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Excellence in Accounting

Two EY partners and Gauchos describe a tradition of support

Inspired by his parents, entrepreneurs who own their own small transportation business, Eric Chen ’20 chose to study accounting and economics at UC Santa Barbara. Now, Eric is one of about 245 UC Santa Barbara alumni who are working at Ernst & Young LLP (EY). Eric’s experience as an intern turned employee illustrates the shared vision between EY and UC Santa Barbara.

EY is a global professional services organization with strong UC Santa Barbara connections. Generations of UC Santa Barbara alumni have led successful careers at EY, and the organization has contributed to programs and resources that enhance the UC Santa Barbara Department of Economics.

Keith Lupton ’90 and Mike Turner ’91 are among 28 EY partners who graduated from UC Santa Barbara. Among other campus commitments, they support the EY Fund for Excellence in Accounting Education within UC Santa Barbara's Department of Economics, which invites Gauchos working at EY to connect with their alma mater and promote both organizations.

“The students we hire from UC Santa Barbara have a broad foundation in economics and great problem-solving skills,” said Keith.

“UC Santa Barbara students’ enthusiasm and willingness for new experiences sets them apart from other candidates,” said Mike, who enjoys learning about the undergraduates who receive support from his scholarship. Each year, he gets life updates from students who will be the next set of alumni to give back to UC Santa Barbara.

“The people at EY are so genuine and friendly – it was an instant connection,” said Eric.

After his internship, Eric expressed interest in exploring a different line of services. Now he splits his time between audit and strategy and transactions services, representing the commitment EY has to their employees’ professional development.

UC Santa Barbara is one of the schools EY actively recruits from in Southern California. This recognition of UC Santa Barbara is based on the quality of the program and its faculty, the success of UCSB students in passing the certified public accounting (CPA) exam, and the talent alumni have demonstrated as EY employees over the years.

“My UC Santa Barbara education was tremendous, and I am so grateful for my professors, who prepared me to pass the CPA exam months before my friends who attended other schools,” said Eric.

Nearly 300 alumni donors have supported UC Santa Barbara by taking advantage of the generous matching gift program EY offers. Their support ensures that current students have access to top of the line equipment, classroom training, and support necessary to prepare them for a career in public accounting. In addition to this collective effort, EY provides guidance through support and participation on the Economics Board of Advisors.

“I've been lucky to have been connected to campus throughout my entire career,” said Keith. “That's one of the things I really like about the Economics Advisory Board. I’ve kept up those relationships and really enjoyed that aspect of it.”

Holistic involvement with EY helps students find mentors and career opportunities at an exciting organization.

“Our goal is to create long-term value as the world’s most trusted, distinctive professional services organization,” said Mike. “One of the ways we do that is by creating a talent ecosystem that will help us attract exceptional and diverse people to help us build a better working world.”

Economics is among the most popular majors at UC Santa Barbara. Alumni from that department are known for their successful careers at Big Four accounting firms, including EY. It’s a legacy that will extend far into the future.

“I am very grateful to the EY alumni and UCSB alumni who came before me, because they are the ones who affected me the most in terms of what was to come in life after UC Santa Barbara,” said Mike.