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January 29, 2018

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Sophomore Leadership Forum Spotlight: Grace Qian

January 28, 2018

One of my most embarrassing and fond memories in college wasmy mentorship interview last fall, which happened to be my first professional interview. I had just decided that I wanted to pursue public accounting and knew nearly nothing about the field. When asked why I chose audit over tax, I said that I wanted to be audit because “there was no busy season,” only to be corrected on my rookie mistake.


I still cringe a little when I think about my response, but also take solace in knowing that I am in a much better place now. Despite my blunder, UAS took me in, and without them, I would not be where I am today. I’ve overcome my fears of public speaking and talking to professionals, sharpened up my resume and interview skills, and most importantly, met such amazing people – some of which have become my best friends in college(shout out to Winston and Keith). We took accounting classes and went to conferences together, shared problems and triumphs, and brought each other up every step of the way. There’s nothing better to bond people together than pain and suffering.


The biggest piece of advice that I can offer to prospective sophomore leadership candidates is to be open-minded. I was fortunate enough to attend leadership programs with Big Four, mid-tier, and local firms, and found that learning about each one gave me a clear picture of the differences that come with firm sizes. Each person is looking to get a different experience out of their career in public accounting, so it is important to get as much exposure as you can to help you determine the type of environment you need to reach your goals. When you go to the programs, ask questions, listen closely, and of course, network with people who you’d like to know better. Lastly, enjoy! Meet new people, make connections, and learn about how accounting and school life is from students at other colleges. My favorite part of SLPs was when EY took all program attendees to Disneyland, and I got to spend a day out with friends that I had met through the recruiting process.


Next summer, I will be a Financial Services Assurance Intern at Ernst & Young in LA. I chose EY because of my interest in gaining a better understanding of financial services, as well as how welcome I felt at the Emerging Leaders Program. The hospitality of recruiters, professionals, and students there made me realize how great of a fit the firm was for me. I am beyond excited to see what awaits me during my internship, and wish the best of luck to those heading into recruitment this year!






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