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UNC MAC = Ripoff

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New post 13 Aug 2014, 00:24
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They fudge their stats, and if you have no connections, don't attend a country club, and haven't been to 30 different countries, you're up the creek. One telltale sign: They claim that 100% of their alumni donate to the school, but i know of at least 5% of the graduating class that didn't, and they had students donate in those people's names. Business ethics in the 21st century, brah!

I'd venture most "higher" education is that way, but UNC MAC really sets the standard.
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New post 24 Sep 2014, 08:19
Are you really that unhappy with the program? What happened? I am considering them as my top choice and have heard nothing but good things, even from past graduates. One told me you're basically guaranteed a job as long as you don't do something really stupid...

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Re: UNC MAC = Ripoff  [#permalink]

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New post 24 Sep 2014, 12:52
tarheel1226 wrote:
They fudge their stats, and if you have no connections, don't attend a country club, and haven't been to 30 different countries, you're up the creek. One telltale sign: They claim that 100% of their alumni donate to the school, but i know of at least 5% of the graduating class that didn't, and they had students donate in those people's names. Business ethics in the 21st century, brah!

I'd venture most "higher" education is that way, but UNC MAC really sets the standard.



Sorry to hear about the experience so far - how is it going a month in? Are you still around or you withdrawing from the program?
I can tell you that no program/school no mater how highly ranked will be perfect. None of them are. Even the top 3 or the top 5 have issues and idiots. How idiots get in there - I have no idea, but they must be smarter than me since they figured it out.
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Re: UNC MAC = Ripoff  [#permalink]

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New post 29 Dec 2014, 12:49
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bb wrote:
tarheel1226 wrote:
They fudge their stats, and if you have no connections, don't attend a country club, and haven't been to 30 different countries, you're up the creek. One telltale sign: They claim that 100% of their alumni donate to the school, but i know of at least 5% of the graduating class that didn't, and they had students donate in those people's names. Business ethics in the 21st century, brah!

I'd venture most "higher" education is that way, but UNC MAC really sets the standard.



Sorry to hear about the experience so far - how is it going a month in? Are you still around or you withdrawing from the program?
I can tell you that no program/school no mater how highly ranked will be perfect. None of them are. Even the top 3 or the top 5 have issues and idiots. How idiots get in there - I have no idea, but they must be smarter than me since they figured it out.


I'm an alumnus, graduating near the top quarter of last year's cohort with no offer. With a 720 GMAT, no "idiot" am I. I can actually speak English (though with a Southern flair), unlike some of the graduates. I don't have a frat or country club pedigree, and I don't summer all over the world, so that could've been a dealbreaker. I used the STAR technique during behavioral questions, was reasonably social (talked about sports, travel; asked about the recruiters' experiences and advice; listened closely*).

With an online program soon gearing up, UNC diploma mill won't be any more "prestigious" than U of Phoenix! At least U of Phoenix is rather up front about their association with banksters and other rent-seekers; "public" schools like UNC are sheep in wolves clothing.

*Something half the graduating class seemed unable to do, judging from class experiences.
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New post 03 Jan 2015, 11:39
Could you give any more detail about what your experience with the recruitment process was? Maybe what kind of jobs you were interviewing for in which cities? I'm interested in the program and know that the numbers the school uses don't fully reflect the situation for graduates. At the same time, it's hard to take this very seriously when you just keep railing on fraternities and country clubs (and I don't have any connection to either).
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New post 06 Nov 2017, 18:23
As a current student in 2017 this information is still very accurate.
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New post 10 Dec 2017, 10:36
I feel the need to comment as I'm an alumnus from some years back (well within the past decade).

I'm a first-generation immigrant from a working-class background with no connections and no country club or fraternity affiliations. At that point, I had only been to one country outside the United States - the country where I was born. I still landed a Big 4 offer (actually, two Big 4 offers and one offer at a more regional firm -- I say this only to illustrate the point that my socioeconomic background did not seem to affect me at multiple firms, not just one). As far as I can tell, there are quite a few people in auditing/accounting who come from more modest backgrounds. Even if they are now partners in public accounting firms or high-level executives with a six- or even seven-figure salary, I think there's still an understanding that, for many people, this is one of the more attainable means through which upward social mobility is achieved. Therefore, I do not believe that one must be well connected to land jobs in this industry.

