Two Accounting Graduate Students Earn Prestigious EY Scholarships

Cesar and Anthony
Cesar Garcia (left) and Anthony Ayala

Two Naveen Jindal School of Management graduate accounting students have earned full-ride scholarships from a program that Big Four accounting firm Ernst & Young has set up to increase diversity and inclusion among academically talented minority students.

Cesar Garcia and Anthony Ayala earned EY Scholars awards that pay tuition as they pursue their MS in Accounting degree in the Jindal School’s Professional Program in Accounting. Each scholarship is worth about $15,000. EY also pays the approximately $1,500 fee to take the CPA exam that Garcia and Ayala will take next year. Additional bonuses are available for passing that exam within a certain timeframe.

“We know joining the firm with a master’s degree can help students strengthen their technical knowledge, help them pass the CPA more quickly and provide a network of like-minded students with whom they can start and grow in their careers,” said Lindsey Schuholz, inclusive recruiting consultant with EY. “The national statistics show that black, Hispanic and Native American students are less likely to pursue a master’s degree and less likely to join the profession than other demographics. EY has had a long history of supporting master’s degrees for strong students.”

EY also has had a long supportive association with the Jindal School, according to Professional Program in Accounting Director Amy Troutman. “We’ve had a great relationship with EY for the past 10 years,” Troutman said. “In fact, they were the first firm to really buy into hiring students from PPA. So, it is no surprise that they are the firm to offer full-tuition scholarships to our students.”

Getting to this point has been a lot of work, said Garcia and Ayala, who both earned their bachelor’s degrees in accounting from the Jindal School in May.

Garcia said he did not know what he wanted to study upon transferring to UT Dallas from community college until a financial accounting class directed his focus.

“The hardest part about going to college,” he said, “was learning how to manage my time since I have always taken four or five classes per semester and worked between 20 and 25 hours per week.” He said conscientiously using a planner was key to his success.

Ayala knew he wanted to study accounting. “I come from a family of business owners. When I was in high school, I would help my mother with business tasks at her restaurant, and I really enjoyed it,” he said. “I decided to focus in accounting because I get the opportunity to learn how businesses work from ‘behind the scenes’ and see the end results based on decisions made by management.” He hopes to start his own business one day.

Like Garcia, he has carried the burden of school and work throughout his college career. “The hardest part has been working 45 to 50 hours (weekly) ever since I transferred to UT Dallas in 2014,” he said. “Managing my time was critical because being in PPA, and a full-time student, was really a struggle at times.”

Both men completed an EY internship during this past spring semester. Both are eager to return to EY upon graduation in May 2018 with their master’s degrees.

“The thing that I liked the most about my internship with EY is the people I worked with,” Garcia said.

Ayala echoed Garcia’s comments: “The firm in general has great people. I really enjoyed working with different teams,” he said. “I can say that I made a great choice by signing with them.”

“Our shared values inspire our people worldwide and guide them to do the right thing, and our commitment to quality is embedded in who we are and in everything we do,” Schuholz said. “Our values define who we are: People who demonstrate integrity, respect and teaming; people with energy, enthusiasm and the courage to lead; and people who build relationships based on doing the right thing.”

The scholarships awarded Garcia and Ayala demonstrate EY’s commitment to the Jindal School’s Professional Program in Accounting program, said Elizabeth Pigg, PPA’s associate director. “EY is one of the leading employers of our graduates,” Pigg said. “We enjoy strong relationships with EY, and clearly our students enjoy working for that firm.”

For the two accounting graduate students, these scholarships represent years of hard work. “I honestly never imagined going to college, especially in this country,” said Ayala, who arrived in the U.S. when he was 10 years old. “Now, I would tell my (younger) self how super proud I am; that being the first person in the family (to attend college) is a great achievement; that even though it was tough, everything is starting to pay off; and that the future holds many opportunities for me.”

“I would tell my 12-year-old self that all the hard work will pay off in the end,” Garcia said. “I always knew that I wanted to go to college, but I didn’t know exactly what to study, so I would also say to keep an open mind … as I had not ever considered majoring in anything business related.”