MBA in Fraud & Forensic Accounting
While many corporate fraud scandals have shaken the world, recent technological advances have made financial crime easier to detect and prosecute. A degree in accounting can help individuals track the financial and operational health of a company, but a master of business administration (MBA) with a focus on forensic accounting can arm these professionals with the technological and analytical skills to tackle financial crime.
Fraud management programs provide students with data-driven decision making skills, investigative techniques, and an in-depth understanding of how technology can prevent fraud. Students also gain advanced auditing and assurance skills in forensic auditing, ethics, assurance for IT and e-commerce, and legal liability. Outside of these programs’ focus on forensic accounting, an MBA more broadly strengthens a person’s knowledge of core business fundamentals such as economic principles, finance, marketing, and management.
These programs can open several avenues for students in the public and private sectors, including opportunities auditing, research, litigation support, and dispute resolution. The holistic nature of these programs makes them ideal for candidates pursuing leadership positions in any industry. Additionally, a degree of this type, which covers various topics such as law, accounting, business processes, and fraud management, immediately sets candidates apart in a competitive job market.
Several industries are particularly susceptible to financial fraud and thus are more in need of qualified professionals. These industries include the banking, telecommunications, retail, insurance, and financial services sectors. However, students interested in the public sector can pursue roles in the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) or the US Postal Service. Upon completion of an MBA in this concentration, candidates may qualify for the Certified Fraud Examiner or Certified Public Accountant exams.
This guide explores several online MBA programs in fraud management and forensic accounting and three exceptional faculty members from their respective schools.
Featured Online MBA Programs with Fraud & Forensic Accounting Specialties
Utica College offers an online MBA in economic crime and fraud management that prepares students to tackle complex technology projects and prevent fraud. The program dives into the tools and technology used to detect corporate crime, as well as vital business skills such as analytical thinking and decision making based on data and financial models. While GMAT scores are not required for admission, prospective students must have a 3.0 GPA in their undergraduate studies, as well as two to three years of professional work experience to apply. The curriculum is broken down into three types of courses: business core courses (18 credits), economic crime core courses (nine credits), and electives (three credits). Some of the fraud-specific courses included in the program are management for fraud prevention and detection, legal and regulatory issues for fraud management, and information and communication security. Business strategy and leadership courses include financial reporting and analysis, advanced financial management, and quantitative analysis for management. This program aims to prepare students for positions in management, technology and risk, and fraud examination and investigation. After completing the program, students may qualify for the CFE exam through the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE). The degree can be completed in two years through the program’s flexible and online format. Students are not required to attend any on-campus residencies.
|Location: Utica, New York|
|Accreditation: Association of Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialists (ACAMS), International Association of Law Enforcement Intelligence Analysts (IALEIA), Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP)|
|Tuition: $650 per credit-hour|
|Program length: 24 months of part-time study|
American University’s Kogod School of Business offers an online MBA program with a concentration in finance that lays the groundwork for students to take up essential roles in governance, corporate finance, and risk management. The online programs start in October, January, April, and July. GMAT and GRE scores are not required for admission. Kogod also offers an introductory “Bridge to Business” course for students who come from a liberal arts background or any other non-quantitative field and need to learn real-world business concepts and quantitative tools before beginning the MBA program. The 48-credit curriculum includes many core business courses such as business law, ethics and governance, managerial economics, strategic thinking for decisions, and managerial statistics. Students that select finance as their concentration can opt for courses such as forensic accounting, financial statement analysis, business intelligence, and investment analysis and portfolio management. A distinctive feature of this program is that students attend at least two three- or four-day immersions, one for each year of the program. In these immersions, students work closely with professors and classmates outside of the online environment. They also enjoy the opportunity of hear from business leaders and soak in the local culture of their host city: Chicago, Madrid, Beijing, or Washington, DC.
|Location: Washington DC|
|Accreditation: Association of Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB International)|
|Format: Online with two immersions|
|Tuition: $1,642 per credit|
|Program length: 15 months|
An MBA in accounting from Indiana Tech focuses on two fields: fraud examination and government and non-profit accounting. Prospective students with a GPA of at least 2.5 and two years of significant work experience can apply to this program. The accounting-specific courses include communication for accountants, fraud examination, and government and not-for-profit accounting. The program also includes six credits of CPA review from Becker Professional Education, preparing students for the exam. Students develop an in-depth understanding of forensic accounting procedures and learn how to detect and prevent specific types of fraud. In addition to preparing students to investigate fraud, the program also consists of core courses in managerial economics, financial management, business statistics, and business law. The program opens doors to leadership roles at the FBI or the US Postal Inspector Service.
|Location: Fort Wayne, Indiana|
|Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission, International Accreditation Council for Business Education (IACBE)|
|Tuition: $515 per credit|
|Program length: 15 to 24 months|
This MBA program offered by Texas A&M University in Corpus Christi, Texas has a concentration in accounting and aims to prepare students for leadership and strategic positions. The 36-credit program is open for those who have completed intermediate coursework in accounting at the undergraduate level and can be completed in one year. Students are required to submit GMAT or GRE scores and a GPA of at least 3.0. GMAT scores may be waived for special cases. The program has a strong emphasis on accounting, along with economics, organizational behavior, and operations management. The concentration portion of the program includes courses in forensic accounting, taxes and business strategy, advanced auditing and assurance services, and oil, gas, and energy accounting. Students learn methodologies and techniques for detecting occupational fraud, conducting investigations, and preparing investigation reports. They also get a complete education in fraud auditing, assurance services for IT and e-commerce, and basic principles of oil and gas accounting. After the program, students can pursue careers in forensic accounting, auditing management, financial analysis, and financial reporting management. The course also prepares students for the CPA exam.
|Location: Corpus Christi, Texas|
|Accreditation: Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB International)|
|Tuition: $14,776.44 for the full program|
|Program length: One year|
Professors to Know in Online MBA in Fraud & Forensic Accounting Programs
Gary J. Colbert, PhD, University of Colorado, Denver
Dr. Gary Colbert is the director of accounting at the University of Colorado in Denver. His expertise lies in auditing, financial reporting, and managerial accounting and control. He is also a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), although currently inactive. In his extensive teaching career, he has taught at universities around the world, such as the University of Kentucky, the University of Auckland, and the University of Oregon. Some of the courses he teaches at the University of Colorado, Denver include entrepreneurship, advanced auditing theory, and intermediate financial accounting. He has received several grants for his research as well as many awards for his teaching excellence. Dr. Colbert earned his doctorate and master's degree in accounting from the University of Oregon and graduated with a bachelor's degree in psychology from California State University. His research has appeared in prominent journals such as the Journal of Regulatory Economics and the Journal of Cost Management.
Stephanie R. Nesbitt, Utica College
Stephanie Nesbitt teaches risk management and insurance (RMI) at Utica College and is the director of the school's fraud management MBA and RMI programs. She has 18 years of work experience as a practicing attorney and risk manager and is a member of the New York State Bar Association and the American Society of Hospital Risk Managers. She has given talks on the impact of risk management on healthcare quality, insurance cost allocation methods, and team accountability to improve healthcare at many industry conferences. Nesbitt earned her MBA from Syracuse University, her doctorate of law from the University of Buffalo, and her bachelor's degree in speech communication from Ithaca College.