The LeBow College of Business’ undergraduate accounting program has received the endorsement of the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA), the worldwide association of accountants and financial professionals in business. LeBow is one of only 60 colleges in the United States to have achieved this designation, which reflects coordination by several of LeBow’s academic departments and highlights the broad set of business skills that are required of management accountants.
This endorsement, made through the IMA’s Higher Education Endorsement Program, demonstrates LeBow’s track record of preparing students for the Certified Management Accountant (CMA) examination and helping them build successful careers in management accounting. LeBow’s pass rate for students taking the CMA exam has been 63% in recent years, well above the average pass rate of 45%.
We asked Associate Professor of Accounting and head of the Department of Accounting Barbara Grein, PhD, about the impact and importance of this endorsement and how the department equips its undergraduate students with the necessary skills to excel as management accountants.
Q: What does this endorsement say about the caliber of LeBow’s undergraduate accounting program?
Barbara Grein, PhD: Earning the Institute of Management Accountants’ (IMA) Higher Education Endorsement is a testament to the quality of our curriculum. The IMA is a globally recognized organization with over 140,000 members across 150 countries, and to earn the endorsement, LeBow’s undergraduate accounting program had to meet rigorous and comprehensive criteria relevant to today’s management accounting field.
The designation recognizes that the program provides academic coverage of advanced accounting and financial management topics in areas such as financial reporting and analysis; planning, budgeting, and forecasting; performance management; internal controls; technology and analytics; corporate finance; and decision analysis. These topics reflect current industry practices that are assessed on the Certified Management Accountant (CMA) exam.
Q: What distinguishes management accounting as a field?
BG: Management accountants are vital to the success of an organization. They are risk managers, budgeters, planners, strategists and decision makers, and they fill many roles: CFO, controller, budget analyst, treasurer and business partner for an operations team.
It’s important to note that the CMA professional credential is one of the most recognized certifications supporting the management accounting field. According to the IMA, professionals with their CMA can earn up to 31% more compensation than non-certified professionals, a measurable result of the value of the certification. The CMA provides another option for our students along with the widely known Certified Public Accountant (CPA) credential, and bolsters our offerings to those students on a corporate accounting track.
Q: How does LeBow equip students for roles in management accounting?
BG: LeBow’s undergraduate accounting program provides the coursework necessary for students to succeed as CMAs, including developing advanced accounting and financial management skills through accounting courses like ACCT 331 Cost Accounting and ACCT 420 Emerging Industry Analysis Accounting Perspectives, as well as business core classes like MGMT 450 Strategy and Competitive Advantage, FIN 301 Introduction to Finance, and BSAN 160 Business Analytics and Data Visualization.
Also, Drexel LeBow’s emphasis on experiential learning both in class and through the Drexel Co-op program provides students with opportunities to solve current business challenges. Further, the experience students obtain through their co-ops is eligible towards the requirements to become a CMA. Drexel LeBow’s commitment to offering the highest caliber education, highlighted by the IMA endorsement and combined with meaningful co-op experience, affords our students a distinct competitive advantage upon entering the business world.
Q: How is LeBow’s accounting department adapting to meet changing industry needs?
BG: The department is taking several steps. First, the accounting department is actively expanding the options for students interested in accounting careers. For example, the department began awarding CMA exam scholarships, in partnership with the IMA, to interested students. Another step is the upcoming expansion of elective courses that will help prepare students for, among other things, the revised CMA exam and the coming changes to CPA exam stemming from the CPA Evolution initiative. Third, in consultation with alumni and co-op employers, we are increasing the digital acumen of our students through in-class projects and out of class lab opportunities. We are proud to have created a program that successfully prepares students to enter into and establish long-lasting careers in a variety of accounting positions.