My question for you is: How did the class fare overall? I think that's a better assessment of the program than one-off experiences. My class did very well in terms of recruiting, and as far as I can tell, the program has a very good reputation among employers. As one user commented above, you're almost guaranteed a job as long as you don't make obvious mistakes in the recruiting process. I'm sorry that your experiences were negative. I knew a very intelligent guy in the program who was unable to land an offer when he graduated. However, he had very obvious flaws. I ended up helping him get a Big 4 offer after he graduated, but he was not able to overcome his flaws and was not promoted at that firm. He then moved to another Big 4 firm with a promotion offered as part of the move. After several years, that firm also decided not to promote him. I've often thought about my decision to help him. On the one hand, I'm happy that I was able to help him achieve what he wanted. On the other hand, the market's initial assessment of him was correct, and I only delayed the inevitable by several years.

Have you considered the possibility that perhaps your inability to land a job had more to do with you than with the program?

Lastly, I don't know enough about statistics fudging to comment on that. I do know that the program takes pride in the high participation rate of giving from students, but what school doesn't?
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New post 14 Jan 2019, 11:08
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I'll give my anecdotal experiences with the program. If it's too long to read, the summary is that you should avoid attendance there.

For reference, my class size was a little under 140. By the time graduation rolled around, I think we were down to about 120. They say 9x% graduate with a job offer. They sell you on Big 4 positions and networking. You're drinking the kool-aid and being brainwashed from Day One. What they don't tell you is that, even as few as 5 years later, over 80% of those same students have either switched jobs 2-4+ times or have applied to further higher education programs, either for an MBA or for another masters program. Talk about racking up the student loan debt. Over 15% of the starting class either dropped or flunked out, with no refunds offered (in essence, paying >$50,000 for an "education" that could have been learned for free online, but since you don't receive a degree, none of it can be applied to a CPA, etc.). I know you probably read that quickly, but let the facts of the 1) job instability after your first contract is over and 2) the forced grade distribution is designed so that at least 10% of each starting class will flunk out, sink in for a moment. Over 80% of the people I know got fired from, laid off from, or left their "prestigious Big 4" position after 1 or 2 years only to bounce around the job market earning more or less the same amount of money for many, many years afterwards. It is honestly shocking to browse through my LinkedIn and see my past colleagues only holding down jobs for 6-9 months before moving onto the next job. They might as well be temp-workers. And this is in a job market of peak unemployment where the candidate is favored! Their statistics are heavily manipulated, probably would make Bernie Madoff blush. The reason why more people don't speak out against it is because they don't want to tarnish their own reputation by admitting that their business school is a cesspool and are too embarrassed to admit to other people that they "failed" in their jobs. Listen, you didn't fail, it's just how corrupted the system is now -- it should not be acceptable to force people to work investment banking hours as a public accountant -- you're in essence earning minimum wage in most parts of the country without realizing it because you're "salaried", the new term for exploiting an employee by overworking them with no paid overtime. More anecdotes -- The people that I use to know that still work at Big 4 companies use to have vibrant social media profiles. They're now ghost towns. You're kidding yourself if you believe any of those people have actual "work-life balance" -- just look into their eyes to see the truth.

I'll also speak about other aspects of the program that are egregious. I would wager at least half of the program attended Kenan-Flagler as an undergraduate business major. Unless you attended Kenan-Flagler as an undergraduate business major, you are at a significant disadvantage for pretty much the entire program. You see, recent business school undergrads entering the MAC program are interning in the summer, scooping up many of those coveted job offers before the program has even started. You're already fighting for limited employment slots before you have even signed your student loan documentation! No wonder the program tries to keep students bifurcated from one another; it's like two class systems, either you were an undergrad business major or you weren't. Students who were not affiliated as an undergrad at Kenan-Flagler have to spend the summer enrolling in "pre-requisites" that, conveniently, all of the undergrads have already completed in their curriculum. Those undergrads that are many years out that have to re-take courses are essentially taking the same course as they did in the past, thus already have an unfair advantage. If anyone has ever taken a summer course, they know how easy it is to become burnt out. Imagine the summer component of the MAC program as that, but on steroids. You basically don't leave the premises of the school with how much studying and class attendance is required.

