Accounting, Edición 56

The Importance of Linking Universities and Companies for the Public Accounting Program

By: Ana María Díaz and Virginia Kalis

The link between universities and the business sector has become an essential component of academic programs, because it meets the objective of enriching the knowledge base by bringing students closer to practice and gives them the opportunity to join the workforce. This link aims to achieve stable and mutually beneficial relations.

Companies are increasingly pressed to survive and grow in this globalized labor market and they must find and maintain their competitive advantage.

Peter Drucker said that “the only competitive advantage that organizations have is their human capital,” because that is where knowledge lies. One of the factors in achieving and maintaining the competitive advantage of institutions is the link between business and academia. The role of universities must not be restricted to the activities of teaching and research alone.

The link between universities and the business sector has become an essential component of academic programs, because it meets the objective of enriching the knowledge base by bringing students closer to practice and gives them the opportunity to join the workforce. This link aims to achieve stable and mutually beneficial relations.

In the current economic environment, knowledge is a strategic factor for generating wealth, and knowledge is created and transmitted in the universities.

This link brings countless benefits for students who gain valuable experiences that complement their academic training. In this way a bridge is established between theory taught in the classroom and work practice.

Universities must constantly revise and update the curriculum. At this point, linkage with companies plays a crucial role, because it is essential to take into account the necessity of knowledge and skills in the labor market. It is recommended that this work on curriculum be conducted in focus groups with major employers.

One of the ways of linking companies and universities is the development of practical cases, in which there is a problem or a real situation that students must resolve. In this way, they cultivate their analytical and decision making skills.

It is essential to include in the content of the class talks or conferences with successful executives, so that they share their experience on the course subjects.

Through the established link, companies can allocate resources for the development of research and entrepreneurship of new businesses through incubators, with which they obtain the benefits of university talent.

Another form of linkage is through internship programs, in which students apply their knowledge and begin to build a network of contacts that will help them obtain employment opportunities and professional development. This system works with training programs, assigning roles, teamwork, and meetings with various business professionals. In this way, students learn and perform a basic function in a company. Generally, these practices are only carried out to integrate into the operating levels..

This first approach to the practical aspect of education allows students to make better decisions about their professional development, in addition to improving their social and communication skills, management of information technologies, time management, a sense of responsibility and teamwork. In many cases, students receive job offers from the same companies.

Internships are also an opportunity for businesses, as they establish and maintain a relationship with universities and make themselves known in the minds of the students. They communicate their needs to the universities and indirectly influence the education.

One benefit of internships for the universities is that they increase their prestige in the work world and they become attractive as providers of talent for employers.

Experience of internships for students in ITAM’s Public Accounting and Financial Strategy Department

Each year there is a Summer Internship Program in ITAM’s business school, which establishes strategic alliances with leading companies in the country that participate with defined projects

In briefings, students in the fifth semester onwards get to know the participating companies, as well as the projects, profiles and participation requirements. The students’ performances are evaluated through a process of internal selection. Those who are chosen are put in contact with the companies to be hired.

The following table compares the number of participating companies and students of the Public Accounting and Financial Strategy Department in ITAM’s Summer Internship Program from 2012 to 2015:

Fuente: M.A. Ana Ma. Díaz Bonnet

At the end of the internship period, the company evaluates the performance of each student. In general terms, companies have been very satisfied with the students. Moreover, a high percentage of the students receive an invitation to stay with the company.

Students are also asked to fill out a survey to find out their opinion of the program. More than 50% rate the results of this experience as excellent.

Each year it is found that participants acquire additional knowledge to that provided by the university. The program is a great success because the students, in addition to moving closer to the “real world” and getting work experience, can apply the experience to their studies.

A Brief Analysis of the Results by Year

Percentage of students invited to continue working

Fuente: M. A. Ana Ma. Díaz Bonnet

These are some of the comments of the participating students:

  • ” Excellent learning opportunity.”
  • ” At first I had some trouble adapting to the work environment, but they were extremely attentive and accessible. Overall, it was a very good experience. I learned a lot and I met very valuable people.”
  • ” I think it is a great opportunity to have a first approach to the formal labor market and to know one’s own preferences and skills.”
  • ” Very enriching.”
  • ” I really enjoyed working during the summer. It was a very good experience and, frankly, it changed my way of seeing things.”
  • ” An excellent way of putting knowledge into practice.”
  • ” It was very rewarding to have worked in the program, because you can decide what you like and what you don’t like. You learn a lot and you become familiar with the work environment.”
  • ” The program is an excellent way to test different areas and ultimately choose the definitive one for your professional life.”

The companies also offered their opinions, such as those that are noted below:

  • ” I have received excellent feedback from all those responsible. We are very happy with their participation.”
  • ” It was a great success.”
  • ” We were very pleased with the program and we have a good opinion of ITAM students. We would definitely like to repeat it next year.”
  • ” We ended the summer program period successfully and I would like to take the opportunity to reiterate our interest as a company and as a tax area to continue participating in this program in the future.”

In conclusion, it is necessary to raise awareness among companies about the activities of the university, as well as the possibilities and expectations of collaboration. Companies should be more open toward universities and express their needs. On the other hand, it is important to promote an entrepreneurial culture in the universities. It is necessary to strengthen joint research to make the most of the generated knowledge.


Rothman, M., “Lessons Learned: Advice to Employers from Interns”, Journal of Education for Business, 82:3, pp. 140-144.

Muhamad et al. (2009), “Undergraduate Internship Attachment in Accounting: The Interns Perspective”, International Education Studies, Vol. 2, No. 4.

Hergert, M. (2009), “Student Perceptions of the Value of Internships in Business Education”, American Journal of Business Education, Vol. 2, No. 8.

SHCP. Programa Nacional de Financiamiento del Desarrollo 2013-2018. Government of Mexico. México.

SHCP (2013). Presentación de la Reforma Financiera y Exposición de Motivos del Decreto por el que se Reforman, Adicionan y Derogan diversas disposiciones que dan origen a la Reforma Financiera.

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>