Samuel Gao

UC Berkeley, Class of 2022

Majors: Economics and Statistics
Email: samuelgaozs@berkeley.edu

As an economics major, I initially came to Berkeley wanting to become a Professor, but I always kept accounting in my eyesight as a backup option for my career. After taking my first accounting course in summer of 2019, I found the subject to be extremely appealing. I loved how things added up and balanced, and I found the theories extremely applicable and practical. It was then that I decided to try to set myself up for a CPA career, which the BCPA program was able to help me do efficiently.

The BCPA stands out in that it really prepares you for a professional career. Not only are the instructors at Berkeley world-class, the recruitment opportunities with the Big 4 and other smaller firms are also extraordinary. The program is specifically designed so that the students may have early access to the recruiters before others do for the fall cycle, which would give students a huge advantage to network and to understand the recruiting process. The program is also designed in a way where students can work/intern during the day while completing courses in the evening, in a fashion similar to an evening-MBA. Overall, the program provided me with very valuable experiences and professional skills that would be very beneficial for my future careers and beyond. I am proud of being able to work with the professionals of the program as the student ambassador this year and please do feel free to reach out if you have any questions!

Michael Haynes

UC Berkeley, Class of 2021

Major: Business Administration
Email: mikehaynes@berkeley.edu

Since attending Cal and selecting the Business Admin major, the gritty, work-hard mindset of my fellow classmates, both in and out of my major, has left an indelible imprint on my own work ethic.

Interning as a tech consultant at a public accounting firm, I simultaneously joined BCPA to ensure I would attain all of the necessary credits for the CPA. BCPA’s intimately-sized classes, enthusiastic and accessible professors, virtual firm visits, and countless recruiter office hours are perfect for both the college student as well as the seasoned professional breaking into the profession. Similar to what brought me to Cal, the rigor of BCPA was the most enjoyable part. The classes challenged me more than any of my other classes at Cal. As a result, BCPA allowed me truly to internalize an immense amount of material, while closely networking with future and current professionals, over the summer. Thank you for a great summer.

Ashley Lopez

UC Berkeley, Class of 2021

Major: Economics
Email: ashley.lopez.09@berkeley.edu

I discovered my love of accounting a little late in my college career. Heading into my senior year, the only way for me to be CPA eligible and graduate as an Economics major would have been to take 14 classes in two semesters. Thankfully, the BCPA program came to the rescue! Through the program, I enrolled in two summer classes that were small and engaging. My professors shared their professional experiences in accounting and business, which provided context for the concepts that we learned in class. I also enjoyed getting to know my classmates through our interesting group projects and in-class discussions. 

In addition to my courses, I was also able to attend accounting firms’ virtual networking events, receive discounts on CPA prep courses, learn about academic research in accounting, and meet one-on-one with the BCPA Assistant Director to track my CPA eligibility. I am very grateful to the BCPA program for these opportunities.

Despite being at home for the summer, I became part of a driven community of students looking to launch our careers in accounting. The BCPA program gave meaning and direction to my 2020 summer.

Vanisa Mithpasong

UC Berkeley, Class of 2021

Major: Business Administration
Email: vmithpasong@berkeley.edu

When I graduated from high school, I was completely lost and didn’t know what education and career path I wanted to pursue. My family has a background in running a small business, so I grew up seeing the traditional way of accounting. My mom, the owner of a small shoe shop, would jot down each sale in a ledger book. My passion for accounting did not stop, but it rather kept growing as I grew up. To further enhance my knowledge in accounting, I took some business and accounting classes while I was studying at a community college. I noticed that I enjoy learning accounting subjects because I am able to relate the materials I learned to my real-life childhood experience. Therefore, I decided to pursue a career in accounting.

When I transferred to Berkeley, I wasn’t aware of the limited semesters I have at Cal, and I didn’t take any accounting class during my first semester. I was overwhelmed with the transition from a community college because it is more challenging and competitive at Cal. I fell behind in the recruiting process not knowing the recruiting timelines, and I wasn’t sure if I can finish all my requirements on time. However, I learned about the BCPA program and that it could help me complete more accounting classes in the summer. I immediately included the program in my education plan so that I can be CPA eligible by the time I graduate.

The program offers a broad range of accounting classes and allowed me to complete up to 4 accounting courses during the summer. The program is challenging, but it’s also rewarding with the extensive knowledge and experience I gained from classes and networking events. Professors are knowledgeable and engaging, which also reflects in close connections that students are able to build while taking the course.

The most important value of the BCPA program is the connections with peers and professionals. BCPA program student body is very diverse in their academic background and career interests, which allows you to connect with other major students who share the same interest in accounting as yourself. The program also put up multiple events that will help you connect with professionals in the accounting industry. I appreciate the chance to be a part of the BCPA community and an opportunity to be an Ambassador for the program so that I can share with others about the invaluable experience. I highly encourage students who want to pursue a career in accounting to apply for the BCPA program because it will definitely prepare you for the CPA path.

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