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Lehigh’s accounting program ranks No. 1 among students

For the third consecutive year, College of Business and Economics seniors surveyed by BusinessWeek magazine gave Lehigh’s accounting program high marks.

Only this year, they were the highest marks in the country.

Lehigh earned the top spot among the nation’s premier accounting programs after finishing in sixth and ninth place the previous two years. The results were published Monday afternoon on BusinessWeek’s Web site as part of its annual undergraduate specialty program rankings.

The specialty rankings are a reflection of student opinion about the quality of programs at their respective business schools. This year, the magazine surveyed more than 80,000 senior business majors at 127 business schools as part of its annual undergraduate business school rankings program. About 23,000 responded to the survey.

In that survey, students answer about 50 questions and are asked to rank a total of 11 different business academic programs on a scale of one to five.

“We’re proud that students rewarded our accounting program with the highest honors,” says Paul R. Brown, who is in his first year as dean of the College of Business and Economics. “I think, more than anything, the student ranking is a reflection of the dedication of our faculty and the rigorous nature of our curriculum.”

Brown cautions about placing too much emphasis on rankings, however. “We have a lot to be proud of here at the College of Business and Economics, and not all of our strengths can easily be packaged into a rankings snapshot,” he says. “But they can illustrate the kind of company you keep—as well as the quality of your students, your faculty and your academic curriculum.”

Elsewhere in the BusinessWeek rankings, the college’s students say Lehigh does an excellent job at finding internship opportunities and work experiences for them, ranking Lehigh 22nd in the “Experience Wanted” category.

They also say they hit the books more often than most of their counterparts, averaging more than 15 hours of out-of-classroom study every week—good for 13th in the country.

Parveen Gupta, chair of the accounting program, has long believed that Lehigh’s accounting program is strong and competitive.

“We spend a lot of time talking with our corporate partners, revising our curriculum to reflect changes in the industry while frequently putting our program through an intensive program evaluation,” Gupta says.

This past year, the accounting program maintained its accreditation with The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), which specifically cited high student satisfaction, highly dedicated alumni, and a strong advisory board as just a few of the program’s strengths.

“Our alumni have gone on to make significant contributions just a few years out of Lehigh,” he adds. “Our accounting program can really only be measured by their success and performance in both entry-level positions and positions of leadership.”

According to BusinessWeek, Lehigh is also to be commended for its “Return on Investment,” a category that compared annual tuition costs with the median starting salaries of its graduates. Of the nation’s private schools, Lehigh finished 17th.

Since 2006, BusinessWeek has ranked the nation’s business schools using a formula that includes student and corporate feedback, as well as data provided by the institutions. Lehigh ranked 25th this year.

--Tom Yencho

Posted on Tuesday, March 25, 2008

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