Innovator Article

Will Snyder Leads New Master of Professional Accountancy Program
Former Deloitte Partner Brings Energy, Expertise and Enthusiasm

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By Joanna Corman

Will Snyder retired last December after teaching accounting for more than 22 years at San Diego State University. Less than a month later he jumped at the opportunity to take the helm of the UC Davis Graduate School of Management’s new Master of Professional Accountancy (MPAc) program that starts this fall.

As executive director, Snyder leads the MPAc program and will teach three of the courses. The School’s nine-month program is the first professional accounting master’s degree program at a University of California campus.

An expert in financial and tax accounting, Snyder brings more than two decades of award-winning teaching experience and top-line professional industry practice. He started his career as a certified public accountant and was a partner at Deloitte, one of the Big Four global accounting firms.

After teaching several college courses while working at Deloitte, Snyder found a new calling as a full-time accounting professor at the Charles W. Lamden School of Accountancy at San Diego State University. He retired from SDSU with more than three dozen teaching honors to his credit, including named the annual “Most Influential Faculty Member” a record 12 times. He also taught accounting at his alma mater, the University of Southern California.

In 2010, Snyder was recognized as an Outstanding Accounting Educator by the 36,000-member CalCPA and the California CPA Education Foundation. The award honors full-time accounting educators who have “made a significant contribution to the growth and enhancement of the education profession through course development or research relating to study, teaching and practice of accountancy.”

Snyder is putting his entrepreneurial spirit to work at UC Davis at a historic moment for accounting education in California. Beginning in 2014, a new law will require those seeking a Certified Public Accountant license in the state to complete five years of post-secondary education at an accredited college or university.

While a master’s degree is not required, the UC Davis graduate degree will exceed the state’s new education requirements and give students a definitive edge in their careers in an increasingly competitive and growing global industry, Snyder says.

Starting the degree program two years before the law goes into effect shows the School is innovating ahead of the curve, including building key relationships with top accounting firms to hire UC Davis graduates, Snyder says.

“That we’re jumping in now can only pay tremendous dividends down the road,” he says. “My hope is other institutions and the profession will be looking to UC Davis’ Master of Professional Accountancy program as the new model. We can be the leader that starts out in front.”

Daria Costello, the new MPAc program manager, has been working closely with Snyder. His energy and enthusiasm for teaching and the profession, she says, have a huge impact on prospective students. “They will have the benefit of working with an expert in his field who is also so clearly dedicated to their success.”

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