Advanced learning and retooling via degree and non-degree programs has been the exclusive domain of academic institutions. The more reputable the academic institution, arguably, the higher is the quality of learning.

Things are about to change as one of the Big 4 accounting firms decides to enter the field of advanced learning. KPMG, a leading U.S. audit, tax, and advisory firm, broke ground for construction of its $450 million learning, development, and innovation facility in the Lake Nona community of Orlando.


KPMG is one of the world’s leading professional services firms, providing innovative business solutions and audit, tax, and advisory services to many of the world’s largest and most prestigious organizations. KPMG is one of the Big 4 Accounting Firms (the other three being E&Y, PwC, and Deliotte).

KPMG LLP is the U.S. member firm of KPMG International Cooperative. KPMG International’s member firms have 189,000 professionals, including more than 9,000 partners, in 152 countries.

Stylized Facts

  • KPMG’s revenues for 2017 was $26.40 billion
  • Revenue growth for FY2017 was of 5%
  • KPMG invested more than US$1 billion this year in a multi-year program focused on new technology, innovation and developing new services and solutions
  • More than 37,000 new graduates and other entry-level professionals hired, with the total workforce growing to a record-high of 197,263 people.
  • KPMG network achieves gender parity for new hires, and an increase to 28% women in partner promotions across our 10 largest countries.

State-of the-Art Learning Facility

The firm announced on January 9, 2017 its commitment to create a 55-acre, state-of-the-art campus with 800,000 square feet of space for meeting, classroom, residential, and dining facilities. The campus will feature cutting-edge technology, including an innovation center that will support training and client engagement, and a heritage center to highlight the firm’s rich history and culture. KPMG expects to complete the project by year-end 2019.

The facility expected to accommodate 1,000 people at a time and has 800 single-occupancy rooms. It also has a four-star environment which includes multiple dining options, a coffee and wine bar, and a pub-like venue as well as “total wellness” amenities such as a sizable fitness facility and hiking and biking paths.

“This campus is our firm’s largest capital investment ever. More than that, it’s an investment in our people,” said Lynne Doughtie, Chairman and CEO, KPMG LLP. “Today marks a major milestone toward creating a world-class environment that inspires our professionals to achieve their fullest potential and helps enable our firm to attract and retain the best talent.”

Good or Bad?

Is this brand of executive education offered by US corporations good or bad for US academic institutions? The answer is unambiguously yes. Why?

  1. Any healthy competition between the for-profit and not-for-profit organizations can only improve the quality of education.
  2. The executives being trained will benefit as they get a broader perspective that is based on rigorous academic viewpoints and high quality practitioner experience.
  3. It increases the human capital of the attendees regardless of whether these forms of learning yield degrees or certificates in a specialized area.

As one of our Nobel Laureates said “For the times they are a-changing”

February 11, 2018

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