SOUTHFIELD — International experience has become ever more important for accounting majors who want to compete in a global marketplace. To support study abroad programs, the Detroit office of Grant Thornton LLP has launched a scholarship fund at Michigan State University for students in the Department of Accounting and Information Systems.

“Michigan State has become a vital provider of talent to the firm, and we wanted to give potential recruits from MSU an opportunity to study abroad and build a strong foundation of knowledge about the global economy,” said Vincent Tomkinson, managing partner of Grant Thornton’s Detroit office. “Many of our clients rely on us to help with their worldwide business growth, and we need the people we hire to have a deep understanding of cultures and business practices from South America to Asia Pacific and many places in between. This scholarship provides MSU students an international learning experience that’s fast becoming a prerequisite for employers.”

Nearly two-thirds of Grant Thornton’s campus hires in its Detroit office have come from Michigan State during the last two years, and MSU’s strong accounting program feeds Grant Thornton offices across the country.

“The experiences I gained through the study abroad proved invaluable in the development of skills needed to serve multinational clients in an increasingly global marketplace,” said Geoff Wait, a Grant Thornton senior associate and Michigan State alumnus who participated in the accounting study abroad program in May 2010. “The visits to various sites during the trip exposed me to different cultures and business environments and provided perspective, which helped to prepare me for my career at Grant Thornton.”

In the next five years, Grant Thornton will establish a $175,000 fund at Michigan State, where the Eli Broad College of Business’ Department of Accounting and Information Systems is home to one of the nation’s top accounting programs. The fund will support the study abroad program, as well as scholarships on campus.

“Acquiring substantive international exposure is no longer just desirable for accounting graduates, but a necessity to be competitive and successful,” said Sanjay Gupta, chair of the Department of Accounting and Information Systems at MSU. “At Michigan State we embraced this challenge three years ago and launched an experiential study abroad program. Grant Thornton’s financial commitment to support our initiative will enable more of our students to gain this vital advantage. We are extremely grateful for this support.”

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