Grant Thornton’s Detroit office has launched a $175,000 scholarship fund for students in Michigan State University’s Department of Accounting and Information Systems that, in the next five years, will support the school’s study abroad program and on-campus scholarships.

Nearly two-thirds of Grant Thornton’s Detroit office hires have come from Michigan State and the university’s Eli Broad College of Business’ Department of Accounting and Information Systems in the last two years.

“Michigan State has become a vital provider of talent to the firm, and we wanted to give potential recruits from MSU an opportunity to study abroad and build a strong foundation of knowledge about the global economy,” said Vincent Tomkinson, managing partner of Grant Thornton’s Detroit office, in a statement. “Many of our clients rely on us to help with their worldwide business growth, and we need the people we hire to have a deep understanding of cultures and business practices from South America to Asia Pacific and many places in between. This scholarship provides MSU students an international learning experience that’s fast becoming a prerequisite for employers.”

“The experiences I gained through the study abroad proved invaluable in the development of skills needed to serve multinational clients in an increasingly global marketplace,” stated Geoff Wait, a Grant Thornton senior associate and Michigan State alumnus who participated in the accounting study abroad program in May 2010. “The visits to various sites during the trip exposed me to different cultures and business environments and provided perspective, which helped to prepare me for my career at Grant Thornton.”