‘Bold Starts Here’
UHD Accounting Students, Meet Grant Thornton
By Laura Wagner
“Bold” is not often used to describe the field of accounting. But thanks to UHD partner Grant Thornton, a global tax accounting, audit, and advisory services firm, it soon will be—at least for UHD’s accounting graduates.
Grant Thornton’s message to students is “Make your future bolder,” a philosophy that includes providing students with opportunities for development and real-world work experiences.
That message dovetails with UHD’s new strategic plan, which challenges the University to find and align with community partners like Grant Thornton. Such partnerships will help UHD students move between the classroom and the working world “as experiential and service learners, as interns, and as worker learners.”
Grant Thornton started its outreach to students during Week of Welcome. As the sole sponsor of Taco Tuesday at the Marilyn Davies College of Business (MDCOB), the firm sent employee representatives to hand out swag and talk with students openly about opportunities in the accounting field and what it’s like to work at Grant Thornton.
“The Grant Thornton employees, who visited campus, represented a diverse group of CPA candidates, being young and first-generation college graduates. For our students to see these working professionals who they have so much in common with shows our students this is an achievable career goal,” said Dr. Marilyn Dement, Assistant Director, Graduate Studies, adding, “Success is entirely possible. And Grant Thornton is a partner that can help them achieve it.”
Students have two upcoming opportunities to meet Grant Thornton representatives on campus:
- MDCOB Accounting & Finance Career & Internship Fair: Noon - 4 p.m., Friday, Sept. 23, Academic Building, A300 Special Events Center (One Main St., Suite A300 Houston, TX 77002). Students interested in full-time and intern positions as well as those interested in learning more about Grant Thornton (and getting swag!) are invited to attend.
- Lunch & Learn: 11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 20, Marilyn Davies College of Business, B119 (Shea Street Building Houston, TX 77002). For the second consecutive year, MDCOB has invited Donna Hiller (right) to speak with students on campus. Hiller is the Director of Qualifications with the Texas State Board of Public Accountancy (TSBPA), the agency that oversees the certified public accountancy (CPA) exam. This event is a rare opportunity for students to hear directly from the TSBPA about the requirements for sitting for the CPA exam. Grant Thornton will sponsor the lunch and will be on hand to speak with students about how the firm can help them attain the TSBPA requirements.
“The combined expertise of the TSBPA, a public agency, with representatives from the accounting industry is an incredible chance for our students to obtain valuable information about how to become a CPA,” said Dement. “Students have classroom experience and knowledge, but to take that knowledge into the real world and become a professional, particularly to become a CPA, involves very specific actions, such as working a certain number of hours under a CPA. Grant Thornton can help students and graduates achieve those goals through internships or employment.”
Grant Thornton also provides two types of student support pre-graduation: growth programs and internships.
Growth programs offer an opportunity to try out various parts of the business and are aimed at freshmen and sophomores of historically underrepresented groups who are on a five-year track. In addition to traditional bachelor’s and master’s degrees in accounting, UHD offers this type of five-year track, which allows students to complete both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in five years by adding 30 credit hours of upper-level accounting courses during their fifth year. The extra 30 hours earn students Master of Professional Accountancy degree and, with 150 credit hours total, graduates of the program are qualified to sit for the CPA exam in Texas. (Fifth-year scholarships are available. Interested students should contact Dr. Dement at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.)
Internships offer students in undergraduate and graduate programs real-world skills and experiences tailored to a service line, multi-level coaching and mentoring, social events, leadership development, and community service projects that help students gain knowledge and relationships to advance their careers. Internships are available nationwide. Graduates interested in pursuing a CPA license who are hired by Grant Thornton are eligible for study assistance, mentoring, and passing bonuses.
“Grant Thornton understands the challenges UHD students face and is actively seeking to help them succeed. They are invested in supporting our accounting students not only because they need accountants and auditors, but because they believe UHD graduates bring unique life experiences to the workplace that benefit everyone,” said Dement. “The Grant Thornton partnership is an example of the University’s commitment to student success and to becoming an Anchor Institution in Houston."
Dement added, “Our students are earning a degree in a field that’s in great demand—accounting can be quite a lucrative career path. With the help of partners like Grant Thornton, UHD students can step into their careers credentialed and prepared to lead.”
The University of Houston-Downtown (UHD) is the second-largest university in Houston and has served the educational needs of the nation’s fourth-largest city since 1974. As one of four distinct public universities in the University of Houston System, UHD is a comprehensive, four-year university led by President Loren J. Blanchard. Annually, UHD educates approximately 14,000 students, boasts more than 66,000 alumni, and offers 45 bachelor’s degrees, 12 master’s degrees, and 19 online programs within four colleges: Marilyn Davies College of Business, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, College of Public Service, and College of Sciences and Technology. UHD has one of the lowest tuition rates in Texas.
U.S. News and World Report ranked UHD among the nation’s Best Online Bachelor’s Programs for Applied Administration and Best Online Master’s Programs in Criminal Justice, as well as a Top Performer in Social Mobility. The Wall Street Journal/College Pulse ranked UHD one of the best colleges in the U.S. for its 2024 rankings, with notable distinctions: No. 1 for diversity (tied) and No. 3 for student experience. The University is designated as a Hispanic-Serving Institution, a Minority-Serving Institution, and a Military Friendly School. For more information on the University of Houston-Downtown, visit uhd.edu.