Once again, the Merrick School of Business is the single largest producer of graduates who go on to lead the largest accounting firms in the Baltimore area. According to the Baltimore Business Journal—which each year compiles the list of the 25 largest accounting firms with offices in metropolitan Baltimore with more employees, more clients and more revenue generated than other area firms—UB graduates make up a big part of the total number of CEOs at these big companies. This year, that number is 10 out of 25. Over the past several years, no single institution can claim a larger number of its graduates holding the reins at these area firms.
"For the last three or four years, we have been checking the Baltimore Business Journal’s Book of Lists to see how many of our alumni are CEOs," said Dean Darlene Smith. "We take great pride in seeing the familiar names of our graduates pop up again and again. It's clear that if you are a talented accountant, hold a degree from UB and go on to join a local firm, there's a good chance that you will be on the managing partner-track."
Smith says it isn't just a matter of geography that leads so many Merrick graduates to occupy the corner office.
"We understand the importance of the local business school connection," she said. "We believe that launching the honors accounting program last fall helped us toward reaching our goal of being the preferred recruiting choice for accounting talent in the area. I know our students are hard workers; they have a commitment like no other. Their future achievements are not only about the skills and competencies that they acquire today, but their inner drive and persistent resolve that will help them develop into leaders. We provide them with the tools, so that they may one day rise to senior leadership roles like our 10 alumni."
UB accounting graduates are also known for starting their own firms—across the region there are dozens of examples of this pathway. But, as Smith noted, Merrick produces a remarkably large share of accountants who emphasize both high quality and high volume as a feature of their portfolios.
"We're not a gigantic school, so it's not just the law of averages that triggers the kind of success our graduates exemplify," she said. "I believe it's because we're teaching accounting in a way that top-level professionals—including our graduates— recommend. The success shows, year in and year out, in this and other important metrics. In this particular case, I find it inspiring to see so much success right at our doorstep."
The leaders and their firms’ ranking in the 2011 Book of Lists are:
• H. Terry Hancock, B.S. '80, CPA, managing partner of Clifton Gunderson (#4 on the list)
•Gary Perlow, CERT '81, CPA, co-managing principal of the Reznick Group (#7)
•Simpson H. Gardyn, M.S. '80, CPA, CVA, managing partner of Gorfine, Schiller & Gardyn, P.A. (#9)
•David A. Goldner, M.S. '83, CPA, CFP, CVA, managing partner for Gross, Mendelsohn and Associates (#13)
•Arthur Flach, M.S. '83, CPA, Baltimore Office Partner-in-Charge of Grant Thornton (#16)
•Jeffrey M. Coleman, J.D. '76, CPA/ABV, CVA, managing partner of Weil, Akman, Baylin & Coleman (#19)
•Jeffrey N. Berman, M.S. '96, CPA, CFP, PFS, managing partner of K,B,S,T & M, P.A. (#21)
•Frank G. Savarese, B.S. '79, M.S. '86, CPA, CFP, managing partner of Weyrich, Cronin and Sorra (#22)
This article first appeared in the June 2011 issue of The Merrick Exchange newsletter.