The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) Undergraduate Business Program (UBP) has been on a roll recently, enjoying a rapid ascent in the national rankings to No. 10 in Business Week's ratings. And now, an $800,000 gift from the accounting firm Ernst & Young allows CALS to start offering advanced accounting courses this fall, and with them, a new concentration in accounting.
"Because of the hard work of CALS alumni Jerry Goldman '72 and Gary Kozlowski '89 and the generosity of the Ernst & Young Foundation and many Cornell alumni at Ernst & Young, the college will be able to bolster its course offerings to meet the growing expectations of its students, employers and alumni," says William Lesser, the Susan Eckert Lynch Professor of Science and Business and chair of the Department of Applied Economics and Management.
The new accounting courses dovetail with the existing offerings in finance, management and marketing that are already getting the program recognition and preparing students for the workplace.
"In the wake of high-profile corporate accounting scandals and increased regulatory requirements, there has been an increased demand for students with a deeper understanding of accounting practices," says Goldman, a deputy vice chairman at Ernst & Young. "At the same time, the increasing pace of mergers and acquisitions has accelerated the need for finance students to understand company financial reports in far greater depth. Our business is growing to meet the demands of the financial marketplace. The need for highly qualified accounting students is greater than ever."
The gift will also fund proposed courses in accounting for mergers and acquisitions, professional ethics and business risk and internal control. With these additions, undergraduate business students will be able to choose accounting as a concentration. In addition, support is proposed for accounting-related infrastructure, including library and/or career resources.
For Ernst & Young, the additional courses will mean an even stronger pool of recruits. Ernst & Young employs some 130 Cornell alumni in the United States, many of whom developed a creative course of study while at Cornell in order to satisfy CPA exam requirements. Since the majority of the firm's 3,000 campus hires are expected to sit for the exam, the new courses will enable more Cornellians to join Ernst & Young in the future.
With more than 700 students, the UBP is Cornell's second-largest undergraduate major and one of its most selective, yet it is one of the smallest four-year undergraduate business programs in the country. The UBP's 44 full-time faculty hold advanced degrees in business, economics, law, statistics and accounting.
Aaron Goldweber is a former communications specialist in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.