MAcc Students Dig up Leadership Lessons at The Kelsey Museum


Archaeology and accounting may seem like a random pairing, but the new Master of Accounting class was able to unearth plenty of connections between the two at a recent visit to U-M's Kelsey Museum of Archaeology. The visit was one of the many creative, immersive, and interactive action-based learning opportunities woven throughout the Michigan Ross MAcc curriculum.  

As Kelsey Research Scientist Richard Redding explained, the origin of writing is the origin of accounting: As individuals started to specialize in particular crops or services, it became necessary to track resources.

Modern accounting may have come a long way since the days of clay tablets and papyrus, but looking at the past offers important lessons that still ring true today:

Leadership – At the museum, MAcc students considered what kind of leaders they want to be and selected artifacts that represent their values. One student selected a foot as a symbol for calm, stable leadership in an often chaotic world. 

Learning agility – Using insights from the “Less Than Perfect” exhibit, MAcc students realized the importance of learning from failure and finding value in situations that don’t go as planned. Part of the display features broken bowls that were repaired using a bright gold lacquer. Rather than trying to mask failure, it was highlighted.

Ethics – Much like accountants, museums are bound to a code of ethics. Students heard a real-life example from the Kelsey Museum of how they handled a situation regarding interesting potential artifacts whose authenticity has not been verified, so they are presented with that caveat.

But enough dredging up the past ― we’re excited for what the future holds for our new MAcc students! The museum trip was just a start, as their eight-month journey will include a plethora of experiences outside the classroom, including the Sanger Leadership Center's Impact Challenge and Crisis Challenge, and the longstanding public policy immersion via the EY Symposium.

Learn more about the MAcc Program