First Direct Admit Class, Sepetmber 2006
The first class of Direct Admits in September 2006

Direct Admit Celebrates 10 Years

 Alexandra Bricault, Robert Wood and Aleidy Diaz-Wells
Alexandra Bricault ’15, Robert Wood ’07 and Aleidy Diaz-Wells ’07 ’08 at a Direct Admit event held at Deloitte in 2011.

At a freshman reception for direct admit students sponsored by EY, Theresa Lefebvre ’14, ’15, decided where she wanted to work and what she wanted to do. Lefebvre went on to earn dual degrees in business and accounting and an MS in forensic accounting and was hired by EY.

Lefebvre, who works in IT risk assurance, said, “The direct admit program gave me the chance to meet with recruiters as early as my first semester on campus, and the connections I made as a freshman opened more doors throughout the rest of my time at UAlbany. Without these relationships, I never would have been able to earn my dream position at EY in Rochester.”

Since 2006, the School of Business has admitted business-oriented students with the most promise, those with the highest SAT and grade point averages, to the Direct Admit program. It is by invitation only.

Jeff Black and Neema Moghadam
Jeff Black ’76, vice chairman at Deloitte with Neema Moghadam ’12 at a Direct Admit reception.

Ten years of Direct Admit has welcomed 1,116 students into the school as freshmen, bringing them into the School of Business family two years sooner than most. They have the advantage of small sections of required classes in law and accounting, the opportunity to become involved in the school through clubs and events, and are able to use the services of the School of Business Office of Career Services.

Neema Moghadam ’12, now an account executive for NetSuite, took the opportunity to join clubs as a freshman. He joined the fledgling Albany Business Leaders Emerging, became president and grew the club from 25 to 200 members. He said that his experience with ABLE and the Direct Admit program have benefited him on the job. He explained, “Along with business acumen, I learned soft skills from working with different types of people.”

Though the criteria for joining the program has not changed and the UAlbany freshman class has remained the same size for the last several years, the size of the Direct Admit class varies. For instance, in the year the program was introduced, 83 students were admitted. In 2009, the number was up to 144, then down to 94 in 2011, and back up to 146 in 2015. University at Albany Senior Admissions Advisor Jaclyn Napoleon said, “Each year is different and while the Business School programs are consistently our most popular, we can’t fully know how many students will apply and ultimately qualify for the Direct Admit program.”

Napoleon’s office estimates that they share information about the Direct Admit program proportionately more than other majors, because business is the major the undergraduate recruiting office is asked about most often.

 Jeevan Sunny, Cara Smith, Troy Torres
Former students of the EY Trajectory program represent the school at a Direct Admit reception: EY Performance Improvement and Technology Consultant Jeevan Sunny ’14, and EY Risk Advisory Consultants Cara Smith ’15 and Troy Torres ’15.

Most students come from New York State, but the program enrolls business-oriented freshmen from across the country and the world, including Australian brothers Sam ’15 and Mike ’17 Rowley, stars of the UAlbany men’s basketball team.

According to Susan Maloney, director of undergraduate student services for the School of Business, the program attracts a high caliber of student who is “driven and focused.” Her colleague, Jason Cotugno, assistant director of undergraduate student services for the School of Business, agrees. He said, “Many are involved in the university’s honors program. They start college with 20, 30 or even 40 credits earned through advanced placement classes offered by their high schools, enabling them to earn dual and in some cases triple degrees.” Former Direct Admit student G.J. Gerner ’11, ’12, who works in Tax Technology and Data Analytic Services at EY, completed two majors. He noted, “By being able to take business classes earlier in my college career it helped me to be able to get a dual major in accounting and business administration in just four years.” Others use the flexibility to graduate early or study abroad.

Janelle Murphy ’10, ’11, senior associate at Duff & Phelps, said that the Direct Admit program provided opportunity from the start. “It opened doors to both internal and external opportunities very early in my college career, as potential employees, professors, advisors, and the like were impressed with the nature of the program. I was introduced to contacts in the accounting industry from a very early stage, some of which I am still connected to today. I was privileged to be a part of summer leadership programs, internship programs, and various other programs hosted by the Big Four accounting firms as a freshman! I was meeting industry leaders and partners in the industry because of the connections I was able to make through the program.”

Elda Di Re '83
EY Partner Elda Di Re ’83 speaks at a Direct Admit reception held at the firm.

One of the goals of Direct Admit is to welcome students into the School of Business family sooner – to build connection and opportunity. Kathryn Pendergast ’13, compliance examiner I at Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, who completed the Financial Analyst Honors Program and a minor in financial market regulation, said she connected with professors even before she took their classes. “Knowing the faculty of the School of Business was helpful in that there was always someone to go to for resume help or career advice. The Direct Admit program helped make the School of Business feel like a network of colleagues and friends.”

An estimated 80 percent of students who begin as Direct Admits graduate from the School of Business. Maloney said that those who leave find another subject that appeals to them. “Students admitted to the Direct Admit program are active and interested in many subjects. They have lots of options.”

Accepted high-school students are invited to receptions held each spring. Deloitte and EY have sponsored events at their New York City offices. Typically 20 to 30 families attend. Fall 2016 will bring a new class full of promise and youthful expectation, offering a head start to a smart, focused group of business professionals in training.