About Our Blogs

Here you will find Canisius College graduate students sharing their thoughts and experiences. These posts explore the dedication and responsibilities of a being a graduate student, as well as the triumphs and successes.


Fraud Research

By Amanda | April 20, 2014

I recently completed a research project in my financial statement fraud class in which we had to research a major financial statement fraud. The company I chose was Bristol-Myers Squibb who committed fraud in the earlier 2000s. Bristol overstated their revenue by over $2.5 million and had to restate their financial statements.

While most people would search the web for news articles about this fraud on The Wall Street Journal or New York Times, there is another source. The SEC website is an excellent resource to use to uncover the specific details of a certain fraud. I learned about this website in my fraud examination class last semester.

The SEC provides a search engine in which you can search for a specific company. I searched for my company, Bristol-Myers Squibb. The search engine provided me with litigation releases and the complaint against Bristol. This provided me with valuable information about the different frauds that occurred at Bristol.

The SEC also keeps records of company filings in their EDGAR database. I was able to access Bristol’s annual reports from 1999, 2000, and 2001. These annual reports gave me the original financial statements that I could compare to the restated financial statements. The database also had the amended annual report from these years that also described the frauds.

With the help of the SEC, I was able to thoroughly research Bristol and the frauds they committed. Other information can also be found about the company that can be useful. I would recommend using the SEC site when looking into public companies.

Category: Forensic Accounting | No Comments »

Strategic Blogging

By Cody Elniski | April 11, 2014


Hello All! I hope your week has been going well. This week’s entry will delve into a project we are currently tasked with in our Strategic Management class. This class is unique because it is spread over two semesters. The course starts at the midpoint of the spring semester and continues until the end of the first summer session. It is a capstone course that requires the fulfillment of a project and many case studies. There are no exams! This week marked the due date of our first case study. The case study detailed the history of the video game industry. We had to write a paper explaining what we thought was the biggest issue currently facing the industry. It was a very interesting assignment.

In regards to the capstone project, the One-Year students were split into groups and each one picked a different company to work worth. The goal of the assignment is to help the chosen company with whatever business guidance they need. My group chose the Catholic Academy of West Buffalo. This is a highly diversified Catholic elementary school ranging from Pre-K to 8th grade. The school has been steadily increasing its academic standing amongst its peers. However, they need some marketing assistance to pull new students into their institution. We had our initial meeting with them on Thursday and are very excited to help them excel.

We are getting pretty close to the end of the semester. The wheels are in motion and every week feels like a triumph. Next week is cut short due to the holiday and we have a four day weekend! For those of you who will graduate after this semester, I wish you all the best. Keep up the hard work it’s almost over! Next week will be my last entry for the semester, but I’ll be back for the summer.

Category: Uncategorized | No Comments »

Gifted students… What do they need?

By April | April 8, 2014

I have been making a lot of progress with school work! There is still a lot more left to do, but I am proud of what I have accomplished so far this semester! It’s been a very busy semester, which is why it has moved along so fast!

I am currently working hard in all of my classes, but especially for my unit plan in my one class. It has been really interesting learning all about the needs of gifted students and for how to use strategies to teach these unique students! Now I am trying to tie all I have learned together and apply it to actual lessons that I can use with gifted students in the future. My unit is going to be on Elements of Fiction so I’m going to teach about theme, character traits, etc. Some of the big gifted education strategies that I am going to incorporate into the unit include technology, SCAMPER, DeBono’s 6 Thinking Hats, and possibly a Squiggle! These are all strategies that I want to try to implement in my lessons because they are so great for gifted students needs. These strategies foster creativity, higher-order thinking, multiple perspectives, and engagement in gifted students learning. These strategies can  be used by teachers to appropriately challenge gifted learners so they are not bored in the classroom. I have not actually created my unit yet, but within the next two weeks I will hopefully do so, as well as work on my other assignments too. Lots of stuff to do in the next few weeks, I hope I stay healthy! (I have a tendency to get sick when I have a lot to do in short time periods!)

I am also working on some ideas for my guided reading lesson for my literacy course which has also been somewhat challenging since I have not done a lesson quite like this in my past experiences. Although,  I will start start working on building ideas within the next 2 weeks, and I will put it together soon!

I will post about my progress on these major assignments soon! :)


Category: Differentiated Instruction | No Comments »

Concentrate on Concentration

By Cody Elniski | April 4, 2014


The college experience is truly a fantastic thing. One of the biggest and most important aspects of earning your degree is deciding what you will major in. What is the subject you could see your career revolving around? This could be an incredibly easy decision for some and a terrible nightmare for others. The key is to not get too worried and let the motivation come to you. In time, your major will find you without you even knowing it! This week I’ll mostly discuss how I chose my undergraduate major and what led me to pursue the One-Year MBA program.

