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EY Accounting Program Demonstrates Shared Commitment to Diversity and Mentorship

McCombs accounting grad students seated on school stepsEY (formerly known as Ernst & Young) has become a perennial favorite on Fortune magazine's "100 Best Companies to Work For" list, celebrating a milestone in 2013 when the organization was honored for the 15th consecutive year. EY's ongoing presence on this list — the longest among the "Big Four" accounting firms — speaks to the company's culture and what employees identify as an exceptional EY experience. A critical component of that experience — and key to the organization's success — is a diverse environment, with inclusive leaders who value people for their differences. 

One of the ways EY supports diversity is by promoting awareness of the accounting profession among an increasingly broad and diverse group of students. On The University of Texas at Austin campus, EY has proudly supported the Discover Yourself in Accounting Major Camp (DYNAMC) for the past 16 years. DYNAMC is a weeklong summer camp held at the McCombs School of Business to increase high school graduation and college enrollment rates for minority, first generation, and low-income students and to expose them to careers in accounting. This past fall, the Ernst & Young Foundation took its commitment to diversity to a new level by providing a leadership grant of $500,000 to the McCombs School of Business to create and implement the EY Accounting Ambassadors and Scholarship Program to attract and retain underrepresented minority students into the accounting profession.

The program provides valuable tuition assistance to deserving students — and much more. "EY wanted the program's commitment to students to go beyond financial help," says Tim Griffy, an EY Assurance partner and the firm's campus coordinating partner for UT Austin. Building upon the success of EY's long-standing DYNAMC support, the EY Accounting Ambassadors and Scholarship Program furthers the educational attainment opportunities of students, helping high school students reach college and undergraduate students reach the graduate level.

EY Ambassadors provide participating accounting undergraduates from underrepresented populations with unique opportunities, such as mentoring support, peer advising, tutoring, and incentives for continued success in the program. Already this past fall, the program's students participated in professional development events to build global mindsets and hone their networking skills. Several academic sessions also gave the Ambassadors a chance to help undergraduate students with their entry-level financial accounting classes. EY professionals volunteer their time as mentors and regularly collaborate with graduate-level Ambassadors, who can offer valuable assistance to undergraduate students seeking mentorship.

"Fostering an environment where minorities are embraced, our perspective is valued, and our contributions are respected in the accounting profession is very motivating and fulfilling," says Francisco Loredo, MPA '13, one of the founding members of the group. "The EY Accounting Ambassadors Program allows us to connect with professionals in the accounting industry and fellow students with similar traditions, culture, and backgrounds."

Faculty members echo those accolades. "This new opportunity allows us to act on our beliefs of expanding diversity in our program," says Accounting Department Chair Lillian Mills, who helped shape the concept and now runs the program with the accounting faculty and staff.

In recognition of its support and collaboration, EY received the 2012–2013 Outstanding Corporate Partner award for their extraordinary commitment to the McCombs School of Business. Additionally, EY partner Tim Griffy is the Department of Accounting's 2014 Texas Star and will be honored for his long-standing support at the MPA commencement in May.

EY has good reason to support diversity. "Diverse and inclusive teams push each other's thinking, and that leads to exceptional service for our clients," says Ellen Glazerman, executive director of the Ernst & Young Foundation and Americas director of campus recruiting for EY. Glazerman also stresses that diversity and inclusiveness make EY a great place to work. "It's stimulating to work with people who think differently and bring new perspectives. It makes us all better."

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