A huge part of what makes the McIntire School of Commerce such an enriching community are the professors. One of our favorite professors is Craig Lefanowicz who teaches Accounting Policy in the fall and Accounting for Derivatives in the spring.
Professor Lefanowicz has been teaching at the University of Virginia for 14 years. He began his accounting career in audit and tax. After a few years, he left public accounting to pursue a Ph.D. in Accounting at the University of Texas at Austin. After earning his Ph.D., his first faculty position was at the University of Oregon, then at his alma mater, Michigan State University. When Professor Lefanowicz joined McIntire, he found a school with the right balance. “McIntire incorporates both the teaching and research element,” which was exactly the type of work environment he wanted. What he loves most about teaching are the students. “I strive to instill a sense of curiosity.”
Professor Lefanowicz teaches two courses in the M.S. in Accounting program. His classes focus a lot on engagement and discussion through case studies. He enjoys walking students through case assignments and is very accessible after class and during office hours. Casey Gaffney (M.S. in Accounting 2019) agrees: “Professor Lefanowicz is very supportive and always willing to help and walk us through complex topics and concepts.”
Accounting Policy incorporates your undergraduate accounting courses with the economics behind the debits and credits. We use cases to evaluate accounting methods and learn about past, present, and future regulations of accounting policy. A key part of the class is to analyze whether firms are doing their accounting to reflect the underlying economics or for a financial reporting benefit.
Accounting for Derivatives is a popular elective that attracts many students going into the financial services industry, or those curious about how financial institutions do their accounting. Professor Lefanowicz spends the first half of the semester making sure students are comfortable with the operational and financial reporting of banks. The latter half of the semester delves into derivative accounting, as well as the business uses and valuation of derivatives.
We asked Professor Lefanowicz what advice he has for future accounting professionals. “Be proactive with your supervisors about working with clients and industries that interest you. Keep in mind that it might be enticing to work with bigger, more well-known companies, but working with smaller clients early on in your career may offer more opportunities.” He also emphasizes finding your passion to balance the day-to-day stresses of life. “Approach your first job with patience and flexibility. It’s a learning experience.”
Outside of McIntire, Professor Lefanowicz enjoys playing golf with friends and spending time with his family. He truly enjoys engaging with his students and wants you to succeed. In our opinion, he is one of McIntire’s finest, and the M.S. in Accounting students are lucky to have him as a professor.