Then, going into recruiting season, half of the program already have job offers and can focus strictly on academics, while the other half of the program is trying to keep their grades up while also juggling a plethora of meet-and-greets (which are basically required attendance if you want a job; networking, and each last for several hours), interviewing, etc. Good luck trying to make anything above a P, not because you're not intelligent, but because half the program has at least a 50 hour head start while their undergrad major has prepped them on how to game their school's tests (more on this later, but the curriculum is basically just an extension of the courses taken in undergrad).

The professors and curriculum. Oh, Christ. Let's not even talk about how one of the professors actively tries to sleep with his female students and incredulously actually shows up to bars and parties to flirt with them, sends them emails on their Kenan-flager email, etc. Makes even Harvey Weinstein blush. The professors are largely insensitive and talentless, truth be told. Don't let their accolades fool you -- Jana Raedy, in particular, can't go a lecture without mentioning that she's an EY scholar, yet teaches from the book, using the included powerpoint slides and test banks. I remember one situation in particular where students actually approached her regarding a test question, she had no idea how to answer it, and she had to embarrassingly apologize as she eventually discovered that it was an error in the test bank. The curriculum is not intellectually stimulating in the slightest. It is basically undergrad business round 2, slightly more challenging, not because of the content, but because everyone is trying to avoid that elusive L that will result in their forced withdrawal from the program. Everyone studies so that they are not one of the people in the bottom that get arbitrarily kicked out each year. This is because every course has a forced distribution of 10% L's that are assigned on a percentage basis, not a grade threshold. For example, if 90% of the program makes above, say, a 90, then you can receive an L for getting an 89. If you receive 2 L's in the program, you're out. Only in this program can you perform at the B/B+ level and still be booted from the program -- which is why employers barely even look at your grades when making the hiring decision (as I discussed above, this is further evidenced by the fact that half the students receive job offers before even having taken a single course; they could graduate in the bottom 10% and still not jeopardize their job offers at the Big 4). I should also mention that no concept of academic probation exists here. There is actually zero support available for any struggling student, no matter the circumstances that are affecting them at the moment. Considering that at the end of the day, you're a customer -- exchanging your money for their product/service, education -- it is actually pretty comical how they treat you. I'm still over $50,000 in debt from this program yet I still receive donation requests at least 4 times a year. As an aside, I think I would have been strictly better off just using my bachelors and moving up in a company, instead of attending this program that truthfully has made me worse off in life. This is even coming from someone who had job offers with EY, etc. As I alluded to above, the program likes to keep those who attended undergrad at their business school away from those who didn't. You're treated like a second-class citizen if you didn't attend undergrad there. You're even forced into learning teams that are "diversified", but truly this could not be further from the truth. My learning team had 2 people my age that were (failed) college athletes and were dumb as bricks. The fact they had undergrad degrees in business from Kenan-Flagler is truly a testament to how corrupted the system is (if you're a college athlete, it's basically automatic acceptance -- because teamwork) specifically with respect to grade-inflation.

Culture. Everything stated in the above post is true from my experiences. If you're from an impoverished, 'lesser', or 'different' socioeconomic background, you're going to be walking around like you have the scarlet letter "A" tattooed on your forehead. It's also shocking how sexist and political the environment is throughout, from the education to the recruiting (here's a fun drinking game: take a shot for every 'pretty girl' or 'frat-star' Deloitte hires and then consequently retains despite their actual talent or performance). It's a culture that celebrates country clubs, etc., which is ironic as the vast majority of graduates won't experience that kind of lifestyle for 20+ years, if ever. A lot of the pompous individuals have inheritance, trust funds, etc. This attitude is especially true from those of upper middle class backgrounds (parents making $100,000/year in NC, for example, acting as if they're Jeff Bezos).

Their marketing material says that you'll make over $50k starting, and within 5 years can make $100k. They really like to embellish how attainable a C-suite job/upward mobility in public accounting is. Holy crap, what a hoot. It would be comical if it weren't so criminal. You reasonably don't hit 6 figures until after years 10-15, as you (and this is a big if, if you can stick around that long) move into senior manager. Even working in NYC, where the cost of living (not to mention taxes, etc.) is easily double Charlotte, you don't hit ~$78k until years 4-6 as a senior associate. If you stay in low cost of living areas, you're making between 50k-60k for your first 3 or 4 years. In Charlotte, even as a senior associate (4-6 years), I believe you make between $58k and $65k. They like to sell you on the dream (the lottery ticket) because being a partner can start around $400k and move quickly into $600k-$850k. What they don't tell you is that the odds are heavily skewed against you, and only getting worse as time moves forward (less partner turnover, more time required at each promotion, reduced wages). No wonder the "smart" ones left the industry so that they could teach accounting to you!

