The School of Accountancy’s relationships with students goes well beyond the traditional classroom setting. We view our charge as preparing the student to launch a successful career in the accounting profession. This includes an expectation of professional behavior and demeanor, both in the classroom, as well as in professional or social settings. Students are provided opportunities to network with accounting professionals representing public, corporate, and governmental accounting. The student accounting honorary fraternity, Beta Alpha Psi, regularly hosts speakers from accounting firms and companies, and meetings are well-attended by both students and faculty. The one-on-one exchanges between students and potential future employers provide students with a more seasoned perspective of accounting organizations, current priorities within accounting practice, and what employers are looking for in hiring a newly-minted accountant. Students are indoctrinated regarding the process of becoming a CPA, and advised as to how best to accomplish that goal. Accounting faculty are also actively involved in “opening doors” for student interviews, and preparing students for the interview process.
Connections that Work
The following example illustrates the School’s dedication to getting students started down successful career paths. Three top Master of Professional Accountancy (MPA) students interned with the State Auditor’s office in Summer 2009, and all three were offered employment by that agency after they received their MPA degrees. Having signed employment contracts, these students did not participate in the Fall 2009 recruiting cycle, in which the majority of on-campus recruiting took place. In February 2010, the state rescinded these students’ contracts for full-time employment due to state budgetary constraints. The accounting faculty intervened to salvage this terrible situation and solicited the help of future Horne Professor Mike Dugan (then at the University of Alabama). Through Professor Dugan’s professional contacts, the three students reentered the job search process; by April 2010, all three had employment contracts with CPA firms – one student landing a position with PricewaterhouseCoopers’ New York City office. The extraction of these three students from a terrible situation and their subsequent successful placement in leading CPA practices highlight the faculty’s focus on student success, a focus that does not end with graduation, but continues into the student’s success as a professional accountant.