Annual Wake Forest University Accounting Diversity Consortium found to be an inspiring success

1.10.2010 Diversity, News Release, School News

Diverse students from 18 colleges and universities in U.S. and Puerto Rico take part in unique student recruiting event at Wake Forest University

Twenty-five juniors and seniors from 18 colleges and universities throughout the U.S. and Puerto Rico were selected from hundreds of applicants to attend the Accounting Diversity Consortium held at Wake Forest University on Friday through Sunday, Jan. 8-10.

The event, which is produced by the Schools of Business and funded by Ernst & Young, is designed to help diverse students learn more about the Wake Forest Master of Science in Accountancy (MSA) program and careers in accounting. Students who attended hail from schools including Notre Dame, Florida State University, Michigan State, Northeastern University, and Hunter College, which is part of the City University of New York system.

Yvonne Hinson, Schools of Business professor and director of the MSA program, took time to talk to students about Wake Forest University and more specifically, the MSA degree. Her presentation not only covered the basic curriculum and history of the MSA program, which began in 1995, but also the accomplishments of the school’s graduates. “The Wake Forest MSA program has been widely recognized as one of the leading academic programs in the country for many years. Our graduates have earned the highest pass rate in the nation on the CPA exam for the past four consecutive years and we have been ranked first or second nationally for first-time pass rates in all but one year since 1997,” said Hinson.

The goal of the Diversity Consortium, now in its 3rd year, is to recruit top students from underrepresented groups to Wake Forest University. Increasing diversity is a focus at both the University level and at the Schools of Business. “We believe that all students receive a richer, fuller education and are better prepared for the challenges and sensitivities of the workplace when they are exposed to many different backgrounds and points of view,” said Dean of Business Steve Reinemund.

“Having a much more diverse class has changed the classroom environment. Discussions are broader and are more meaningful and it has really shown me the academic reason to focus on diversity,” added Hinson.

Ernst & Young has partnered with the University on the Consortium since its inception and provides the funding for all students to attend the event. “We cannot ask for a better partner,” said Hinson. “Ernst & Young is completely committed to Wake Forest, to the Schools of Business and to our students — from the top levels throughout their entire organization,” she added.

Representatives from Ernst & Young participated in the weekend activities as speakers and panelists, including several recent alumni of the Wake Forest MSA program and the Americas Director of Inclusiveness Recruiting, Ken Bouyer.

Bouyer took time to share some words of advice which focused on leadership, the importance of mentorship, and how students need to find their passion and continue to focus on reaching their goals. “You need to keep your foot on the gas pedal throughout your time at school,” said Bouyer. “Then, after you graduate, you need to do even more. It is not the end, but another beginning. …The market is challenging and if you want to succeed you need to continue to differentiate yourself,” he added.

When asked about his firm's commitment to diversity and the partnership with Wake Forest University and the Accounting Diversity Consortium, Bouyer responded “Diversity is critically important to our firm, so for us to invest in a program like this makes all the sense in the world. Wake Forest is a great partner and the graduates coming to the firm from the MSA program are all doing really well, so it just makes sense. It is a great match and a great partnership.”

Students who attended the weekend event said that they learned a lot in a short amount of time. Saida Khan, a senior at Notre Dame was thrilled that she had the opportunity to attend and commented on the caliber of the Wake Forest program and personal learning environment that is fostered at the school. "I am so impressed with the program and the interaction I have had with the staff, faculty and dean while participating in the Consortium. I really feel that I will be welcome at Wake Forest and have the opportunity to learn and excel in a dynamic and open environment. This is just the type of graduate program I am looking for to help jump-start my career."

A representative from Ernst & Young explains the teambuilding activity to the students.
Consortium attendees work on teambuilding skills by piecing together a puzzle against the clock.

Wake Forest MSA alumni talk to prospective students
about their experiences at Ernst & Young.

  Ken Bouyer, the Americas Director of Inclusiveness Recruiting with Ernst & Young, speaks to the attendees.