The College of Business Administration at the University of Nebraska at Omaha is the first university in the state to be endorsed by the Institute of Management Accountants.
The Institute of Management Accountants, or IMA, is an international association that provides resources and opportunities for business schools through their more than 300 professional and student chapters.
With the endorsement of IMA, UNO’s college of business is among an exclusive group of 31 other universities across the country including Brigham Young University and the University of Pennsylvania.
“The endorsement is saying that we have the education requirements and our courses are rigorous enough to deliver the subject matter needed for the CMA exam,” said Department Chairperson Susan Eldridge, Ph.D., CPA. “It is great because now you’re telling students that you have faculty in the accounting department who can help you pursue what you want to choose.”
Efforts by Associate Professor of Accounting Roopa Venkatesh to utilize the resources provided by the Platte Valley chapter of IMA was a strong contributor to the strengthening of the Management Accountant program at UNO’s school of business. She is also the president of the chapter.
“We just want to do a better job telling [students] that public accounting is not the only option, but if it’s not for you, then there’s another option that is equally viable, lucrative and satisfying,” Venkatesh said.
IMA reviewed an application submitted by UNO’s college of business earlier in the summer, consisting of resources, syllabi and coursework used in the classes for students aspiring to have a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with an Accounting concentration and Master of Accounting degree programs.
Once the degree programs are completed, students take the Certified Management Accountant, or CMA, exam in order to receive the certification once passed.
A CMA’s job entails reviewing the day-to-day operations of companies and predicting the impacts on the future of the company.
This is different from a Certified Public Accountant, or CPA, that mainly deals with reviewing past financial data of a company, although a CMA heavily depends on the findings of CPAs.
“We’re telling students that, yes, you can go work for public accounting and audit the outcome, or you could also be involved in the staging side of the company that influences the outcome heavily,” Venkatesh said.
Eldridge believes that the endorsement will help UNO business graduates find employment due to the now-verified prestige of the program from which they graduated.
“We learn what the employers are looking for, and they understand the high quality of our programs and that our students are prepared and are good candidates for their jobs,” Eldridge said.
Businesses in Omaha have been hiring more financial services personnel recently. According to the most recent economic report by The Greater Omaha Economic Development Partnership, the number of financial services employees in the Omaha-Council Bluffs metropolitan area jumped by four percent from 42,700 to 44,500 between July 2016 and August 2017.
Eldridge also sees the endorsement as only one part of a larger effort to provide a better student experience during their time at UNO’s school of business.
“Providing students with more clear guidance and helping them understand the resources and opportunities they have: those are the big goals. Period.”