Boosting Racial Diversity in Graduate Accounting Programs

African Americans are about 12 percent of the students enrolled in undergraduate accounting classes. About 8 percent of college students who graduate with a bachelor’s degree in accounting are black. But blacks make up only 4 percent of the students who take the exam to become a certified public accountant. And only 1 percent of all certified accountants are black.

The Calloway School of Business at Wake Forest University recently held its second annual Diversity Consortium in an effort to increase the number of black and other minority students seeking graduate degrees in accounting. The students, many of whom are undergraduates at historically black colleges and universities, came to Winston-Salem during their winter break for a three-day conference to introduce them to the graduate program. Students listen to formal presentations, participate in panel discussions, and meet with current students and faculty. The consortium is funded by a grant from Ernst & Young.

Last year’s consortium was very successful. Of the 11 undergraduate seniors attending, eight applied for admission to the Wake Forest master’s degree program in accounting. Six were accepted and three enrolled. Of the five juniors who attended the consortium in January 2008, three have applied for admission to the program this coming fall.