Accountancy major Maxx Paez ’12, center, served as a mentor to students in the Building Bridges program.
The June 2012 edition of the Journal of Accountancy draws attention to the continued need to encourage
diversity in the accounting profession and puts forward several “best practice”
suggestions. Chief among them is the call for better mentoring – pairing new
hires with a seasoned professional who can show them the ropes and help build
their confidence as embark on careers in this demanding field.
That’s the idea behind the Building Bridges Mentoring
Program, an initiative of the Multicultural
Student Programs and Services at the University of Notre Dame. Building
Bridges matches historically underrepresented first-year students with
faculty from the departments that the students wish to explore as possible
majors. The faculty mentors play an integral role in the academic development
of the students, which results in many of the participating students finding
opportunities for research and internships within their first two years at the
For the summer of 2012, 44 external internships
were offered to Bridges students. Another 18 Bridgesstudents will begin graduate studies in
Those landing internships included four first-year students from
the Mendoza College of Business who received offers to intern with Big Four
accountancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). Margarita Arcenas, Zach Juarez,
Juliana Lacouture and Demetrius Murphy accepted PwC’s Semester of Discovery
Internship (SDI) offer.
Each worked with a faculty mentor from the Department of Accountancy.
“We welcome the opportunity to work with Building Bridges,”
said Fred Mittelstaedt, Deloitte
Foundation Professor of Accountancy and chair of the Accountancy Department at
the Mendoza College. “The department attempts to provide these students with a
glimpse of possible future careers in accounting with the goal of providing
them a path into the accounting profession.”
As a group, the Notre Dame students also regularly
interacted with accountancy major Maxx Paez ’12, who served as a peer mentor
for the program. Paez helped them make adjustments to college life and navigate
the academic landscape. He also introduced the students to the business
recruiting cycle, which included attending several events hosted by the Notre Dame Career Center that
focused on preparing for the Fall Career Expo. "Freshmen need to begin
networking with corporations and firms as soon as they arrive on campus so they
can develop meaningful relationships with those professionals,” he said.
"We are thrilled to have the interest in our Semester
of Discovery internship program coming from so many freshman students at Notre
Dame," says PwC's Firmwide Relationship Partner Joe Nocera.
"Maxx Paez and Multicultural Student Programs and Services' support
has really made all the difference, in that they have helped us share the
opportunity more broadly on campus and become connected with top freshman
earlier in the process than we have seen in the past."
“These four first-year students at ND landed a rare
internship with PwC as part of the firm’s ELITE early career identification
program, a highly competitive summer experience designed to recruit the
nation’s top college talent as a pipeline to full-time placement,” said Lee
Svete, director of the Notre Dame Career Center.
Since 2008, 40 Building Bridges students have landed
“pipeline” leadership program offers from accounting’s Big Four (Deloitte,
Ernst & Young, KPMG, and PricewaterhouseCoopers).
“I am most certainly positive that I would not have
obtained this internship without Maxx,” said Zach Juarez. “He shared his
experiences of his internship and how beneficial it was to his career, which is
what first interested me into learning more about the internship.
“He also answered all of my questions with excellent
insight; the most important being my question on how to prepare for my
interview with PwC,” continued Juarez. “Maxx explained everything perfectly,
and gave me the confidence I needed to perform well when interviewing with
them. I was extremely lucky to have had his help and I am looking forward to
having a great experience this summer.”
Notre Dame students must apply to Building
Bridges the summer prior to their first year. If accepted, the student will
meet regularly with his or her mentor throughout the year. Students will also
be assigned to a peer mentor and grouped with other first-year students in the
program who share the same academic interests. After the first year, the
program will continue to assist students with finding opportunities for
academic growth and career discernment.
For more information about the Building Bridges
Mentorship Program, visit Multicultural Student Programs and Services at
631-2627 email@example.com or Arnel Bulaoro 574-631-9475 firstname.lastname@example.org