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Leavey School of Business Santa Clara University
Department ofAccounting

News Stories

Corporate Accounting Career Panel Discussion

The Center for Accounting Research and Education (CARE) hosted the fifth annual Corporate Accounting Career Panel Discussion over Zoom on November 3, 2021 from 7:00 - 8:30 PM.

CARE hosted its fifth annual Corporate Accounting Career Panel Discussion, virtually, on November 3, 2021.  Jack Lazar (’87), Board Member/Advisor and former CFO of multiple Silicon Valley companies, moderated a panel of four SCU alumni featuring:

  • Tony Driver (’11) - Account Manager, Amazon Web Services (AWS)
  • Lydia Ku (’15) - Global Revenue Forecasting Manager (VMware)
  • Mike Masterman (’12) - FP&A Manager (Salesforce)
  • Zachary Morris (’13) – Senior Manager, Corporate Revenue Operations (Citrix)

Over 200 students attended the event, with 86% of attendees being first year and sophomore students, and 37% of attendees being undecided about their major. Student attendance increased by 50% over last year.  Each panelist began their professional career at Big Four accounting firms, and they shared their career journey from public accounting to corporate accounting, including lessons learned along the way.

The students who attended the event appreciated the genuine responses and rich perspectives of the business world provided by each panelist.

The panel discussion was followed by Q&A and smaller breakout sessions where students could interact with individual panelists.  These discussions were especially informative given Lazar’s extensive experience with many companies and the diversity of each panelist’s career path.

Some takeaways from the panel discussion included:

  • Accounting absolutely expanded each of the panelists career options.
  • College teaches you how to think critically and opens doors for learning. Develop your own brand, think big, and develop networks.
  • Soft skills, time management, and writing skills are important.
  • Basic excel skills are essential, and people notice if you master excel.
  • You will make mistakes. Own the mistake, “fix it” as quickly as possible, and document as necessary so the mistake is not repeated. 
  • Technology is not replacing the job, it is elevating it. Technology augments the job by helping to better and more quickly analyze data. Understanding technology will only become more critical.
  • Work/life balance is hard, varies by person, and usually fluctuates throughout your career.
  • Accounting/A&IS majors will have internships during college and usually have job offers by the beginning of their senior year!

A special thank you to Jack Lazar and the panelists for openly sharing their experience with SCU students. We especially appreciate Zach Morris’s willingness to join the panel from Florida (the panel discussion began at 9:00 pm in his time zone). The honesty and passion of the panelists provided students a realistic glimpse into the many career paths available to those with an accounting/A&IS background.

Student feedback indicated that students found the event informative and insightful, regardless of their major, with 94% of the student feedback indicating they were satisfied/very satisfied with the event.  Once again, this informative and fun event continues to showcase the success of our accounting program graduates.