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Behind The Scene with Pranita (Monday Meetings)

This will be the first Behind the Scene (BTS) with Pranita! I am extremely excited to start with today’s meeting ( February 12, 2018) because, we had a presentation from one of the most renowned accounting firm Ernst and Young (EY). As a company EY doesn’t require much of an introduction, at least among the accounting crowd but, for those who are unfamiliar of the company- they are one of the Big 4 accounting firms. Because of their sheer size, they are also one of the biggest employer of aspiring accountants fresh out of college. If you want more information on EY and their hiring process along with other firms head over to the aptly named  “Ernst & Young Center for Careers in Accounting and Information Systems” located in BB 2224.

Now, onto the actual “Behind the scenes”. When you walk in to our meetings you’re presented with a well planned and informative session hosted by your well dressed directors. But, what you don’t see is the making of this seamless execution. It’s a lot of prior planning and I mean a ton!

Senior Gohar Sargsyan and Junior Manny Martinez are our Monday Meeting Director. When I asked Gohar how she planned today’s meeting, she looked up to recall her long list of chores. It’s not even afternoon yet and you can tell Gohar has already had a days worth of work. Gohar has been preparing for today since Monday (a week!) when she ordered Porto’s.

“Then I had to pick up the order first thing this morning,” She says.

As she’s talking to me, she is looking around making sure all the tables are aligned straight. After picking up the delicious Porto’s (Thanks for the treat, EY)- she drives to CSUN. Jesel Torres Director of Student Development helps Gohar haul the food along with the heavy water to the meeting hall in BB 4117 where they neatly serve it for the attendees.

Meanwhile,  Manny is helping EY Campus Recruiter Mike Rodriguez set up the over 5 ft display. When they’re done, I go up to Manny and ask how his day is going- He answers with an enthusiastic smile  “It’s good, I woke up today and ironed my suit”, he brushed imaginary lint off his jacket.

“I drove 40 miles to get here- my daily commute.” He says with no weariness.

The process above is just today, It doesn’t mention the hours spent emailing and scheduling back and forth among directors to advertise, publicize and arrange the presentations.

The sound of chair clattering and students chatting fill the room- the scene is busy. As the time gets closer to 12pm, the room is suddenly alive with students. The food that took a week to plan and serve is gone within the first 10 mins.

Senior Patrick Mallari- Executive Coordinator is chatting with EY Senior Associate Lizzie Ben-Abraham and assisting her with the powerpoint. When I asked him about his contribution to the meeting he humbly replies ” Meeting is in their ( the director’s)  hand, I’m just overseeing it.”

It’s not just AA Directors and Executives who make the meeting happen. The firm professionals are equally involved. When I asked EY Campus Recruiter Mike Rodriguez about how he prepares for the presentation, he explains ” Practice! Like every other skill, I’m not preparing for the presentation today. I prepares weeks in advance..It’s (the presentation) is very focused to CSUN.” When I asked what he did prior to coming to our meeting he calmly says “today I woke up, had tea and drove over”.

Thinking on your feet is an essential skill to develop. When I asked both professionals Tax Senior Associate Lizzie Ben-Abraham and Advisory Senior Manager Stefan Oriold about their “behind the scenes”, both candidly said that the opportunity to present came up very last-minute and it was their drive to give back to the community and the students that motivated them to speak at our meeting.

“Never give up, and don’t underestimate yourself”, Stefan emphasized when encouraging the future accountants at the end of the meeting. Which seems to be the best way to get through what seems like an extremely daunting accounting journey, but according to Lizzie recruiting doesn’t have to be intimidating. She recalls her years in CSUN as an experience that really developed her into the successful professional she is now. If she were to meet herself back when she was a student (like us!), she would tell herself-  “No way that’s you!”. It’s hard to tell that the lively and confident Lizzie we know who’s a senior in EY used to be shy and reserved as a student. Lizzie was the President of AA in 2015, not that long ago. So In times of doubt, just take these lessons from the professionals:


Do not give up.

Believe in yourself.