Alan Nguyen probably has one of the most exciting jobs in finance and accounting. He helps provide data analytics to public companies and helps later-stage start-ups go public as part of his duties as a senior associate in the Risk & Compliance Systems & Analytics group at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), the largest professional services firm in the world and one of the “Big Four” accounting firms.
“There is always something new and exciting,” said Nguyen, who joined PwC right after graduating from Santa Clara in 2013 with a degree in Accounting and Information Systems (AIS), a relatively new major offered since 2008 at the Leavey School of Business.
“AIS majors get gobbled up in a heartbeat in the job market,” says Michael Eames, associate professor in the SCU Department of Accounting. “Basically, it’s a double major — neither one of which is particularly easy — which tends to attract a particular kind of student.”
Nguyen’s reason for earning an AIS major had to do with his long-term goals.
“It’s just not enough to understand business or accounting,” he said. “The AIS major gives you the additional tools and techniques to do more. You’re not just focused on the IT or the accounting side, but leveraging the technical skill sets and business acumen from both.”
He added that his favorite class, Prof. Manoochehr Ghiassi’s Operations and Management Information Systems 137 (Object Oriented Programming), “instilled a sense of urgency and performance” that he found invaluable. “You learn not just how to program, but how to think.”
“Employers understand the multidisciplinary benefits of having an AIS major,” Nguyen said.
He added that his SCU education also gave him advantages that go far beyond his professional life. A Bay Area native, he found that SCU offered the smaller classes and more intimate campus he wanted along with a quality business education and proximity to tech companies. He worked in the Leavey School of Business Dean’s Office, was an accounting teaching assistant, member of the Men’s Varsity rowing team, belonged to the Accelerated Cooperative Education (ACE) business school honors program, and served on the Associated Student Government Supreme Court.
“SCU educates the whole person,” he said. “There’s a sense of community and integrity as well as a comprehensive business education.”
That community also extends beyond the campus proper.
“I’m always talking to my friends from SCU across multiple generations of Broncos,” he said. “There are a lot of alums here at PwC. The ACE group was a cohort of similar-minded people who were academically driven. Some are still my best friends today. Once a Bronco, always a Bronco!”
— Sandy Burnett