In his role as a partner at BP Capital in Dallas, Cole Robertson ’03 often finds himself working on multiple projects, deals and transactions simultaneously. Robertson credits his ability to manage these varied demands to the Professional Program at Mays Business School.
“The class load and workload required to complete the Professional Program is challenging,” Robertson says of his experience. “It requires students to learn to manage their time between classes, projects, tests and outside responsibilities. Juggling all these different demands and still successfully completing the program entrenched a work ethic serves me well in my job today.”
The PPA program started just over 20 years ago after Texas lawmakers mandated that accounting students have 150 hours of accounting education instead of 120. Accounting faculty at Mays responded with a combination of courses that prepare students not only for careers as accountants, but also for possible careers in other business fields.
“We felt that the spirit of the increased requirements was to have students develop more skills and to have a broader understanding of business,” explains James Benjamin, accounting department head and one of the architects of the PPA program. “Since many CPAs ultimately take jobs outside of public accounting, we feel that master’s degrees in other fields may help with career advancement.”
In August 1992, 30 students entered the PPA program in August 1992 — a small number compared to the current roster accepted year of almost 250 students. PPA students receive their bachelor’s in accounting and then choose a master’s degree from one of five programs: marketing, finance, accounting, management information systems or entrepreneurial leadership. Offering a variety of master’s degrees makes the PPA program at Mays unique, Benjamin says. It has propelled the program to one of the world’s top-ranked.
“We are consistently one of the top suppliers of new hires for the Big Four accounting firms,” Benjamin says of the program’s success.
Also, more students in the Mays program pass the CPA exam than in any other school in Texas.
Matthew Josefy ’04 finished the PPA program with his master’s in finance, and worked for companies like PricewaterhouseCoopers and Bank of America before returning to Mays to work on his PhD in management.
“It was only as a professional that I realized how unique the intensity of the recruiting efforts directed at the graduates of the program really were,” Josefy says of the opportunities the program creates. “It provides a reliable launch pad for incredibly talented students. Even in the midst of what I hope was the most severe downturn in our lifetime, the vast majority of the graduates of the program were receiving solid job offers.”
Kaitlyn Lentz, who will graduate from the program in May, says it appealed to her because of the opportunity to develop both her talent for accounting and her passion for marketing. She has a job lined up at Marathon Oil after graduation, and says she feels prepared for a dynamic career in any industry.
“From my experience in the PPA program, I have learned to individually approach problems and challenges,” she asserts.
About Mays Business School
Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School educates more than 5,000 undergraduate, master’s and doctoral students in accounting, finance, management, management information systems, marketing and supply chain management. Mays consistently ranks among the top public business schools in the country for its undergraduate and MBA programs, and for faculty research. The mission of Mays Business School is creating knowledge and developing ethical leaders for a global society.