Three Ashland University students -- Katie McVay, Ashley (Calhoon) McCorkle and Beau Carpenter -- received degrees at Winter Commencement on Dec. 14 as the first graduates of Ashland University’s new accelerated BSBA/MBA accounting program.
McVay of Fresno, Ohio; McCorkle of Butler, Ohio; and Carpenter of Marshallville, Ohio, all received Bachelor of Science degrees in accounting as well as MBA degrees in executive management with an accounting specialization after they finished AU’s new program that allows accounting majors to complete both a bachelor’s degree and an MBA in five years or less.
All three have accepted accounting jobs and speak highly of AU’s new program.
“The accelerated accounting program allowed me to open doors for my career that I may not have chosen otherwise. Before the program was introduced, I planned to receive a bachelor’s degree with two majors to obtain my 150 hours to sit for the CPA exam,” McVay said. “Now that I have completed the accelerated program, I was able to further expand my expertise in accounting and better prepare myself for an accounting career.”
McVay said she enjoyed the accelerated program because students had the option to choose some of their courses to take. “This allows students to focus on two business areas or, in my case, study to sit for the CMA certification, which is an accounting certification that can be obtained before graduation,” she said. “This appealed to me because it would open more career paths for me after graduation.”
McVay said the accelerated accounting program also allows students to dig into topics deeper than what can be covered in the undergraduate level courses and explore other areas of accounting, such as governmental accounting.
“Overall, I would recommend the accelerated accounting program to accounting majors who are looking to work toward earning their CPA and are willing to work hard and be dedicated to their studies,” she said. “This program will challenge students on a daily basis by expanding their knowledge of accounting, but will prepare them for a rewarding career in the future.”
Once McVay completed her coursework in August, she accepted a position of assistant auditor with Ohio Auditor of State Dave Yost. “By having my MBA and being a previous intern, I immediately received my first promotion and have been working in Coshocton and Tuscarawas Counties since September,” she said.
McCorkle agreed, noting that the accelerated program was right for her for several reasons.
“One was marketability because graduating with both my BSBA and MBA put me a step above other students my age,” she said. “Furthermore, potential employers can see that I am self-motivated and driven to finish such a rigorous program.”
She noted that another reason the program was right for her was the “one-stop shop” aspect.
“The three of us are so fortunate to be pioneers in a program like this at AU. The idea of transitioning seamlessly from undergraduate to graduate classes was so appealing,” she said. “Plus, the ‘double-dipping’ principle cut the duration of the accelerated MBA to a mere 11 classes for me, without sacrificing a quality education.”
McCorkle said the preparation for the work force was another reason the program was right for her. “Success is driven by pure motivation and talent. Participating in MBA classes with other seasoned and hard-working individuals developed my team work abilities and communication skills,” she said.
McCorkle has taken a position as commercial credit analyst for First Knox National Bank, a division of the Park National Bank, which consists of 11 community banking divisions across Ohio and two specialty finance companies. Park National Corp. is a $6.6 billion bank holding company headquartered in Newark, Ohio.
“In my day-to-day duties I compile financial data for the accurate representation of risk in loan requests, review and analyze appraisals for market, credit, construction and economic risks and spread financial statements and tax returns to examine historical performance,” she said. “Because of the customer mix within the bank’s portfolio, I touch a variety of financial statements on a daily basis. Having a solid foundation in accounting has made this particular aspect of my job easier and more enjoyable.”
Carpenter said he was intrigued when he first heard about the opportunity to enroll in Ashland University's new Accelerated BSBA/MBA Accounting Program.
“The program is perfect for any student pursuing a degree in accounting who has aspirations of becoming professionally certified in the field,” he said. “The convenient and flexible scheduling of the program has allowed me to earn my BSBA/MBA degrees in only 4 1/2 years while still gaining professional work experience throughout that time.”
Carpenter said he believes the courses offered and knowledge gained from the faculty in the program will be invaluable in helping him achieve his professional goals.
“The program has helped me earn the 150-credit-hour requirement to sit for the CPA and has given me the experiences and the knowledge necessary to feel confident in pursuing this certification,” he said. “Having a quality MBA degree at such a young age has set me up for success in the future. The program's speed, flexibility, and the skills it granted me make it a perfect fit for aspiring young professionals, and I would recommend this program to any student in accounting.”
Carpenter is currently employed with The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company in its finance and accounting development program.
“The program consists of four six-month rotations in various finance and accounting roles,” he said. “I have been working there since the end of May, and will rotate into my second role in the middle of January.”
Dr. Kris Parsons, associate professor of accounting and chair of the accounting and information systems department at Ashland, said the new program, established in 2012, is very appealing for cost-conscious students because it allows them to earn both degrees in less time and for less money.
“This new program allows undergraduates to complete their coursework for a bachelor’s degree in accounting in a little over three years,” Parsons said. “Students combine bachelor’s- and master’s-level courses in their fourth year and then finish their MBA in their fifth year. As MBA students, they have the option to take some of their graduate courses online or in a flexible hybrid format.”
Parsons said the accelerated degree program is geared to students who are comfortable with an academic challenge. The program is also designed to include a one-semester internship. “The program is designed to provide the student with the necessary accounting courses and the 150-credit hours many states require before a candidate is qualified to take the Certified Public Accounting (CPA) exam,” she said.
Parsons emphasized the importance of providing students with multiple career opportunities in accounting. While the curriculum prepares students for careers as CPAs, students can also choose to pursue the coursework that will prepare them for careers as Certified Management Accountants (CMAs), Certified Fraud Examiners (CFEs), and Certified Internal Auditors (CIAs).
“Also, the program will build on the undergraduate accounting experience by using graduate courses to develop broader and deeper technical accounting knowledge and enhanced communication and problem-solving skills necessary for success in professional accountancy and business,” she said.
Ashland University, which has been ranked in the top 200 colleges and universities in U.S. News and World Report’s National Universities category, is a mid-sized, private university conveniently located a short distance from Akron, Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio. Ashland University (www.ashland.edu) values the individual student and offers a unique educational experience that combines the challenge of strong, applied academic programs with a faculty and staff who build nurturing relationships with their students. ###
Photo Caption: Ashley (Calhoon) McCorkle, at left, talks with Katie McVay and Beau Carpenter during the procession lineup prior to Ashland University's Commencement ceremony held on Dec. 14. The three received degrees as the first graduates of AU's new accelerated BSBA/MBA accounting program.