It’s not typical of most graduate students to turn down a tuition waiver so that they can fit in extra time to study – but that’s exactly what West Virginia University student Jared Proctor did.
Proctor, a Master of Professional Accountancy (MPA) student from Sissonville, West Virginia, politely turned down a graduate assistantship position offered to him by Dr. Christian Schaupp, with the intentions of studying instead to complete the CPA exam in full in less than a year’s time.
Due to Proctor’s dedication to the field, Dr. Schaupp nominated him for a Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) Scholarship to cover the expenses of his MPA studies.
“My goal as it stands this year is to take the FAR (Financial Accounting and Reporting) section and AUD (Audit) section in January 2016 and pass those two parts, then potentially pass a third part at the end of the spring semester and leave one part left of the CPA exam (for the summer),” Proctor said. “I’ll probably end up enrolling in the section of Becker’s Fast-Pass when it is offered on campus in July.”
The uniform CPA exam consists of four parts and is considered to be one of the most difficult professional licensure exams in the United States. Becker’s Fast-Pass is a comprehensive exam and review course.
Proctor’s motivation to get it done alongside his MPA studies comes from being his parent’s son; both of Proctor’s parents are accountants who understand the importance of early CPA completion and have encouraged him, from the beginning, to take the exam seriously – and take it early.
“My dad is an internal auditor and my mom is a CPA and CEO of the West Virginia Society of CPAs, and ever since I declared accounting as my major, they’ve been preaching to me to complete the CPA as soon as possible,” he said. “My mom was trying to pass the exam while taking care of two kids and working full-time. She doesn’t want me to happen into a similar situation in the future, but, rather, that I get it over with now.”
“This past spring break, I received an email nomination from Dr. Barbara Apostolou from the accounting department about an available scholarship, and came straight to B&E from being on break to discuss it with (Schaupp),” Proctor said. “We sent in my resume and a one-page biography with the application, and I found out around a month later that I had been awarded the scholarship for my graduate year.”
The merit scholarship awards $10,000 to Proctor and 83 other students from different universities to encourage them to pursue a career in audit. Each college and university can only nominate one student for PCAOB who is enrolled in a bachelor or master’s degree program in accounting who demonstrates interest and aptitude in accounting and auditing with high ethical standards.
This is PCAOB’s fifth year granting student scholarships; the award is a first for the College of Business and Economics at WVU, since colleges and universities selected for nomination for PCAOB Scholarships are on a rotating basis, and each school can only have one student nominated only once every five years.
As far as Proctor’s post-graduate plans, he has accepted a position with Suttle and Stalnaker, a public accounting firm in Charleston, West Virginia, for which he has worked the last three summers as an intern.
Proctor is optimistic about his year in graduate school, and hopes to use his MPA studies as a kind of CPA exam review.
“I figure that the time I spend reviewing my class material and studying hard to achieve good grades in my graduate classes should in turn help me do well on the CPA exam,” he said. “I opted for the MPA program because it helps me get to my 150 hours (to be licensed), prepares me for the CPA exam and gives me the option to teach when I retire. I’m happy to have that option in my back pocket, since I’ve talked to current accountants who regret not doing the work in order to have an opportunity to teach.
“WVU has truly provided the best value for me in terms of education; I feel very much prepared by my professors at B&E to go out and work, since professionalism has been stressed to me and my classmates since day one. Even though my father is a Marshall graduate and my mother a University of Charleston alum, they saw benefit in my brother and I coming to WVU – and we have most definitely reaped those benefits.”