Don't get me wrong, there is a lot of good and positives there as well, but I'd estimate it at about 15%-20% positive, 85%-80% negative.
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Re: UNC MAC = Awesome CPA Preparedness and Comment from Student  [#permalink]

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New post 02 Apr 2019, 12:52
I am an upcoming graduate from the UNC MAC program. I came from an accounting background at a different, but comparable out of state school business program. I just want to address some of the concerns from the previous post regarding topics discussed from someone who worked hard and successfully is about to complete the program.

I did not participate in the structured recruiting process, but I know several students on campus (and online) who completed the process and secured full time positions at Big 4 firms that I was lucky to intern at before I started the program. People complaining about the extra workload of interviewing with classes going on forget that students that received offers prior to the MAC program had to interview, attend undergrad business classes, and some of us were applying to graduate schools and taking the GMAT. Yes it's a lot, but everyone has had to do it at some point, across all disciplines in the business school undergraduate and graduate. They place a lot of students at Big Four and do have high numbers, but this is all relative to these companies. I received an offer from all Big Four firms and several regional firms but because I have great prior job experience, references, and was regarded as a candidate that the teams were excited to work with. A high GPA does not guarantee a job, this work is difficult and these companies are looking for *personable* team members. I know plenty of students who never take lead on projects, are more reserved on teams, and I personally would not prefer to work with them either so I was not as surprised.

In terms of academics, the HP/P/LP/F scale is a university scale for most graduate programs at Carolina. I have only received a few HPs, mostly passes with B/C averages in those courses. The coursework for the majority of the MAC classes is very rigorous, so if someone received a low pass and were in that lower 10% threshold, it was not because they were receiving mostly B's on exams and coursework, they were mostly likely barely hanging on their entire semester. Accounting is hard, but the plus is that having successfully passed two parts of the CPA (FAR and REG) I can say that program fully prepares you for FAR (I was waived from tax courses at UNC so cant speak for REG). I got to focus more on working actual problems than memorizing steps and methods and concepts.

Lastly I'd like to touch on the comments about the inaccuracy of the salary projections. It's important to keep in mind these numbers include the online sections, which include many seasoned industry professionals looking to switch from a lower salary to a higher salary, but enter the accounting profession with no experience and are upset about entry level salaries. This is not a fault of the program, and if this is what leads to a student being upset for their salary that is on them for ignoring the main crowd that a Masters of Accounting program is designed to serve. As for numbers, my **ENTRY LEVEL** salary at a Big Four firm in NYC sits at about 62,000 with a 5,000 CPA bonus upon passing in the first year. Not crazy high but comfortable for a 23 year old to live off with a small car loan to payback. Well above their average for salary after program (I think is 52,000?), but the cost of living in North Carolina is significantly less than NYC so yes the pay will be less. Senior pay after 3 years is around 85,000, and manager pay after 6 years is about 125,000. Pretty standard for areas with highest costs of living. This is a more expensive program but it has great career services benefits, the professors are a good mix of seasoned academics as well as prior industry leaders, and the age/demographic is more diverse than many accounting programs. The price in state and out of state is comparable to UVA and UF, which are similarly ranked B-schools. A MAC degree is not the magic fix for those looking to shift careers, it is a step into an industry, but will require at least some work to secure a good entry level job, a 4 part CPA pass, and stable employment. As for the high turnover mentioned earlier, hate to break it to people but Big 4 is rigorous and those that can't handle those hours and pressure quickly move out of it. It's a lifestyle, and I can say that the UNC MAC program had little to do with their decision to move in and out of jobs, given that to be honest working public audit you use a very small % of what you learn in academia anyways. The UNC MAC program successfully prepares those who work hard and study hard in their courses for passing the ~CPA~, which is an automatic segway into the profession.

I had a great experience, but like I mentioned you get what you put into it. It is not an automatic fix to your employment issues, and certainly will not move someone above tax rates if they are just not breaking into the profession 10+ years after finishing undergrad. That's just reality across all Master of Accounting programs.
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Re: UNC MAC = Ripoff  [#permalink]

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New post 10 Jul 2019, 17:57
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I'd be interested in hearing your opinion a year or two out. Because you're still so close to it, you're still heavily biased by the propaganda and illusion. I'll address some of your arguments as concisely as I can.

