The Wake Forest University Schools of Business welcomed 29 of the nation’s brightest undergraduate students to campus Jan. 7-9 for the 4th Annual Accounting Diversity Consortium. Participants were juniors and seniors from 27 different universities throughout the U.S., selected from over 120 applicants. This year’s group has an average GPA of 3.76.
The event, which is produced by the Schools of Business and funded by Ernst & Young, is designed to help students from underrepresented groups find out more about the Wake Forest Master of Science in Accountancy (MSA) program.
Students learned about the curriculum, extracurricular activities and internships available through the highly respected Wake Forest MSA program. The program has one of the highest first-time CPA exam passing rates in the nation, is ranked in the top 5% in the nation by the U.S. News and World Report, and holds the separate AACSB accounting accreditation.
"We have rigorous current curriculum, faculty committed to excellence in education, small class sizes, and an intense review course in preparation of the CPA exam," said Yvonne Hinson, Schools of Business professor and director of the MSA program. "Our students also have the opportunity to choose from three tracks and electives in line with their personal passions to create a truly unique experience."
Students who attended the Accounting Diversity Consortium hail from schools such as: Florida State University, Morehouse College, The Ohio State University, and Syracuse University.
"I am very impressed with the Wake Forest MSA program, the campus, and the faculty," said Christopher Johnson, a junior from Fort Valley State University. "I like the ethical approach and the value of student quality versus quantity."
The intimate learning environment that Wake Forest offers prompted Whitney Carter, a Consortium attendee and senior accounting major from the Ohio State University, to apply to the MSA program. "My undergraduate education has been phenomenal, but now I want something that is different and on a smaller scale. I feel I can benefit more from one-on-one learning experiences in graduate school," she said.
Student ambassadors Saida Khan (MSA '11) and Jerome Conley (MSA '11) led the group on a campus tour, followed by a panel discussion with Wake Forest alumni.
Joy Clark (MSA '09), Karrah Clay (MSA '08), Brendan Enick (MSA '07), Megan Jones (MSA '09) and Nicole Yembra (MSA '10) ,who work in various positions at Ernst & Young locations around the country, answered questions about the learning environment at Wake Forest, the difficulty of coursework, and what makes the program stand out from others.
"The case studies, real-world experiences and teamwork will prepare you for what we do now on a daily basis," said Enick.
"I was overwhelmed during my first few months of the program, but my professors were so willing to sit down and work with me and help me understand," said Clay.
"When you earn your MSA from Wake Forest, firms will assume you are a quality professional," added Jones.
Ernst & Young has partnered with the University on the Consortium since its inception and provides the funding for all students to attend the event.
"When you think about the focus on diversity of thought and perspective and how valuable that is to Wake Forest and our firm, it only makes sense that we invest in these incredibly bright and diverse students who can enhance the program and ultimately become leaders in the profession," said Ken Bouyer, the Americas Director of Inclusiveness Recruiting for Ernst & Young.
In his closing remarks, Bouyer encouraged the students to seek out mentors, stay focused and ask for help along the way. "Don't be happy just to be here. Push forward, strive farther, and pursue excellence," he said.