News from the Richard C. Adkerson School of Accountancy

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Student-Oriented in Meridian

(from left) Dr. Joseph Faello, Dr. Kevin Ennis and Dr. Seungjae Shin

(from left) Dr. Joseph Faello, Dr. Kevin Ennis and Dr. Seungjae Shin

Mississippi State’s Meridian branch has long been a source of excellence in accounting instruction. This fall, the Division of Business there has taken a step further in the opportunities it offers to students.

Previously, students in Meridian have earned a Bachelor of Business Administration degree with a concentration in accounting. Beginning this semester, a Bachelor of Accountancy degree will be offered.

“Now we’re seamless with Starkville,” notes Dr. Kevin Ennis, Associate Professor of Accounting. “The main change has been the addition of the Accounting Systems II course.”

Ennis, who has been teaching at Meridian since 1995, handles the Tax, Audit and Cost Accounting courses for the program.  Assistant Professor Dr. Joseph Faello came on board last year and teaches Financial Accounting and Accounting Systems I. Dr. Seungjae Shin, a Professor of Information Systems and Supply Chain Management who joined the faculty in 2003, leads Accounting Systems II.

MSU-Meridian has 539 students enrolled in three academic divisions: Business, Arts & Sciences and Education. The Division of Business is housed in the Deen Building of MSU-Meridian’s Riley campus, in the heart of the city’s business district.

The number of accounting students averages around 40, and most come from the four community colleges that lie within a 40-mile radius. With the Naval Air Station nearby, the program also enrolls a number of military personnel. A few students come from as far as Jackson, and some Starkville students drive down for summer evening courses.

“Most tend to be nontraditional, place-bound students,” observes Ennis. “We’re designed for people who have full-time jobs or families. They take freshman and sophomore level classes at community college and come to us as juniors.”

The students who are employed see very directly how what they learn in the classroom translates to the professional environment. Class discussions are usually peppered with examples and questions that come straight from their jobs.

“We’re very oriented to the needs of our students,” says Ennis. “Classes are small, and they’re taught by faculty who have practical experience. Scheduling accommodates those who have jobs – by leaving work an hour early one day a week, they can be enrolled in two college courses, which allows either a part-time or full-time course load.”

“Mississippi State Meridian works for me because it is only an hour away from my home, and most of my courses have been at 4:00 in the afternoon and 6:45 at night,” attests student Kristi Matthews. “Having professors who care about the students – not just their passing a test, but knowing the material and being able to apply it to real situations – makes all the difference in the world.”

Matthews works for Parish Transport Logistics in Ellisville, MS, where she is the Accounting Manager for this company and for another, Lamb Transportation, as well as the back-up accounting manager for Parish Transport. She has 18 years of experience in accounting work and as an office manager. It was the economy and a passion for accounting that led her to pursue a bachelor’s degree.  Her studies have served as an example for the Matthews’ 17-year-old autistic son.

“He has seen how hard I work and how much I study and put into my schooling, and it shows him that you have to be committed to what you do,” she remarks.

Graduating magna cum laude in December, Matthews has continued her education in the spring through the master’s degree program at Mississippi College. It is common for students to move on to graduate school or law school, though many go right to work. The program encourages them to pursue professional certification.

Like Matthews, Meridian students typically understand in a practical way what their education will mean to their careers and their families. It drives them to excel.

“We get very bright students,” states Ennis. “They are motivated to do well because they want to improve their lives.”