Accounting recognized by national report
By Jade Mardirosian
Baylor’s undergraduate and graduate accounting programs were recently recognized nationally in Public Accounting Report’s 29th annual survey of accounting professors.
The undergraduate accounting program ranked 23rd in the nation. The graduate program was named an honorable mention, falling short of the top 25.
When compared against schools of a similar size, the undergraduate program ranked 10th and the graduate program was ranked 11th. Baylor is considered a midsize school based on number of teaching faculty.
Dr. Charles Davis, chair of the department of accounting and business law, said the report surveyed more than 1,700 accounting professors to rank the programs and asked which programs consistently turn out students capable of someday attaining partner status.
Davis said he believes the rankings from the report prove the accounting program and its professors are top-notch.
“It says we are one of the top programs in the country,” Davis said. “When it is your peers doing the evaluation, it says a lot about the reputation we have across the country. It is also an indication of the hard work students and faculty put into the program.”
The department has 22 faculty members, 247 undergraduate students and 84 graduate students.
Davis said the dedication of the faculty and the relationships they are able to build with the students are vital to the success of the program.
“We make sure we have a strong faculty who are able to communicate with the students the current information they need in order to be successful in the accounting profession,” Davis said.
Anthony Herrera, director of accounting internships and career development, said rankings like these serve an important role as students and graduates look to be hired.
“These rankings are really important for the placement of our graduates. Our current pool of companies know we are a great program and know our students are prepared both technically and professionally,” Herrera said. “When they see those rankings it assures them they are recruiting at the right university and the right accounting program.”
Littleton, Colo., senior Stephen Montellano has already experienced first hand how the accounting program prepares its students for real-world experiences.
“This summer I completed an internship and from classes I had completed up to that point I was more than well prepared to do the accounting research I needed to do,” Montellano said. “I would say the officers in the company were very impressed with the skill set I brought and I attribute that to the curriculum and also the professors who care a lot about the students.”
Montellano said the accounting program’s ranking makes him feel the path he has chosen is worthwhile.
“Knowing that we’ve been recognized makes me feel my degree is more valuable, more so than it already was,” Montellano said. “Also, knowing Baylor is ranked number three for the pass rate on the Certified Public Accountant exam is pretty impressive and makes me feel pretty confident knowing where I am going in the near future.”
Davis said the rankings serve an important role in persuading firms to recruit students from Baylor.
“I think the rankings are certainly something future employers look at when trying to decide what schools to recruit from,” Davis said. “This helps ensure our program is one firms want to look at and our students are currently recruited from the four largest accounting firms in the world.”
Herrera said firms seek a number of characteristics in recruits, and Baylor students have what future employers want.
“[Firms] definitely want somebody that is going to be solid technically, with respect to accounting, but they also want to have a well-rounded student, somebody who has leadership skills, teamwork skills, the ability to multitask, great communication skills. Those are all important,” Herrera said. “We’ve developed our program here to develop students in both areas, technically as well as these soft skills.”
Herrera said that students are heavily recruited for four weeks of their junior year by major and regional firms for which they will complete internships with the following year.
“Ninety to 95 percent of students who do an internship will receive a full-time offer,” Herrera said.
“The firms, being that they want Baylor students and the best of the students here, spend a lot of money and time and energy here on campus recruiting students.”
The four largest accounting firms in the world, Deloitte, PricewaterCoopers, Ernst & Young and KPMG, all competitively recruit Baylor students during this time, as well as other large firms, including UHY, Grant Thornton, BDO Seidman, McGladrey & Pulen and several local and regional firms, Hererra said.
Herrera said about 70 percent of accounting students this semester will participate in an internship at one of these firms.