Wake Forest University graduate earns top CPA exam award
August 8, 2008
A graduate of Wake Forest University’s Calloway School of Business and Accountancy is the winner of a national Certified Public Accountant (CPA) exam award.
Walker F. Saik, who graduated with a Master of Science in Accountancy degree from the Calloway School in 2007, is a winner of the Elijah Watt Sells Award. Saik is among 10 candidates who earned the highest cumulative scores on all four sections of the 2007 Uniform CPA Examination. The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) announced the 2007 winners July 21. Saik works for Ernst & Young in New Orleans.
"It’s a huge testament to the faculty and staff at Wake Forest and all the hard work they put into their master’s program,” Saik said about winning the award.“ They’ve created a curriculum at Calloway that focuses on individual attention and academic rigor, and it works.And they’re constantly listening to student input—changing their teaching methodsto better suit the current student make-up—which is a true sign of an excellent program.”
Saik was one of more than 76,000 examinees. He is the first Wake Forest winner of the award since the Calloway School added the fifth-year Master of Science in Accountancy program in 1997. As a group, Calloway School graduates have achieved the top national ranking six times and placed second in the nation three times for the highest percentage of candidates passing all four sections of the CPA exam on their first attempt.
For the past three consecutive years, Calloway School graduates achieved the highest passing rates in the nation on the CPA exam. According to results compiled by the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) for the 2006 exam, the most recent scores available, Wake Forest graduates led all candidates with advanced degrees by achieving a passing rate of 83.33 percent. Brigham Young University tied for top honors with an identical percentage passing rate.
"We are thrilled that one of our MSA students won this prestigious award,” said Yvonne Hinson, director of the accountancy program at the Calloway School. “I’m not surprised that a student like Walker could achieve this. He’s extremely talented, with excellent critical thinking skills and the ability to analyze a situation from many different angles.”
Coming into the Calloway School from Davidson College in 2006, Saik was a recipient of an AICPA John L. Carey Scholarship, which provides financial assistance to only a handful of liberal arts degree holders pursuing graduate studies in accounting and the CPA designation.
Saik took four courses from Ralph Tower, Calloway Professor of Taxation, who, like Hinson, described Saik as beinga pleasure to work with and to have in class. "Given his background, Walker was the ideal type of student: One that’s been through a rigorous academic program and still has enthusiasm and an inquiring mind to go with it,” Tower said. “He’s a very well-rounded person and someone who is interested in many dimensions of a subject. He was able to go beyond the mastery of the introductory material and explore the nuances of accounting.”
The Elijah Watt Sells Awards are presented annually. Candidates must have completed testing during the previous calendar year and passed each exam section on their first attempt. The award was createdin 1923 to honor Elijah Watt Sells, who was one of the country’s first CPAs and a leader in advancing professional education.
Successful completion of the CPA examination is required for licensure to practice public accountancy in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and major United States territories.
The Calloway School offers bachelor’s and master’s degrees in accounting as well as bachelor’s degrees in business, mathematical business and finance. BusinessWeek magazine ranks the Calloway School 21st among the nation’s top 50 undergraduate business schools, and U.S. News & World Report magazine ranks the school 27th. In its undergraduate business specialty rankings, U.S. News ranks the Calloway School 21st in accountancy and 18th in entrepreneurship.
For more information about the Calloway School, visit http://calloway.wfu.edu.