You 'did not participate in the structured recruiting process' which invalidates most of your testimony, to be honest. I already clearly established that this program offers attainable means to get your foot in the door at Big 4, regional, etc., firms. That was never a criticism of mine. Rather, my critiques actually highlighted many of the advantages that you admitted to, which has the consequence of bifurcating the program into a two-class system. Mainly, some candidates can cheat the entry restrictions. Isn't it a bit illogical and hypocritical that the program doesn't accept you if you have too many accounting credits, but comically ignores any BUSI courses that are accounting-focused? They market their program as being pro non-traditional backgrounds, but the program clearly favors undergraduate business alumni, specifically those who graduated from Kenan-Flagler. Many of these advantages you even alluded to yourself, like having an accounting background before attending the program and already having an internship with the Big 4 before you even started the program. I wonder, did you basically already have a job offer with the Big 4 firm that you interned with? If so, this was yet another one of my criticisms -- that job slots are unavailable to basically half the program before it has even began and that the education/grades/performance themselves are largely irrelevant and arbitrary to receiving a job offer (it's not a meritocracy in the slightest). Clearly since many people have an academic/time legup on others due to this inequality, that marginal difference becomes even more exacerbated during recruiting season. It makes it particularly painful to see people flunk out due to the arbitrary grade curve, given so many people are playing by different sets of rules. In all honestly, you're so content with your experience because you were a member of the half of the program that couldn't fail. The other half didn't fair as well or have it so easy. Your quick dismissal of the impact that skipping recruiting time obligations and the multitude of workload advantages, for example, that result, is particularly egregious. I'd only recommend this program to people with similar profiles as yourself -- basically, people who are privileged enough to bypass some if not all of the summer bootcamp phase and have a way to facilitate the time obligations during recruiting season (which basically half the program do by essentially already having job offers via summer internships).

My criticisms were not over entry level salaries for experienced professionals. They were over the inaccurate salary projections that the program markets, chiefly how they advertise that their alumni will be making over 6 figures as little as 5 years out. That is a heavily manipulated ROI figure which quite simply just isn't true. If anything, it is the exception under specific and rare conditions and certainly not the rule (you would need to 1) be a rockstar, moving from associate to manager as fast as possible 2) be in a high COL area like NYC which supports the salary range and 3) be in the highest paid divisions, like advisory or EVS, NOT in auditing/tax). As I mentioned previously, the cost of living is different which causes the salary difference per region. $62k in NYC is higher than the $52k average because the vast majority of alumni stay in low cost of living areas which bring the average down. Even if you wanted to pick a high COL/salary area like NYC, I know for a fact that your future earnings figures are wrong, as one of my immediate family members is going on year 5 as a Senior in Manhattan for a Big 4 company and earns $78k. He's still another ~2 years away from making manager, and is the only person left from his entire starting class that is still with the firm. From conversations with him, this is true basically across the board. So, no, even in NYC, you're not making $125k at year 6 as an auditor. You're not breaching $100k in NYC until possibly years 7-9 (as a manager), and in cheaper COL areas, you're probably not breaking six figures until after year 10, when/if you hit senior manager. The reality of this time horizon is over a 100% increase from UNC's marketing materials, which could easily materially affect someone's ROI calculations, especially if they are joining the program in their 30s and not early 20s. Most people leave public for private for a better work/life balance and higher pay, but even the raise doesn't exceed ~$5k-$10k.

Once you start factoring in the risk of drop-out/flunk-out rate without refund, job insecurity, income volatility, forbearing employment for a year, student loans, etc., you can see how many people could be strictly better off by pursuing a different program/career or even staying at their present job. And just so no one thinks that I am biased by being bitter or jaded in some way, I earn ~$135k/year in Manhattan, doing a completely unrelated job/career (during this same time period, the best of my peers (read: rockstars) have made it to first year managers, but the vast majority of my peers remain at the Senior level at various public/private companies). Worth mentioning is that in absolutely no way did my experiences with the program, program's connections, or anything else affiliated with the MAC program at Carolina assist in this placement, nor do I use the education that I received at Kenan-Flagler in any professional way (read: CPA) whatsoever.
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Re: UNC MAC = Ripoff   [#permalink] 10 Jul 2019, 17:57
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