?It?s given us a great way to rebrand our program,? said Dr. Khondkar Karim, CPA, professor and accounting department chair at UMass Lowell?s Manning School of Business, who helped direct the process of his school gaining endorsement under the IMA Higher Education Endorsement Program.

UMass Lowell has close ties to IMA? (Institute of Management Accountants) through Sandra Richtermeyer, Ph.D., CMA, CPA, dean of the Manning School and a former IMA Global Board Chair. ?Sandy has spoken frequently about the benefits of the IMA endorsement program, emphasizing how it would help our students as well as our program,? said Karim.

Also spurring the process along was Karim?s meeting with Jodi Ryan, CAE, IMA director of member engagement, at an American Accounting Association conference in 2017. Following that conversation, Karim began the application process in earnest.

?Yes, it?s a lot of paperwork, but it?s manageable,? he explained. He noted that it?s important to work with faculty members not just in the accounting department but in other areas of the business school. Probably the most challenging part of the application: Mapping the school?s courses back to the CMA? (Certified Management Accountant) exam. Karim recalled that it took several weeks to meet with faculty and gather all the required information.

After submitting the paperwork, the rest was easy: IMA staff asked a few questions about the application, but most were easily answered. UMass Lowell earned its endorsement in April 2018. It?s the first public university in New England ? and just the second institution in the region (the other is Babson College) ? to earn this distinction. More than 50 universities around the world are endorsed under the IMA program.

To help promote and publicize its IMA endorsement, UMass Lowell mentions the fact on its website. Most notably, the page explains the meaning of IMA endorsement: ?Endorsement by IMA is a symbol showing that the Manning School of Business equips both undergraduate and graduate accounting students with the necessary professional skills for the job market and career progression in business. Manning accounting programs provide high-quality academic and applied education that is relevant to the profession and is in alignment with the vision to be regionally and internationally recognized.?

Commenting on the IMA endorsement, Richtermeyer said recently, ?Achieving this endorsement is a great example of how we elevate and build the value of our degree programs. Thanks to Karim?s leadership and the support of faculty teaching in the content areas of accounting, finance, information systems, and ethics, we are now in good company with other IMA-endorsed universities.?

For his part, Karim views the endorsement program as not just an accounting department effort. He?s been happy to promote the endorsement among students in finance, MIS, marketing, and even management.

?The CMA exam is not just about accounting but it?s good for all functional areas in business. It offers a very broad focus and can give students a lot of flexibility in their careers.?

For more information, please visit the Higher Education Endorsement Program section of IMA?s website.