I have always had a thing for numbers and puzzles. I was always good at problem solving and math. I wanted to major in accounting because it is fundamentally a combination of both of these areas. This desire led me to my undergraduate degree. Upon completion, I felt that I needed more. I grew fond of the business world throughout my first four years of college. Instead of attending graduate school to further my accounting degree, I wanted to develop a broader range of business expertise. After conducting a ton of research I found that an MBA was my best option. The program at Canisius was especially unique because it allowed me to achieve my degree in one year. That is how I ended up in the One-Year Program.

What is great about an MBA is that it opens opportunities for practically any undergraduate degree. There is a wide variety of students in our class with very different backgrounds. These include Philosophy, Theatre, and Law. Don’t be discouraged if you have an undergrad degree that isn’t business related. Another week has concluded as the semester steadily approaches an end. Good luck studying and look forward to next week’s blog!

Category: Uncategorized | Comments Off

MSA Students Experience NCAA Tournament

By Janelle | April 4, 2014

On March 20th and 22nd, the 2nd and 3rd rounds of the NCAA Men’s Basketball tournament took place right here in Buffalo, NY at the First Niagara Center (Home of the Buffalo Sabres and the Buffalo Bandits). The tournament was co-hosted by The Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) as well as Canisius College and Niagara University.  Both Undergraduate Sport Management students as well as MSA students had the opportunity to work at this tournament. Prior to this event, students also had the opportunity to travel to Massachusetts to get involved with the (MAAC) basketball tournament.

Here is what some of our students had to say about these opportunities:

“Volunteering at this year’s NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament was an unforgettable experience that gave me a better understanding of how an actual live sporting event takes place.  It was awesome meeting all of the media, coaches, players, and athletic directors from all the different schools.” - Undergraduate Sport Management Student

“Being able to work the NCAA Men’s Basketball tournament was a great opportunity to network with professionals from the MAAC and the teams administrators who were at the tournament. I was also able to work the NCAA Men’s Basketball tournament with a few Canisius MSA students last year in San Jose, California where we got to meet and network with some great people from the West Coast Conference and San Jose Sports Authority. Working the event gave me some great knowledge and insight with how an event of that magnitude is put together and ran behind the scenes.”-MSA Student

“In my two years at Canisius as a member of the MSA program, I have worked two NCAA men’s basketball regionals and both were phenomenal experiences for me. As a lifelong sports fan, it was thrilling to share a supervisory role in one of the world’s premiere sporting events and as a potential job seeker the ability to network with administrators from participating schools, their conferences and the NCAA was even more valuable.” -MSA Student
“Working at the tournament was a once in a lifetime opportunity and it was so cool to work behind the scenes of a sporting event that I watched since I was little.” -Undergraduate Sport Management Student
 Janelle Stegeland & Samantha Deem
Category: Sport Administration, Uncategorized | Comments Off

Just Another Tool

By Amanda | April 3, 2014

One of the really cool things about my financial statement fraud class is the ability to apply what is learned in class to a company’s financial statements. Last class, we applied the Beneish M-Score Model to Green Mountain Coffee’s financial statements.

Professor Messod Beneish created the Beneish Model and it uses 8 financial ratios to determine whether a company has manipulated earnings or not. Once these eight ratios are calculated and weighted according to his formula, the score can indicate earnings management or not. A score greater than -2.22 indicates a company is manipulating earnings.

For class, we had to use this model and calculate the different ratios based on Green Mountain Coffee’s financial statements. Although it proved difficult at first to find the numbers to calculate the ratios, we were able to pull numbers from the annual report to calculate the final score.

The final score ended up being less than -2.22, which indicates that earnings probably were not manipulated. Instead of just learning about the model, we were able to calculate the ratios and plug them into the formula to determine if the company has manipulated or not. This class really gives us an hands on experience and provides us with another tool to use in the field.

Category: Forensic Accounting | Comments Off

I have been pushing along in my classes, but have just been more busy than ever! This semester there is clearly not enough time within my work/school schedule to effectively complete my assignments in normal amounts of time – sometimes I stay up until 5 in the morning, get maybe 3 hours of sleep, and then head to work and do the same thing all over again… the feeling of extreme tiredness starts to catch up with me over the week and its the worst feeling.. I think they may call this the “graduate student” effect!! :) I work extremely hard each week, not having much of life whatsoever outside of school and work, but I am hoping it will all pay off in the end!

The big TRD event is this Thursday and Friday for me!! I am excited to see what opportunities may be offered while I am there, maybe something will arise that I didn’t even expect! I will be nervous getting all ready for the event the night before, and definitely for the interview process, but I will be confident and show them my great personality! I also have a workshop to go to on April 5th right after TRD so I will be really busy these next few weekends which will make it even more difficult to fit all of my work in! I will need to start planning out my time very strategically or else I will never get it all done!

