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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato


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Master of Accounting Program hosts 1st scholarship competition

MAcc program hosts scholarship competition based on communication skills

Elizabeth Johnson - Interim Communications Director, College of Business


 Mankato, Minn. – Masters of Accounting program hosts first Scholarship Competi On January 14, 2014, the College of Business Masters of Accounting (MAcc) program hosted its first ever scholarship competition.  It would be easy to assume that lots of spreadsheets and numbers and calculations were involved, but instead, the competition was based on communication skills.

A few years ago, Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) surveyed accounting firms to find out what skill sets were most in demand for future accountants.  As it turns out, communication skills topped the list. 

Dr. Bill Brown, the director of the MAcc program, kept that well in mind as he prepared for the launch of the MAcc program in the fall of 2013.  The program emphasizes communication skills, and this scholarship competition is part of that mission.

The competition consisted of three sections, all focused on written and oral communication skills.  This included a written report, an oral presentation, an impromptu explanation of certain accounting terms, and general question and answer sessions with the judges.  The judging panel was comprised of Dennis McCormick of CliftonLarsonAllen, Scott Danger of Abdo, Eick & Meyers, and Chuck Christensen of Eide Bailly. 

There was no doubt that the MAcc students were well prepared and knowledgeable in their field, but the competition wasn’t about the numbers or the paperwork.  In order to win the top scholarship, the students had to demonstrate how they would communicate with their clients, the non-accountants.  The winner had to use layman’s terms in their written report, and offer clear and concise verbal responses.

“It’s the communication skills that separates employees as they move up the ladder,” says Scott Danger.

Chad Hess, a MAcc student in his first semester of the program was awarded the top scholarship of $2,000.  In second place, Rustam Zufarov was awarded $600, and Zhongwei Lu took third place and the $400 scholarship.  The scholarships were funded by CliftonLarsonAllen and Allen Lenzmeier, an alumnus of Minnesota State Mankato.

First place winner Chad Hess said it best when he explained that “an accountant is really an educator, a teacher.  We help people understand a complicated part of their business.”

“You’re all going to do well in this industry,” says Dennis McCormick. “That’s the exciting part.”


For more information about the Masters of Accounting program at Minnesota State University, Mankato, visit


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