When JK Aier, associate professor of accounting, became the area chair, he wanted to get in touch with accounting alumni. He found that after graduation, Mason accounting students seldom stay in touch with their alma mater, even though more than 70 percent of them work in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area.
“I felt that we need to be proactive instead of waiting for them to reach out to us. Mason@ takes Mason accounting to where our alumni are,” says Aier.
Aier views Mason@ as the first step toward connecting with alumni and friends of Mason, sharing accomplishments, and renewing Patriot pride. The events are organized during late afternoons or evenings at the participating firm’s office, which makes it convenient for alumni and friends to stop by and meet with the accounting faculty. So far, three events Mason@ Deloitte, Mason@EY, and Mason@Kearney&- Company—have been organized since the idea took off in 2018.
“It is the best way to find out what is going on at Mason as well as discover fellow work colleagues with Mason connections,” Aier says. “We want to extend this endeavor to more firms so that we can reintroduce ourselves and let them know how the accounting program, the School of Business, and Mason as a whole have grown over the years.” When Aier and the faculty visit the firms, they highlight academic programs like the MS in accounting and various graduate certificates, like those in forensic accounting, government accounting, and accounting analytics, as well as student success initiatives like Mason MINDS, a mentorship program for accounting students.
“Once alumni start their jobs, they realize how useful their Mason degree is and how beneficial the educational experience was. Mason@ gives them an opportunity to communicate that back and reinforce what we are doing successfully. We love to hear their personal stories and celebrate their success.”
“These are initiatives that alumni get excited by,” says Aier. “It is an introduction to explore ways to support Mason and future accounting professionals, as well as a reminder of why Mason remains one of the largest accounting programs in the region.”