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It all adds up: Centenary University graduate writes his own ticket to Big 4 accounting firm

Irvington resident leverages the challenging 150-credit accounting curriculum and leadership activities to land his dream job.

HACKETTSTOWN, NJ (Warren County) — Darnel Burnette, a resident of Irvington, has hit the ground running after his recent graduation from Centenary University, landing his dream job with Big 4 accounting firm Ernst & Young LLP.

Burnette earned a Bachelor of Science in Accounting and Business Administration, a challenging 150-credit program that prepares Centenary graduates to take the CPA exam immediately after graduation.

As an undergraduate, Burnette sometimes took up to 22 credits a semester to complete his degree on time. He also participated in a professional internship in the auditing and tax departments at Nisivoccia LLP starting last summer.

For good measure, Burnette bolstered his demanding schedule with leadership activities, such as serving as Student Government Association president and as a team member of Enactus, the University’s nationally-recognized competitive business team. The result: A full-time job offer with Ernst & Young LLP working on the firm’s assurance and audit team in Hoboken.

A first-generation college student, Burnette said, “The education that Centenary offers is really broad. I’ve taken courses in marketing, accounting, finance, and more. Within accounting, I’ve studied real estate, taxation, and auditing. I feel like that will give me more versatility in the job market.”

Cheryl Veronda, dean of the University’s Business, Media, and Writing Department, pointed to the small class sizes and culture of excellence at Centenary as reasons for the success of business graduates like Burnette.

“Our students have so many opportunities to grow and lead,” Veronda said. “When they’re interviewing in the marketplace, Centenary graduates have a much better value proposition because they’re so well rounded. Having a breadth of knowledge is essential in the workforce today and makes the resumes of our graduates more robust. It’s one of the things that sets Centenary apart.”

“A lot of auditing firms won’t hire graduates who don’t have the 150 credits required to take the CPA exam because they’re not licensed or billable yet. So, from a pure business standpoint, Centenary accounting students graduate with an advantage,” Associate Professor of Business Dana Benbow said.

Jay Edwards

Born and raised in Northwest NJ, Jay has a degree in Communications and has had a life-long interest in local radio and various styles of music. Jay has held numerous jobs over the years such as stunt car driver, bartender, voice-over artist, traffic reporter (award winning), NY Yankee maintenance crewmember and peanut farm worker. His hobbies include mountain climbing, snowmobiling, cooking, performing stand-up comedy and he is an avid squirrel watcher. Jay has been a guest on America’s Morning Headquarters,program on The Weather Channel, and was interviewed by Sam Champion.

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