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American Accounting Association

Bentley University Bentley University
Awards First-Ever Doctoral Degree

Kwadwo N. Asare Earns PhD in Accountancy

Waltham, Mass. Bentley University has awarded its first doctoral degree to Kwadwo N. Asare, who earned a PhD in Accountancy after he successfully defended his dissertation "Essays on the Influence of Corporate Governance on Financial Analysts' Forecast-Related Judgments." Asare, known affectionately by his peers and colleagues as "Kojo," received his official degree on May 16, 2009 at the commencement ceremony for the McCallum Graduate School of Business at Bentley University.

"It is so appropriate, given Bentley's roots in accounting and finance, that our first PhD graduate should be in Accountancy. It is also highly appropriate that our first successful graduate from the PhD program should work in the area of corporate governance, a topic of such significance at this time of global financial crisis," said Sue Newell, director of PhD programs at Bentley University. Since its launch, Bentley's PhD program has been answering the demand for doctoral business students, specifically within Bentley's core areas of expertise: Business and Society (incorporating a broad focus on corporate social responsibility and corporate governance), Accountancy, and Business and IT. Asare's doctoral completion paves the way for future Bentley PhD candidates to achieve success in business research and serve as role models for the business leaders of tomorrow.

Asare came to study at Bentley through KPMG's PhD Project, a program that helps increase diversity in business by first increasing the diversity of business faculty in America's colleges and universities. "The PhD Project congratulates Dr. Asare on his wonderful achievement. Members of The PhD Project are often the first African, Hispanic or Native American in their doctoral program or on faculty at their school. It is especially fitting then, that Dr. Asare has become Bentley's first doctoral degree recipient," said Bernard J. Milano, president of the KPMG Foundation and the PhD Project Association. "We know that he will enrich the education and lives of all the students he reaches and will better prepare students of all races for the diverse business world they will encounter after college."

Since its inception in 1994, the PhD Project has helped increase the number of African-American, Latino and American Indian faculty from 294-965, an increase of over 300%. This not only creates a more diverse pool of role models and mentors who will encourage students to pursue business careers, but it also boosts the supply of business professors. The PhD project helps provide moral, social and financial support to its participants so they are able to fully devote themselves to their area of business research.

One essay in Asare's thesis investigated if and how corporate governance influences analysts' earnings forecast and asset allocation recommendations. He performed an experiment in which analysts from the both the US and the UK were asked them to estimate a firm's earnings forecast. Analysts were presented with information about a company's earnings and were also told that either the firm in question had above or below average corporate governance performance. Through the experiment, Asare found that UK analysts' forecasts were heavily influenced by a firm's poor corporate governance quality, while the US analysts' forecasts were more influenced when they believed corporate governance quality was above average.

Another essay in Asare's thesis tested how the quality of corporate governance affects investors' asset allocations in independent market settings. The results demonstrate the potential impact of investors' trust in a firm's corporate governance on asset values. This provides some explanation for recent phenomenon in the US financial sector where lack of transparency on the value of mortgage-backed securities resulted in a flight to safer assets like US Treasuries. He also used archival data to demonstrate that overly powerful CEOs (i.e. CEOs who are also Chairman of the Board) can negatively influence the financial markets because they are more likely to provide biased information to analysts, resulting in larger analysts' earnings forecast errors. The study found this phenomenon to be more prevalent in large firms than small firms likely because the CEOs of smaller and younger firms are more apt to have their interests aligned with the owners'.

BENTLEY UNIVERSITY is a leader in business education. Centered on teaching and research in business and related professions, Bentley blends the breadth and technological strength of a university with the core values and student focus of a close-knit campus. Our undergraduate curriculum combines business study with a strong foundation in the arts and sciences. The McCallum Graduate School emphasizes the impact of technology on business practice, in offerings that include MBA and Master of Science programs, PhD programs in accountancy and in business, and custom executive education programs. Located minutes from Boston in Waltham, Massachusetts, the school enrolls approximately 4,000 full-time undergraduate, 250 adult part-time undergraduate, 1,400 graduate, and 30 doctoral students. Bentley is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges; AACSB International The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business; and the European Quality Improvement System (EQUIS), which benchmarks quality in management and business education.

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