Rider develops new accounting program to give students “competitive advantage”

By Tatyanna Carman 

An accelerated accounting program will be added to the Norm Brodsky College of Business starting in fall 2020 and will include a yearly $2,000 scholarship and a 30% discount on graduate courses. 

The program will act as a four-plus-one, in which students will receive an undergraduate and graduate degree as well as a dual accreditation by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) International after graduating the program, according to the Rider University website.

Interim Dean of the Norm Brodsky College of Business Eugene Kutcher shared what the program would add to the college. 

“I think it will show our students, and potential students, that we are here to provide pathways to achieving their goals and preparing them for career,” Kutcher said. “If we can assist with respect to the financial and time-based elements of the education, it puts the focus on our faculty who want them to succeed, on the community that supports their development and engagement, and on the solid curriculum that we provide.”

According to Chair of the Department of Accounting Margaret O’Reilly-Allen, the program was created “as a response to the accounting profession’s requirement for certified public accountants (CPA) to have 30 additional credit hours in addition to a bachelor’s degree.” She also went in-depth as to how the new program, its scholarship and discount came to be. 

“We recognized that many students did not pursue a MAcc [Master’s of Accounting] due to the cost. So, as the business world becomes more complex and more young professionals have master’s degrees, the Accounting Department worked with Rider’s Enrollment Management Department to develop a program in which accounting majors can earn a master’s degree prior to entering the world of work by seamlessly moving into their graduate year,” O’Reilly-Allen said. 

O’Reilly-Allen said the accounting department and enrollment management wanted to make the MAcc as affordable as possible so students would have a “competitive advantage,” and benchmarked against other graduate programs and scholarships to Rider students. 

 “Many MAcc students already do this, so they would have eight or nine classes remaining in the MAcc. For example, if a student takes two MAcc courses while still [being] an undergraduate they only have eight` courses left in the graduate program, and at a 30% discount, this is a savings of approximately 50% of full tuition. Students are also still eligible for scholarships from the accounting profession,” she said. 

She also explained that with an additional year, students could earn a MAcc and work at a paid internship or co-op and still take the CPA exam, which she said is useful because new accountants have difficulty finding time to study for the CPA exam. 

For the accelerated program, the MAcc has 10 graduate courses and students who both meet the undergraduate course requirements for graduation and a minimum GPA, can take one or two MAcc classes during their last undergraduate semester as part of their undergraduate tuition, according to O’Reilly-Allen. 

Master’s of Accountancy graduate student Adriana Tirado pursued her undergraduate and graduate degree as a three-plus-one. She is expected to graduate in spring 2020. She found out about the accelerated MAcc program and felt as though it made the “most sense” to stay at the school. 

“I had spoken a lot with the chair of the accounting department, Dr. O’Reilly-Allen, about my possibilities and path I should take. She was extremely helpful in making sure that I was able to balance my work load and do valuable internships throughout the time as an undergraduate,” Tirado said. “I loved all the professors I had in undergraduate school and a lot of them teach graduate classes so I knew I was going to get to most out of my education staying at Rider with some of the best professors.” 

She also explained that Rider gave her the foundation for what she needed in order to be successful at her internships by knowing key concepts and how to apply them. In the summer of 2019, she interned at an accounting firm, Klynveld Peat Marwick Goerdeler (KPMG), which is one of the big four accounting firms. As a result, she accepted a full-time position there. She also interned at WilkinGuttenplan and Mercadien. Tirado said the program allowed her to map out her career and get a “jump-start” on her life. 

“With the accelerated program I have [the] opportunity to finish all four parts of my CPA before I start working. This is a huge incentive for me since studying for the CPA is comparable to a full-time job and being able to have this exam already done before I start working lifts a weight off my shoulders.”

Another Master’s of Accountancy graduate student Daryna Chumak

explained how the program strengthened her skills outside of Rider.

“Due to the accreditation this program has in the business world and my hard work, I was able to attain a six month financial planning and analysis co-op at Johnson and Johnson as a freshman,” Chumak said. “In addition, I completed numerous other professional opportunities, a tax internship at Alliance Wealth Management Group, [a] tax and audit internship at WilkinGuttenplan, an advisory Internship at Ernst & Young and I will be starting full time in audit at Deloitte in Fall 2020 ” 

The courses within the accelerated program are related to MAcc and MBA. Students will take courses in financial and managerial accounting, auditing, tax, data mining, professional research and communication. 

O’Reilly-Allen said, “The Accounting Department is grateful to the university for developing this accelerated program to offer our students the opportunity to earn their MAcc in one and at a significantly [lower] cost than in the past and at other universities.”

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