I also find that resources are a big deal while in my program… by currently not being in a school environment, its very difficult to find the right ideas I need in order to create special lessons/units such as guided reading lessons, and it will be especially difficult to create the differentiated unit plan that needs to be geared towards gifted students because it is not easy to even go on the internet to get these ideas. If I were in the classroom, I would have more access to materials/resources, and I would be able to collaborate with other teachers often which would help me greatly. I’m a little worried still about creating all of these unique lessons because the rubric is overwhelming, and I want to do a good job on everything, but it will be really challenging without having better resources available. I will update on my progress with this soon! Hopefully I will figure it all out soon!

Category: Differentiated Instruction | Comments Off

New Experiences

By Kilee Brown | March 31, 2014

Cactus for breakfast!


When I left for Mexico on a cold Buffalo winter day, I expected to get there and simply enjoy the sunshine for 10 days. I never expected to have such a great learning experience. This was my first time visiting a foreign country. Their lives are so different than the lives we live in the United States.

Government. There is none. No traffic laws. Limited health care. No government assistance.

Schools? There is one school for each town. One teacher teaches grades K-6 and that teacher moves to a different school each year. School is not mandatory and after 6th grade, an education costs money. So my first thought is “no school counselors?” That’s right. No school counselors.

It was explained to me that mental health is also an issue. Suicide and substance abuse is common. But there are little or no services to prevent and assist people in need.

While Mexico seems like an awful place based on what I’ve described, but the people there live life so differently than many Americans. Religion is HUGE in most families. They rely on this as their support. Family is also a major concept and families often live close to each other.

When I came back to Buffalo, I came back with a different appreciation for what I have. I received a quality high school education, a bachelor’s degree and now a master’s. Many people in Mexico and other third world countries only DREAM of this.

As a school counselor, I can make an impact on students and families who come from foreign countries to receive a quality education. Providing families with resources and support is essential in making them feel comfortable in a new environment in which the language and culture may be foreign.

Category: Uncategorized | Comments Off

Tone at the Top

By Amanda | March 27, 2014

One of the benefits of the forensic accounting program is the opportunity to listen to different speakers who have been exposed to fraudulent schemes or unethical situations. In my financial statement fraud class, Kevin Stoklasa from First Niagara spoke about his experiences at AIG Financial Products.

AIG Financial Products, a subsidiary of AIG, found itself in trouble in the early 2000s. Kevin was hired to help develop their accounting policy and to turn things around. He had prior experience working developing accounting policies at the Financial Accounting Standards Board.

Kevin immediately had trouble when he arrived at his job. His boss, Joe Cassano (CEO), didn’t like accountants and had been set on doing things his way for a long time. Plus he and many of the other employees made millions of dollars in bonuses. This top executive had a lot of influence over the employees and set the tone of the company.

The executives thought that Kevin would have the same way of thinking and allow them to continue. However, Kevin stood his ground and demanded the transactions be recorded correct. He often fought with the CEO who went against him on everything. The best piece of advice he gave us was to not give in to the pressure from executives when you know something is wrong.

No amount of money will ever be worth losing your family, your reputation, your friends and your life. Kevin never stayed at AIG Financial Products and got out when he could. It was a great lesson on how corporate culture and tone at the top can influence employees and bring a company down. AIG eventually collapsed as a result of the unethical decisions at AIG financial products.

Category: Forensic Accounting | Comments Off

Musical Mentors

By Cody Elniski | March 27, 2014


What a great spring break! I spent the week off doing a variety of things. My activities included creating art and visiting Toronto for a few days. It was an awesome time that provided a lot of enjoyable moments. The trip to Europe that many of our students embarked on went very smoothly and they all had a great time. With that being said, the continuation of the One-Year program commenced on Monday. We are currently in the eleventh week of the semester and trudging forever onwards towards our goals. The excitement of our break was paralleled by a very eventful week.

On Wednesday, the One-Year students participated in the annual ‘Speed Mentoring’ event. This networking opportunity took our individual mentor relationship and expanded it exponentially in a rapid fashion. Last semester we were all assigned one mentor to help us with any concerns we may have about internships, job opportunities, and the business world. This was a unique gathering because we were allowed to converse with every mentor collaborating with the program in a matter of an hour. Every five minutes we would rotate to a new mentor to gain further insight and knowledge. Talking about your hopes and dreams in front of people for a short time repeatedly seems like a stressful hurdle. Honestly, this was not the case at all. We found ourselves wanting more than five minutes with each mentor after the event concluded.

As this week comes to a close we are preparing for a few tests taking place in the following one. All of us are taking an Accounting exam and the Regression students have a test as well. Things are starting to pick up as we near the end of the semester. Busy times are upon us. I look forward to writing to you next week. Good luck with your studies!

Category: Uncategorized | Comments Off

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