This past January, Christopher Ernest, G’07, was named partner of BlumShapiro, a business advisory firm, which has offices throughout New England.
Mr. Ernest, who lives in Hanson with his wife, Kristin Ernest, ’01; and their sons Cameron, 6; and Cooper, 3; received his bachelor’s degree in accounting from Stonehill College.
When it came time to continue his education, he found Bridgewater State University offered the most flexible schedule for him to pursue a master’s degree in management with a concentration in accounting and finance.
Within two years, Mr. Ernest earned his master’s by taking evening classes, all the while working full-time.
“Going into Bridgewater I didn’t know what to expect, but I was very impressed,” Mr. Ernest, 35, said. “The faculty and their commitment to students is ‘all in’ even for an evening student. It was just really professional grade all the way.”
He credits the BSU professors and class content for helping him prepare for the certified public accountant exam. “They had a good knowledge of what the educational requirements are to become a CPA,” he said.
Upon receiving his master’s, Mr. Ernest was able to complete and pass all four sections of the CPA exam in one year. It was the combination of studying at Bridgewater State and real-world experience working full-time that helped him pass each section on the first try, he said.
“Bridgewater students have some of the highest pass rates on the CPA exam,” Mr. Ernest said. “It’s much higher than other schools. Don’t get me wrong, I studied hard, but the Bridgewater education piece was huge for me.”
Now a partner at his firm, Mr. Ernest works well over 40 hours each week, helping clients in areas that include budget management, long-term planning, taxes and acquisitions. He loves his work and said for those considering a career in accounting and finance, there is more to the job than sitting behind a desk crunching numbers.
“I get to help people see what makes a business successful and what makes a business fail. I will come into the office and touch base with 10 different business owners and deal with 10 different issues,” he said. “So much of my day is spent on the phone helping clients. It’s exciting and never gets boring.” (Story by Heather Harris Michonski, University News)