Published July 3, 2015
Minority high school students preview accounting careers
BUFFALO, N.Y. — The University at Buffalo School of Management and the Foundation for Accounting Education of the New York State Society of Certified Public Accountants (NYSSCPA) collaborated to introduce minority high school students to career opportunities in the accounting profession during a five-day program.
Twenty-one students from 15 area high schools attended the tenth annual Career Opportunities in the Accounting Profession (COAP) program, June 28 - July 2 at the UB School of Management.
“The goal of the program is to increase awareness of the many opportunities that an accounting education and career can provide,” says Ann Burstein Cohen, clinical associate professor of accounting in the UB School of Management.
Working with the NYSSCPA, Cohen has led the Buffalo COAP program since its inception in 2006. She is joined this year by Lorrie Metzger, clinical assistant professor of accounting and law in the UB School of Management, and Alicia Alexander, assurance senior manager at PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP.
“It is our hope that if minority students realize early on that the accounting profession has a variety of interesting opportunities, we can increase the number of candidates who enter the field,” Cohen adds.
The program features a comprehensive series of breakout sessions designed to provide participants with insights into all the components of an accounting education and career.
A number of area accounting firms gave presentations on campus, and students made off-site visits to The Bonadio Group, Lumsden & McCormick and New Era Cap Co., where they took company tours and spoke with accounting representatives from those firms.
Students also enjoyed a variety of professional development sessions, including a “dress for success” session; a “speed-meeting” event; and sessions on business writing, work/life balance, interviewing techniques and personal branding.
Throughout the week, student groups worked on a “Build Your Own Business” project, developing plans for new business ventures. On the last day, the groups presented their plans to a panel of industry professionals who evaluated the entries and shared their feedback with the students.
The COAP concluded with a banquet for students and their parents at the Pearl Street Grill and Brewery, and the 2015 keynote speaker was Robert McDow, assistant superintendent of school business and finance for Grand Island Central School District.