Darin Dunn

UC Berkeley, Class of 2020

Major: Economics
Email: ddunnsfo@berkeley.edu

I have been interested in accounting from a young age, when I would spend hours looking through my dad’s old handwritten ledgers. My interest was rekindled when I began taking accounting classes at my junior college. I found that I excelled because I enjoyed the subject so much. After learning more about public accounting, I decided to pursue a career in auditing.

When I transferred to Cal, I was unprepared for the pace of recruiting, which began immediately upon starting my first classes. All my effort went into making the GPA cap for the Economics program and adjusting to the more rigorous level of coursework, and I felt I was falling behind with my career preparation goals. I wasn’t confident about my ability to demonstrate to employers that I was moving toward CPA readiness, and I needed a way to reach my 150 units.

When I learned that the BCPA program offered the chance to take 16 units of accounting classes during the summer, I didn’t hesitate to apply. The program was challenging and extremely rewarding for me. I found the professors to be engaging and knowledgeable. The classes were highly collaborative and full of relevant information beyond just debits and credits.

The greatest value of the BCPA program came from the connections that it created with peers and industry professionals. BCPA staff have done an excellent job of designing activities to engage students with the accounting community. I appreciate the chance to become a BCPA Ambassador so I can share my experiences and help others discover the opportunities that I have found. I encourage anyone who would like to prepare for the CPA and pursue a career in accounting to seriously consider applying.

Alvin Fan

UC Berkeley, Class of 2021

Major: Political Economy
Email: afan@berkeley.edu

Like some of my fellow ambassadors, I didn’t always know that I wanted to pursue accounting as a profession. In fact, I came here to Cal completely unsure of what I wanted to do professionally; it was by a lot of random strokes of luck and abrupt career pivots that I happened to discover the BCPA and my passion for accounting.

Thanks to the BCPA, I now have a definitive career path that I am excited to follow. Through the program, I was able to get a jump-start on the 150 units required to sit for the CPA exam, develop the foundational knowledge needed to launch a fruitful career in public accounting, and create meaningful and lasting connections with my peers and industry professionals. With BCPA staff and faculty’s guidance, you can be confident that you will be emerging from the program as a more confident and more qualified professional. With everything that the program has provided, I feel well-prepared for my internship with PwC’s External Audit team next summer, and am eager to begin my journey as a public accountant.

I am incredibly grateful to have the opportunity to represent the BCPA program this year, and would be happy to answer any questions that you might have. Feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions related to the BCPA or accounting in general!


Melinda Hsieh

UC Berkeley, Class of 2021

Major: Business Administration
Email: melinda234@berkeley.edu

When I first came to Berkeley in August 2017, I had no idea what career path I wanted to pursue. When I entered the Haas School of Business as a junior, I was still unsure what career path in business I wanted to explore. After attending several info sessions at Haas with various accounting firms, I began to take interest in the field. The summer after my sophomore year, I applied to take part in the BCPA program to explore this interest. I proceeded to take the mandatory introductory financial accounting class required for my major and quickly realized that I enjoyed the subject. Throughout my time in BCPA, I had the opportunity to gain more exposure to the accounting profession and network with countless professionals in the field. I realized I had a passion for the work and decided to pursue a career in audit at the end of the program. Because of BCPA, I will now meet the 150 unit requirement for the CPA exam when I graduate in May 2021. I cannot thank the program enough for solidifying my decision to pursue a career in accounting as well as providing me the tools and resources to have experienced a successful recruitment process. I am ecstatic to be representing the BCPA program as a student ambassador this year!

Kousha Modanlou

UC Berkeley, Class of 2020

Major: Sociology
Email: koushamodanlou@berkeley.edu

I absolutely fell in love with accounting after receiving such engaging and entertaining instruction in Introduction to Financial Accounting with Professor John Briginshaw during the fall of 2018. From there, I developed a passion for the accounting specialization of taxation after taking Federal Income Tax Accounting in the spring of 2019 with Professor Eric Ryan, a tremendous role model in shaping my aspirations to become a tax attorney. I finished all but one of my major requirements by the spring of my junior year, so from the summer going into my senior year onwards I was able to focus all of my classes on CPA educational requirements. The BCPA program was certainly instrumental in helping me complete these accounting requirements in a timely and balanced fashion to sit for the CPA exam upon my summer 2020 graduation. I really appreciated how flexible the program was in allowing me to take two courses from the Advanced session and two courses from the Introductory session. The BCPA program has graced me with amazing professional relationships with accounting partners and recruiters in intimate settings that I never imagined I would be in.

With its plentiful resources and sharpened faculty, the BCPA program offered me the preparation I needed to act confidently and comfortably during networking engagements; attaining this early head start on fall recruiting was truly invaluable. The small class sizes enabled me to develop strong relationships with both my professors and cohort of classmates. I truly felt like we were all on one team pursuing a common mission toward CPA readiness. The fast-pace of the classes made sure that the material was always fresh in my mind, and I had a four-hour class window to iron out any uncertainties. After graduation, I plan on working in Los Angeles for the tax department of an accounting firm to gain a strong sense of practical experience in the arena. Later in my career, I would love to further my education and attend one of the southern California law schools to fulfill my goal of being a tax lawyer. BCPA has been indispensable in my accounting journey and I am enormously grateful to have met such a wonderful group of people through the program. I am very honored to be one of the student ambassadors for this remarkable organization and I would be delighted to chat with anyone who may have any interest in pursuing an accounting career path. Please feel free to email me.

Mihir Phatak

UC Berkeley, Class of 2020

Major: Applied Math
Email: mihir702@gmail.com

I came into BCPA last summer as a math major who wasn’t really sure about what he wanted to do with his degree and skill set, and while exploring different career paths I came across the BCPA program. I decided to give accounting a shot and once I took the program I knew my searching was over. I was thoroughly engrossed in the material taught by the wonderful professors at BCPA and I was able to meet with many people within the industry who gave me the clarity that I needed to know that accounting was for me. Hopefully I get a chance to talk to you all soon and can help you find your love for accounting!

Nicolette Washburn

UC Berkeley, Class of 2020

Major: Intended Economics
Email: newashburn@berkeley.edu

I had a long journey (starting in Biology!) throughout my first two years at Cal before I decided I wanted to pursue a career in accounting. As a non-business major, I was very worried that I wouldn’t be able to take all of the classes that I needed for the CPA exam. Luckily, I was directed to BCPA and had a wonderful experience in the Introductory Program during the Summer of 2018. I liked the accelerated pace of the program and was able to build up great relationships with our instructors because the class sizes were small. In addition, our office visits and networking events meant that I had a BCPA community that extended beyond the students in my classes to partners, managers, associates, and recruiters from a variety of accounting firms. The resources BCPA provides can really jump-start your first steps into a career and provide you a strong base of fundamental accounting skills. Next summer, I will be interning with PwC and I’m very excited to see everything I learned in BCPA put into action! Please feel free to contact me with any questions.

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