Top accounting firms hire WFU grads at high rates


Katie Fox

Alumni of the Wake Forest University School of Business accredit their career successes at top accounting firms to their professors and the holistic business curriculum.

Breanna Laws, Staff Writer

 According to a report from higher education research group OnlineU, Wake Forest School of Business graduates are more likely to earn jobs at a “Big Four” firm than at any other business school. 

The report, which collected data from over 100 universities and 300,000 alumni, showed that more than 26% of Wake Forest accounting graduates are now employed by either Deloitte, Ernst & Young, KPMG or PwC, the top four accounting firms in the United States. 

This is not the first milestone of success that the Wake Forest School of Business has reached over the past several years, particularly in the accounting department. The School of Business has retained the highest Certified Public Accountant Exam pass rate more often than any other school in the last 20 years. Additionally, the accounting program had a 100% employment rate for 2019 graduates within three months of graduation and has been consistently recognized for its ability to send graduates to high-level accounting firms. 

These accolades follow other significant rankings of the School of Business, one of which is The Economist’s second-place rating of the School of Business as a top choice for career opportunities. 

“I’m not surprised to see the success Wake is having placing students at the top firms,” said James Barker, a 1993 accounting program graduate. “Wake is a national recruiting school for all the firms and Wake grads tend to be top performers among their start classes.” 

Another 1993 accounting program graduate, Jessica Good, also holds the Wake Forest Business School in high regard. 

“I’m proud to be a Wake Forest University accounting graduate, and the program has been great for decades,” Good said. 

Some alumni reflected on their careers since graduating from the School of Business and commented on how the professors and curriculum have set them up for success. 

 Currently, Barker is working as a consultation partner in Deloitte’s national office. Over his career, he has worked for two different accounting firms. He has also worked out of four office locations, including international locations. Barker highlighted the excellent job security he has experienced even during economic downturn. 

“Good accountants seem to always be in high demand,” Barker said. 

Good also believes that the professors of accounting hold a large amount of influence over their students. 

“The consistency in the culture of the program and the dedication of the professors to prepare students for the accounting technical world is stellar,” she said. “The professors also strive to challenge the students to become strong business people, problem solvers and leaders.” 

Now well into her career at PwC, Good believes that the teaching at Wake Forest is still positively impacting her today. 

“This focus on a holistic business education has served me well for almost 30 years and continues to prepare current graduates for successful careers.” 

Mark Evans, the Associate Dean for Accountancy, agreed that the Wake Forest accounting program does well at preparing its students for their future endeavors. 

“The program is rigorous yet personal and market-driven, yet conceptually grounded,” Evans said. 

Among the many benefits of the School of Business’s curriculum are the Graduate Consulting Projects (GCP) in the Masters in Management program (MSM). The GCP allows a designated team of students to work directly with a business-sponsored client in order to further develop vital professional skills. 

Evans emphasized the ability of professors to connect with their students, as well as to stay updated on the current climate of the business world. 

“The Accountancy faculty get to know each and every student, and we stay closely engaged with the profession so that we know what is on the horizon in business and accounting.” 

Evans also gave praise to the alumni of the accounting program who have been earning positions at top firms at outstanding rates and making the School of Business proud. 

“Our young alums consistently receive high marks from employers on their work ethic and their ability to understand and complete complex analytic tasks,” Evans said. 

He also emphasizes the successes of the accounting graduates that have been settled into their careers for longer periods of time. 

“Our seasoned alums continue to assume impactful leadership roles in business and accounting,” Evans said. 

The Graduate School of Business began classes on Jan. 15. Both the undergraduate and graduate accounting programs hope to continue to provide cutting-edge education for their students so that students are fully equipped to keep earning positions at prestigious firms.