.  The focus is very much on economics and strategic financial investing with accounting taking a background, foundational role to those topics.

Life at University Of Pennsylvania

Penn is a vibrant academic community with a strong heritage and an excellent reputation.  While attending Penn, you will make connections that will last your entire career.

The University of Pennsylvania was chartered in 1755 by Benjamin Franklin.  Franklin’s ideas, similar to a modern liberal arts curriculum were controversial in a time when higher education was reserved for Christian Ministry.  Franklin believed America needed to train young people in business and leadership so they could enter government, private life, or public service and benefit society. 

From the beginning Penn was an academic leader, establishing the first American medical school in 1765 and becoming the first American institution of higher education named a university in 1779.  

For more than 250 years the University of Pennsylvania has achieved excellence in research and education and is ranked  9th on US News and World Report’s 2011 listing of The Best 400 Universities in the World.  

Colleges like The Annenberg School for Communication, The Perelman School of Medicine, Penn Law, Penn Design, and The Wharton School of Business are recognized around the world for their excellence.

Penn Alumni

Penn leadership is not just institutional, it’s personal.

  • Alumni include U.S. Supreme Court Justice William J. Brennan, Billionaire Donald Trump, and Mortimer Zuckerman, publisher and owner of the New York Daily News and Editor-In-Chief of U. S. News & World Report. 
  • University of Pennsylvania scholars have been Nobel Prize recipients 27 times for achievements in Physics, Chemistry, Medicine, and Economics. 
  • Penn Alumni are leaders in the arts as well.  Authors Norm Chomsky, Ezra Pound and Lisa Scottoline, Emmy Award winning producer Dick Wolfe (Law & Order) and Actress Elizabeth Banks (The Hunger Games) are all graduates of University of Pennsylvania.

Attending The University of Pennsylvania will challenge your leadership ability and bring out your best.

Penn’s Campus 

Of course the main reason to choose a university is academics, right?  Possibly, but the campus is equally important.  After all, you’re going to live there, work there, and play there.   Home is more than just the bricks and mortar, furniture and food.  Home is a living environment that matches your personal style and preferences. 

What are your options at Penn?

  • Do you like to make friends quickly in close quarters?  You can enjoy the traditional dorm way of life, a roommate, a shared bathroom and lots of shared space. 
  • Want some space of your own?  How about an apartment in a high rise with a magnificent view of Philadelphia and a little more privacy. 
  • Adventurous?  Live in a theme area with students of similar interests or go for a random room assignment and meet a new group of future friends.
  • Not sure what you want for dinner?  A traditional cafeteria meal plan is available, but so are food vendor carts, apartments with kitchen facilities, and restaurant chains right on campus.

Penn’s main campus is in the University City section of West Philadelphia.  It’s just across the river from the heart of the city.  Restaurants, pubs, and shopping are close enough to fill your free time.  City Center is the perfect place to grab a latte, watch the game in a pub, or just hang out.  

Outdoor & Sporting Activities at Penn

You have to enjoy yourself don’t you? You can’t be stuck behind books and the internet all day. You’ll drive yourself crazy.

  • Get out of your room!  The University of Pennsylvania is located just a few minutes from Fairmount Park, one of the largest urban park systems in the United States.  This park has it all, with over 9,200 acres there’s plenty to explore.  There are miles of trails for hiking, riding horses, or riding your mountain bike.  You can gather up friends for a game of Frisbee, grab a pole and fish off the pier, or just wander the rolling hills.
  • Play hard!  If sports are your thing, you can become a Quaker, and compete for Penn in the Ivy League.
  • Scream and shout!  Join the community and cheer the Quakers or one of Philadelphia’s many professional sports teams to victory! 

The University of Pennsylvania Accounting Program with a Global Perspective

We’re wrapping our article up with this key message. It is a tad on the philosophical side of things but Wharton deserves it. 

What is accounting with a global perspective?  It’s more than data and theory.  It’s looking at economic and social decisions based on analysis of accounting data.  The University of Pennsylvania Accounting Program is not traditional accounting, it’s leadership and decision making to impact the world.