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Accounting programs ranked in top ten

Aaron Steiner | Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Notre Dame’s Accountancy Program recently received high marks from an annual survey of accounting professors nationwide. The undergraduate program was ranked fourth in the nation and the Master of Science in Accountancy program was ranked sixth among graduate programs in Public Accounting Report (PAR), a trade magazine.

Fred Mittelstaedt, professor of accountancy and chair of the department, said Notre Dame has ranked high in the report for “the last number of years.”

“The undergraduate program has been in the top five for the last several years,” Mittelstaedt said.

According to the report from PAR, “the survey asks accounting professors, department heads and department chairs to name the undergraduate and graduate programs that … they feel most consistently turn out students capable of some day attaining partner status.”

Mittelstaedt said because of the survey’s nature, choices are “based on reputation, how [professors] think our students do, and also their perceptions about what they know of our curriculum.”

The top three programs in the undergraduate rankings were the University of Texas-Austin, the University of Illinois, and Brigham Young University respectively.

The same three schools took the top three spots in the graduate rankings, in reverse order, and the University of Southern California and the University of Michigan also outranked Notre Dame in the category.

Mittelstaedt said the Master of Science in Accountancy program wasn’t offered until 1998 and “we’ve been in the top 10 since the program started.”

Mittelstaedt said that Notre Dame’s accounting program is consistently well-ranked in various publications.

In addition to the PAR survey, the undergraduate program was rated No. 3 by BusinessWeek’s in 2008 and No. 7 in the 2009 U.S. News and World Report rankings.

Mittelstaedt said the success is based in part on the quality of students that the University attracts.

“For one, they’re very smart, and second, they can balance things very well,” he said, from academics to volunteering to work, “the same types of things that they do in firms.”

In addition, Mittelstaedt credits the curriculum within the department of accountancy, which he said focuses on “foundational knowledge.”

“We’re trying to provide broad skills,” he said, teaching both quantitative accounting skills as well as “soft skills” like teamwork and communication.

That, plus the “great environment, great faculty … as well as alumni” help the reputation of the department, Mittelstaedt said, highlighting the role of alumni.

“We have alumni that have done really well that are in leadership positions in firms … and they like to come back and recruit here because our students just perform so well,” Mittelstaedt said.

Mittelstaedt said that there are currently 110 seniors in the undergraduate accounting program, and typically there are around 150 from any given class. The graduate program currently has 94 students, he said.