Over the summer 25 incoming freshmen and transfer students attended a three-day Accounting Boot Camp at DePaul University that immersed students in foundational accounting principles. The boot camp was hosted by Willie Reddic, assistant professor, and Brian Maj, program administrator at the School of Accountancy and Management Information Systems.
“The goal of the boot camp is to strengthen the retention of students from day one through the completion of their degree,” says Maj. “A new student needs to be inspired by confidence—that they can successfully complete their degree.”
The boot camp is geared toward African American and Hispanic students who are newly admitted to the Driehaus College of Business. The goal of the program is to increase students’ familiarity with accountancy material before their college enrollment, with the goal of strengthening confidence toward degree fulfillment.
“Most of our students of color who initially declared accounting and/or business majors decided to transfer over to other colleges after performing poorly in foundational accounting courses,” says Reddic. “We determined that this could potentially be a problem in the long-run for our department. Our hopes are to retain as many students of color in the school of business by giving them a foundation of accounting before they begin the program.”
The Accounting Boot Camp allows students of color to see their own potential for success in business through exposure to faculty and mentors who look like them. It also gives students the opportunity to connect with peers who are entering business school and considering accounting as a career path. To that end, the students also visited a local top accounting firm to see firsthand what it is like to work at one of these companies.
“Many of these students come from high schools and programs that are underperforming academically,” says Maj. “While they have strong potential, they may not be prepared to go to business school. They just need to take down the wall of intimidation, so that they can see themselves as graduates and associates at any firm or company.”
The Accounting Boot Camp will be held again in the summer of 2016 with additional support from DePaul’s Department Initiative Grants Program. The grant money will go towards housing students who live far from campus in residence halls during the three-day program. Reddic plans to update the program by creating more opportunities for students to interact informally with faculty and asking current business students who have obtained internships to discuss their experiences with the boot camp participants. Reddic also is seeking more corporate sponsorships to open the boot camp to additional entering students.
“For the inaugural class, I think the boot camp went very well and was a success,” says Reddic. “I am definitely enjoying hearing the positive comments made by the students that attended this past summer and look forward to an even more successful boot camp next year.”
Below is some of the feedback from students:
I was terrified of accounting because I have never taken an accounting course. Now, I feel confident. All the information is very much appreciated. Everything from Dr. Reddic’s lectures to all the advice I’ve received is amazing and I can’t wait to start classes in the fall.”
Thanks again for the accountancy boot camp these last three days. I’m definitely thinking about majoring in accountancy now and really hope I can take Dr. Reddic’s course of Accounting 101. I learned a lot about accounting and school itself.”
Once again, thank you for organizing the program. It truly has opened my eyes to accounting (a field of business I would never have thought twice about before this). I believe that exposure is the key to getting students involved in accounting. There is no doubt in my mind that every person who took that class has a new found appreciation and understanding of the field, whether they choose to study it or not.”
Below is a slideshow of the event: