This August Mark Metz ’11 received more than just the news that he was now a certified public accountant. He learned he passed an Illinois milestone.
Metz, a native of Batavia, Ill., discovered he was the 100,000th person in the state since 1903 to pass the exam to become a certified public account.
“I was taking a vacation day when my friend called me up and told me to check out the website for the Illinois Board of Examiners,” Metz said, referring to the government body that approves CPA certification. “I saw my name on the front page and there was an article about it. It was pretty cool.”
And as a graduated of Bradley’s integrated 3:2 accounting program, a 5-year program where students earn both undergraduate and graduate accounting degrees, Metz is not alone.
More than 75 percent of Bradley alumni with graduate degrees pass the parts of the CPA exam on their first try while the national average hovers around 50 percent.
“Our faculty knows what it takes to be successful in accounting and they bring that into the classroom every day,” said Dr. Simon Petravick, chair and professor for the accounting department. “And their handwork shows in the success of our students.”
Bradley’s pass rate was the highest out of the 24 colleges in Illinois that had CPA candidates with advanced degrees in 2011. When compared nationally, the University’s pass rate for CPA candidates with advanced degrees ranks 17 out of 447 schools.
The accounting department can also boast a 100 percent job placement rate within six months of graduation for all undergraduates, master candidates and 3:2 program graduates.
“I came to Bradley knowing they had the 3:2 program. That was one of the reasons I went there,” Metz said about the program designed for students who want to earn both undergraduate and graduate degrees in accounting. “It was nice to go straight into graduate school and all my teachers were great.”
After graduation, Metz began working at CliftonLarsonAllen LLP, an auditing firm in Peoria and now is changing jobs to work with Ernst & Young, one of the “Big Four” accounting firms, in Chicago.
Metz said one of his more memorable classes at Bradley dealt with advanced auditing. The course taught him about the human side of accounting, like how to work directly with clients, something that has come in handy during his career.
“We go out to clients and it’s a lot of interacting with people so we need to know both the technical and personal aspect, which was a big part of advanced auditing,” Metz said. “I didn’t really appreciate that part until I got out in the field.”