The University’s Microsoft Dynamics 365 coursework gives students a competitive edge — and often, job offers — even before they graduate.
While students and their parents are anxious about picking the right majors to land jobs, there are too few college graduates with the necessary coursework to fill all the open Microsoft Dynamics consulting positions. Recognizing an opportunity, Professor of Accounting Dr. Mary Kay Copeland developed a four-course graduate offering and entry-level boot camp to help close the gap.
Microsoft Dynamics 365 is an enterprise system that companies use to manage operations such as accounting, purchasing and payroll. Eighteen students who sought jobs after completing the coursework or boot camp found consulting positions with Microsoft Dynamics implementation partners, Copeland said.
Templeton & Company, DXC Eclipse, Tribridge, eLogic, PowerObjects, AKA Consulting, The PA Group and Software Solutions Group have hired students. Employers often start the hiring process a year before students graduate because there is such a shortage of qualified professionals, Copeland said. In 2015, the Microsoft Dynamics Academic Alliance reported there were 5,000 new jobs going unfilled each year.
“That is what made us decide to start filling the gap,” said Copeland, who was previously a partner in a Microsoft Dynamics consulting practice.
The University offers a four-course concentration in enterprise systems in its Master of Business Administration and Master of Accountancy programs. Students from any university are invited to take the graduate courses, which are available online. Coursework includes both theoretical concepts and hands-on learning in Microsoft Dynamics 365. Copeland also offers recurring entry-level boot camps.
Templeton & Company hired Estella Hartner as a consultant this spring, before she graduated with her MBA with a concentration in enterprise systems.
“It enhanced my current abilities. It gave me a broader and more in-depth understanding of Microsoft Dynamics,” Hartner said of the concentration coursework. “It gives you an excellent foundation.”
Microsoft partners have told Copeland they will take as many graduates as she recommends, based on the graduates’ affiliation with the coursework and the partners’ satisfaction with previous hires.
Students passed certification exams before or soon after being hired, Copeland said. They stand out as knowledgeable contributors in their new roles.
“This allows the program and coursework to speak for itself,” Copeland said.
Copeland, a certified public accountant, spent much of her career in management consulting. She’s been teaching and developing coursework for students and professionals for 20 years, but in the past five years developed specific curriculum to prepare people for careers in Microsoft 365 enterprise systems consulting.
After completing three PBA courses, students earn both a graduate certificate from PBA and a Microsoft Dynamics 365 certificate from AA+ Dynamics Training, an organization focused on career-readiness education. Students are also prepared for certification exams in Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations and Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Sales.
Students interested in the Microsoft Dynamics 365 certificate, the MBA or Master of Accountancy programs can contact Mary Kay Copeland at firstname.lastname@example.org or Kay Joyce in Admissions at Kay_Joyce@pba.edu or 561-803-2852.
Photo: Dr. Mary Kay Copeland developed a graduate offering and entry-level boot camp for professionals interested in learning how to use Microsoft Dynamics 365.