Berkeley Today Stories
Berkeley College Graduates Benefit from Strong Accounting Program
As the summer of 2013 drew to a close, Stephanie Martinez was the envy of her peers. She had two job offers – an assurance associate position at the prestigious Pricewaterhouse Coopers and a management accounting position with Schlumberger, a leading supplier in the global oil and gas industry.
“These were two very competitive offers and it was hard to decide,” said Ms. Martinez, who graduated from Berkeley College with a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting in 2011 and received a Master’s degree in Public Accounting from Mercy College in Dobbs Ferry, NY, in 2013.
Ms. Martinez, who is a native of the Dominican Republic and speaks Spanish fluently, chose to work for Schlumberger where she serves as a management accountant for the Drilling, Tools, and Remedial segment of the company’s operations in Latin America. She is currently stationed in Argentina and also will spend time in Chile and Bolivia while working to transfer financial information from these operations to the company’s central hub in Houston, TX.
Career Services and Accounting Faculty Pave the Way for Career Success
Ms. Martinez said the Office of Career Services and the Accounting Faculty at Berkeley College were instrumental in preparing her for success in her career.
“Students who utilize the resources available to them at Berkeley College can succeed at whatever they choose,” said Ms. Martinez, who was placed in three accounting internships while pursuing her degree. “Berkeley College really opened the doors to my career path.”
Faculty members in the Accounting program at Berkeley College draw from a combination of academic and professional skills when teaching students the art and science of managing a company’s finances. Meanwhile, the Office of Career Services works hard to place students in accounting internships while the students are pursuing their degrees. Following graduation, career counselors work with alumni to help them find positions in their fields of study. Graduates of the Accounting program at Berkeley College have been placed with such companies as Pricewaterhouse Coopers, Morgan Stanley, Gucci America Inc., and JP Morgan Chase.
Accounting Faculty Prepare and Encourage Students to sit for CPA Exams
“Berkeley College has an excellent Accounting program,” said Ira Weissman, Faculty, Accounting, Larry L. Luing School of Business®, who served as Chair of the program for more than 10 years, is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), and is a senior instructor for the Becker DeVry CPA Review Course. “Our courses at Berkeley College are comprehensive and designed to prepare students to succeed in the accounting profession. We also offer specific courses that prepare students to pass the CPA exams, and we encourage them to sit for these exams early on in their careers.”
Berkeley College Alumna Kailee Valenzuela became a licensed CPA in New York just a year after graduating from Berkeley College.
“As a Berkeley College student, I was prepared mentally and physically to pass the CPA exams,” said Ms. Valenzuela, who graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting in 2009.
“I think the CPA license is very important today because of the tough job market and the high unemployment rate,” said Ms. Valenzuela, who spent two years working as a tax accountant at Pricewaterhouse Coopers before re-locating to Florida where she is currently employed as a Tax Supervisor at Brown & Brown, one of the largest insurance intermediary firms with 125 locations across the United States and in England. “When you have a CPA license, in addition to a college degree, it puts you on a whole other level.”
Personalized Attention Helps Students to Thrive
When asked why they chose to pursue an Accounting degree at Berkeley College, Ms. Martinez and Ms. Valenzuela both said they wanted to attend a business college where they would receive personal attention from instructors.
“At Berkeley College all of my professors knew me by name,” Ms. Martinez said. “They knew my strengths and my weaknesses and were always willing to give me feedback on how I could improve in their classes. That’s the type of culture and setting I wanted to belong to as I pursued my degree.”
Miriam Keller-Perkins, a member of the Accounting Faculty, who brings more than 20 years of corporate experience as an auditor, financial analyst and cost accountant into her classrooms, served as a mentor to Ms. Martinez and Ms. Valenzuela.
“I have high expectations for my students and they know that they can always come to me for extra help,” said Ms. Keller-Perkins, who has been teaching at Berkeley College for 20 years and served 15 years as the advisor to the Business Club. “When they move on to other courses, they know they can reach out to me if they ever need my help. I tell them from day one that they are my students for life.”