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Interview with Industry: Keeping Pace With the Marketplace

July 2015

Featuring:

Rebecca Sproul, Audit Partner & National Managing Partner, University Relations and Recruiting
KPMG LLP
>See Sproul's bio


Facilitated by Lee Davidson, Senior Associate Copywriter/Editor, AACSB International

How has your passion for education—and your career experiences—influenced your decision to be part of AACSB's Business Practices Council?

Sproul: One of my many roles at KPMG is that of a National Instructor. In this role I facilitate numerous leadership and technical courses for our employees, which allows me a firsthand look at what is needed in today’s business environment. I wanted to bring this knowledge and experience to the Business Practice Council to assist in identifying and promoting the skills students need to succeed.

What do you hope or envision the Business Practices Council can achieve that will support business school innovation and engagement?

Sproul: Today’s enterprises are complex. Business models are continuously changing. The demands of customers and other stakeholders are evolving rapidly. I would like to see the Business Practice Council provide direction that helps business schools understand these needs and foster innovation along these lines.

Are there any challenges facing global business today that could be better approached through a partnership with academe?

Sproul: A global organization is impacted by economic, social, technological, and political factors, which are different in every country. That is why it is important that business students have a global mindset. In my experience, the degree of global perspective varies greatly among colleges and universities. Academe must continue to align its coursework with the needs of businesses. As companies update their processes and procedures in response to the changing marketplace, so should academic institutions change their programs and curriculums to meet the demands of employers.

What are the three most important things institutions must do now in order to remain relevant to industry—both now, and well into the future?

Sproul: In my opinion, institutions need to do the following:

1. continue to emphasize communications skills, both oral and written;
2. further develop the critical thinking and problem-solving skills of its students; and
3. enhance the IT systems skills of students while understanding the technologies businesses are using.

What is the one piece of advice you would give graduate students as they pursue business education?

Sproul: Take charge of your career. Understand the expected skill set for your dream job, and choose the degree that best aligns with that goal. Don’t work backward by getting a degree and then figuring out what job you can get with that degree.



Rebecca Sproul Bio

Becky is an audit partner in the Miami office of KPMG. She has more than 21 years of experience providing financial statement and internal control audit services, as well as performance improvement advisory services to financial services and software clients.

Becky is primarily responsible for planning and managing financial statement audits for publicly and privately held companies, reviewing SEC filings, researching accounting technical issues, while also managing and developing engagement personnel. She has worked on numerous debt and equity offerings and is an employee benefit plan resource partner as well as a KPMG national instructor for audit methodology and leadership courses.

During the summer of 2013 Becky was named National Managing Partner, University Relations and Recruiting. In this role, she is responsible for KPMG’s national recruiting strategy and execution, including faculty relations.

Becky holds both an MBA and bachelor's degree in accounting from Florida International University. She is a member of the AICPA and is a licensed CPA in Florida and Puerto Rico. Active in her community, Becky is an audit committee member of the United Way of Miami-Dade and a board member of Our Kids of Miami-Dade/Monroe.



Interview with Industry is eNEWSLINE's article series designed to introduce the members of AACSB's Business Practices Council (BPC) to our membership. The BPC serves as a collaborative partnership for an ongoing, sustainable relationship between the business community and business schools at the management education industry level. Contributors share candid thoughts on the importance of aligning management education with effective business practices.