Since 2011, the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, a nonprofit corporation that oversees auditors of issuers and broker-dealers, has awarded academic scholarships to undergraduate and graduate accounting students. The scholar program aims to benefit outstanding students who are likely to become auditors.
Notably, PCAOB encourages participating colleges and universities to give special consideration to students from populations that have been historically underrepresented in the accounting profession, including transfer students. These students often face disadvantages such as ineligibility for many scholarships or awards during their undergraduate years — and PCAOB strives to support them on their journey.
This year, two Broad Spartans have been selected as PCAOB scholarship recipients, alongside over 250 recipients from other major universities across the country. M.S. in Accounting student Rylee Egan and accounting junior Chase Pate were each awarded a $10,000 scholarship for the 2021–22 academic year.
Excelling in accounting
Egan will soon be a two-time Broad Spartan, as she’s on track to graduate in May as a dual enrollee, completing her B.A. last spring and her M.S. with a one-year add-on. She joined Michigan State University in fall 2018 as a transfer from Grand Rapids Community College.
While at MSU, she has had the opportunity to intern with EY and plans to return for full-time work following graduation. Additionally, she most recently completed a nonprofit administration internship with Artists Creating Together in summer 2021.
“To me, this scholarship has two significant impacts: recognition of my hard work so far and the ability to focus on only my studies rather than additional jobs,” Egan said.
Egan is highly involved in various extracurriculars, including the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program, serving on the Student Activities Board for the MSA program and working as a graduate teaching assistant for the Introduction to Managerial Accounting course. Previously, she has worked with the MSUvote Campus Coalition, was a resident assistant in McDonel Hall and attended several on-campus conferences, including the Gender and Sexuality Campus Center’s Leadership Conference and the annual WILD conferences.
On top of her studies and activities, Egan had to juggle multiple jobs during each semester to adequately support herself while excelling in her classes. Thanks to the support of PCAOB, she now has less of a financial burden and more flexibility to flourish.
“It required a lot of effort, and I did not get to spend as much time on assignments and studying as I would have liked to,” she said. “Because of the PCAOB Scholarship, I can now afford to work in just my graduate assistantship position and have much more time available to focus on school, studying and volunteer work.”
Egan’s interest in accounting started back in high school and has continued to grow as she enjoys working through various problems and rigorous concepts now, as a Spartan.
“One of my favorite things about MSU’s accounting program is the level of professionalism and collaboration within each of the courses,” she said. “For every class, we are focusing on very in-depth concepts and all of our input is valued for each discussion. Rather than having a specific answer they are looking for, professors value each of our perspectives and thoughts.”
Value of experiential learning
Also a transfer student, Pate came to MSU as a sophomore amid the pandemic last year. As with Egan, Pate had to juggle ways to fund his education out of his own pocket, and the scholarship has allowed him to continue his accounting career at MSU with significantly less financial stress.
“Once I realized I earned the nomination, I was ecstatic — it felt like all my hard work until this moment had paid off. The pressure of trying to balance work and school in community college to get into Michigan State and maintaining a 3.9 GPA at Michigan State showed me the rewards of pushing through obstacles to hit your goals,” he said. “Going into this school year, the scholarship has motivated me to continue pushing myself to reach my education and career goals.”
Last summer, Pate interned with GM Financial for its international operations team, based in Detroit. He gained experience working with financials for Latin America and China and was most involved with liquidity, debt and transfer pricing. On campus, he participates in the Accounting Student Association to further grow his business acumen.
Pate always hoped to pursue a career in business where he could utilize his analytical skills. Naturally, he gravitated toward finance and accounting.
“Accounting is always stable in the job market, and the skills you obtain are easily transferable to other business sectors,” he said.
This coming summer, Pate plans to intern with Plante Moran in its audit practice to gain exposure to a public accounting firm’s operation. He’s curious to see how the experience differs from his time at GM Financial, which specialized in corporate accounting. Following graduation in December 2022, he intends to continue his studies to reach 150 credits to qualify for the CPA exam.
Reflecting on his time as a Spartan thus far, Pate admires the MSU accounting program’s strong relationships with many firms and the network they provide for recruitment.
“They give you all the resources you need to feel confident for the job interview process. Every major firm located in Michigan recruits Michigan State, as well as other great companies for corporate positions,” he said.
With the support of PCAOB, Egan and Pate can both confidently continue their education at the Broad College, as well as pursue their careers and fulfill their greatest potential with fewer financial limitations.