Syms’ Accounting Department Ranked #16 Nationally
The dream of signing on the dotted line to your first full-time job offer is one of the primary motivations for students to enroll in business school. For most, college is viewed as a growing experience, a place where students explore their interests, find themselves and decide what they want to do with their lives. The anxiety that exists when it comes to making such big decisions is often overwhelming. Since most students at YU spend their freshman year in Israel and subsequently only three years on campus, they can feel more rushed to decide upon a career than undergraduates from other colleges.
Walking the halls of Yeshiva University, it is apparent that the Sy Syms School of Business produces young, business-savvy professionals with a fervor to succeed. One of the strongest and most popular majors within the undergraduate business school is the bachelor’s program in Accounting. On October 1, 2014, LinkedIn released a ranking of the top universities in various industries within business. Scrolling the list of top schools for accounting, Yeshiva University ranked 16th nationally. LinkedIn releases their ranking based on researching the most desirable companies for each industry, looking at LinkedIn members who work in the industry and what school they went to, and finally at the percentage of these alumni that landed these jobs.
YU’s alumni perennially land jobs in the Big 4 accounting firms, with most employed at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), followed by Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited, Ernst & Young (E&Y), and Klynveld Peat Marwick Goerdeler (KPMG), as well as many other firms. This success can be directly linked to YU’s rigorous coursework and top professors. When speaking to senior Sammy Banilivy (SSSB ‘15), he explained, “The course work was educating, yet challenging, and did not overload you to the point where you were turned off.”
According to YU’s website, “Undergraduate majors in accounting are expected to become fluent in the language of business and experts at communicating business information to interested stakeholders.” Students in their first semester are introduced to the principles of accounting and are required to take introductory accounting courses from the start. Speaking with Josh Teller (SSSB 16’) about his experiences in Principles of Accounting I and II, he immediately began discussing the knowledge he gained and how he was able to hit the ground running in his summer internships. “Interning in private equity, I was able to immediately begin adding value to the firm’s operations, as I had the ability to look at company financial statements and understand the company’s financial health,” he said.
The YU Career Center helps students from the start by assisting them in finding internships, as prior experience is key to finding a job after graduation. Sophomores who are majoring in accounting are offered the chance to find Leadership positions in various accounting firms around New York. Leadership is a two-day program that gives students the opportunity to learn about the various firms. Firms recruiting at YU for these positions include the Big 4, along with other notable firms such as Grant Thornton LLP and CohnReznick LLP. Leadership positions have the potential to turn into offers for internships the following year. Seniors who will obtain CPA eligibility within one year are able to apply for summer internship positions at these coveted firms.
Yeshiva University’s accounting major has enabled many students to succeed in the industry, as well as other industries in the business arena. The accounting professors try to help students in whatever way they can. Banilivy said, “My professors have helped me in finding what field within the industry I want to work in and have offered me great insight on how to break into the field as they are professionals who have been through the process themselves.”
Besides for undergraduate studies in accounting, YU also offers a Syms Master of Science in Accounting program, in which students are able to take the necessary coursework to obtain CPA licensing. To be able to sit for the exam, students must have obtained 150 college level credits, 33 of of which must be from accounting courses and 36 from general business courses. These requirements are fairly new, as they were only implemented within the past 5 years. This has left many students trying to figure out whether they should stay an extra year to fulfill the necessary requirements or try to obtain a Master’s, as students have been able to find jobs with and without one. Moving forward, it will be interesting to see if firms begin to require the Master’s.
As for the Syms Master of Science in Accounting program at YU, classes are offered at night, which allows students keep their jobs while taking the course. YU is also in the process of creating a Master’s program in Tax, adding to their offering of esteemed graduate programs.
Majoring in accounting doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to work for an accounting firm. An accounting degree can lead to jobs in various industries such as real estate, investment banking, and consulting. Students looking for jobs in these fields should consider accounting more than other majors within the Sy Syms School of Business, as they will gain the knowledge base necessary to understand any business from its financial side. If you are in your first semester at YU, you may want to think about majoring in accounting, as you will be offered an array of lucrative industries to choose from.