OXFORD, Miss. – University of Mississippi doctoral candidate Dereck Barr of Oxford has been awarded the KPMG Minority Accounting Doctoral Fellowship for the third straight year.
Barr, who graduated from Oxford High School in 1997, received both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in accountancy from Ole Miss, in 2002 and 2004 respectively. In his third year of the Patterson School of Accountancy’s doctoral program, he serves as a graduate research and teaching assistant. He says the $10,000 annual award is making a difference.
“The financial support has allowed me to reduce my teaching load during the program, which lets me focus more intently on coursework and research,” he said. “In addition, I am able to spend less time worrying about how I will be able to manage my financial obligations.”
His association with KPMG’s Accounting Doctoral Students Association has also been a plus.
“The network of fellow Ph.D. students and faculty within the ADSA has provided guidance and support, and helped me to stay on track,” he said.
Barr was accepted into the Patterson School’s doctoral program based on his academic record and his work experience, said Dale Flesher, associate dean.
“We are proud of Dereck’s accomplishments because he is a longtime member of the Ole Miss family,” Flesher said. “He received both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Ole Miss, so we knew what we were getting when we admitted him. He also had excellent work experience, as he was an internal auditor for FedEx Corp. FedEx has one of the most professional internal audit staffs in the country.”
After five years at FedEx, Barr left as a lead auditor in 2009 to enter the Ph.D. program. He had worked specifically in the company’s international audit division and traveled the world performing audits of the operations, finance and information systems functions. He also did private consulting work regarding the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.
Barr said he chose UM for his doctorate for several reasons, including the school’s consistent ranking as one of the nation’s top 25 accountancy doctoral programs. He also was interested in research opportunities.
“While the program is rigorous, students are allowed to create a program that fits their research interests,” he said. “And the administration is committed to increasing the university’s research profile, which brings in more money and helps students at all levels get better jobs.”
After completing his doctorate in 2013, Barr plans a career in higher education.
The KPMG Foundation Minority Accounting Doctoral Scholarship program aims to increase the completion rate among African-American, Hispanic-American and Native American doctoral students in accounting, and is part of a larger commitment by the KPMG Foundation to increase minority representation not only in accounting programs at colleges and universities, but in the American workforce.
For more information, the School of Accountancy.