The Big Four accounting firms do a lot of recruiting at Stevens, and a common challenge for these companies is a shortage of entry-level job candidates able to apply analytical thinking to accounting problems.
In response, the School of Business this fall launched its Accounting & Analytics major, which gives students the analytical insights required of CPAs in this fast-shifting industry.
Upon completion of the program, students will have completed the coursework required to sit for the CPA exam. Additional credits are required to apply for a CPA license, as is the case for all undergraduate accounting programs; at Stevens, students can earn a master's degree in Management in one extra year, and thereby have enough credits to apply for the CPA license.
"As in many other business disciplines, the role of analytics in setting strategy, allocating resources and pursuing opportunity continues to grow," said Dr. Ann Murphy, associate dean of undergraduate programs at the school. "For tomorrow’s accountant, understanding these skills will be just as important as understanding balance sheets."
Unique to the program is the 10-course analytics core, with classes in scientific computing, data analysis, statistics and more. As part of the competitive analysis in building the major, Dr. Murphy said, faculty found most accounting programs elsewhere require only a single analytics course.
"This is an area of importance in the market, and one that overlaps well with the teaching and research expertise of Stevens," she said.
Stevens is in a strong position to know what the market wants. Business programs at both the undergraduate and graduate level are recognized for how they integrate technology and analytics into curricula — drawing significant interest from employers who value professionals able to use analytics to frame problems, ask questions and make recommendations to managers. School of Business graduates are employed at each of the big 4 accounting firms, with EY and KPMG among the most active recruiters at Stevens. Additionally, as Stevens is so close to New York City, companies in many different industries recruit here to find the best candidates for internal accounting poitions. That location advantage also offers ample opportunities for networking, internships and recruitment and guest speakers in this industry.
The undergraduate division at the School of Business has been growing rapidly. Just five years ago, the school offered majors in Business & Technology and Quantitative Finance. Today, the list has grown to include Management, Marketing, Information Systems, Economics and Finance, along with Accounting & Analytics. Applications to undergraduate business programs have increased by 151 percent since 2012, and SAT scores and high school GPAs of admitted students have increased dramatically, also.
"Not only has the expansion and diversification of the undergraduate program brought in record numbers of applicants, it has also significantly improved the quality of the incoming class," said Dr. Gregory Prastacos, dean of the School of Business. "The average SAT score of the incoming class in 2012 was 1233. For the class that started this fall, it’s 1341 — an amazing improvement."