Christopher Capuzzi (CBA ’05, GBA ’06) had a chance to graduate ahead of his class when he was in his third year at Fordham. But because he was not quite ready to begin his career and wanted to graduate with his classmates, he opted to enroll in the College of Business Administration’s dual-degree program.
The decision netted Capuzzi an M.B.A. in finance on top of his B.S. in public accounting.
“It allowed me to get my Certified Public Accounting license faster because I came from an accredited BS-MBA program,” said Capuzzi, 23, who found work after graduating as an auditor at KPMG International, a firm he worked for part-time while finishing his M.B.A. at Fordham.
“The program really prepared me for the real world,” he said. “As an undergraduate, when I stepped into my internship at KPMG, I felt confident.”
CBA’s dual-degree programs allow students to earn undergraduate and graduate business degrees at an accelerated pace. Students in the program earn a bachelor’s degree after 120 credits and a master’s degree after an additional 30 credits.
“It’s a great program because students can truly tailor it to their needs,” said Rosa Romeo, director of undergraduate accounting and dual-degree programs at CBA. “For example, students who want to work in finance can get their B.S. in public accounting and their M.B.A. in finance. They’ll be at an advantage, being that many more financial companies want people who have accounting knowledge.”
Dual-degree programs in other majors, such as the B.S. in marketing combined with an M.B.A. in information systems, have existed at CBA for quite some time. The school’s newest offerings are the B.S. in applied accounting and finance combined with an M.S. in professional accounting, and the B.S. in accounting information systems combined with an M.S. in professional accounting.
The programs are becoming more popular as students look to gain a competitive edge while still in school. But not everyone is accepted.
“It’s not easy,” Romeo said. “Students have to have top GMAT scores, SAT scores and cumulative GPA.”
CBA administrators begin pitching the program to high school seniors at open houses, and to underclassmen during freshmen orientation and a sophomore presentation.
“If they are interested, they speak to the junior dean, who advises them on their goals and sets them up with the director of dual degrees,” Romeo said. “I ask them what do they want to get out of it. I make sure it’s right for them.”
Once accepted into the M.B.A. or M.S. program, students complete their undergraduate classes on the Rose Hill campus and begin taking graduate courses at Lincoln Center. They are eligible to compete for academic honors as undergraduates and receive their B.S. degrees at commencement with their undergraduate class.
Dual-degree program students may complete both degrees in five years, as Capuzzi did, or choose to defer admission into the graduate portion for up to three years. Once enrolled in classes at GBA, students have six years to complete the graduate portion of the program.
“We’re seeing interest increase every year,” Romeo said. “Students want to get ahead. Undergraduates want to accomplish so many things in four short years. This gives them an opportunity to do it.
“More and more companies are looking at specific qualifications. Years ago, the college degree was that qualification. Now, the M.B.A. is the new degree to have, in essence. It gives students an extra edge. Some students say they know if they leave Fordham after earning their bachelor’s degree, they’ll never go back for graduate school.”
Rosa herself is a graduate of the dual degree program, having earned her B.S. in public accounting and her M.B.A. in finance.
“I had the foundation; the dual degree program helped,” she said.