EY: The Importance of Mentoring College Students

By Sheryl Estrada

More than 150 high-achieving, ethnically diverse college students from campuses across the country arrived in New York City Wednesday to begin a journey into the professional-services field.

EY (No. 3 in The 2014 DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity) hosted its ninth annual Discover EY event, which for the seventh year included the Campus Diversity and Inclusiveness Roundtable. The two programs are designed to address the low numbers of people from underrepresented groups in professional services through leadership development and the sharing of best practices.

Based on a 2013 report, there has been little diversity in recent years amongst students enrolled in B.A. programs in accounting:

Race/Ethnicity of Undergraduate Accounting Majors: 2011-2012
67% white
9.3% Asian/Pacific Islander
8.4% Latino
7.2% Black
0.4% American Indian

In order to increase the percentages of underrepresented students, the goal of Discover EY is to develop and mentor a diverse talent pipeline.

“We view all of you as future leaders,” Natasha Stough, EY Americas Director of Campus Recruiting, said to an audience of professionally dressed students. “We want to start helping you understand the future of the firm.”

Along with an all-expenses-paid trip to New York City, the college students who were selected to participateprimarily sophomores and juniorsengage in team-building exercises, leadership seminars, networking opportunities and conversations with EY’s top leaders. Speakers also include Kelly Grier, EY Americas Vice Chair Talent and Ken Bouyer, EY Americas Director of Inclusiveness Recruiting.

Since the program launched in 2007, 36 percent of the U.S. firm’s total full-time professionals coming from campus have been from underrepresented populations.

According to Stough, “This year we will hire and develop nearly 15,000 people in the U.S. to help deliver exceptional client service and help build a better working world.”

The annual Campus Diversity and Inclusiveness Roundtable joins college and business leaders to learn about innovative ways to drive diversity and inclusiveness at their organizations. For instance, the Cornell Men of Color seminar, inspired by the roundtable, is now an annual event at Cornell University. The seminar covers issues such as developing leadership presence, negative stereotypes at the workplace, and includes the guidance of EY leadership.

“The roundtable provides a platform where administrators of leading business programs can share best practices and learn from specific case studies where schools and companies have effectively attracted, retained and developed diverse talent,” said Bouyer. “Focusing on core concepts like diversity and inclusiveness prepares students to lead in a global marketplace and propels a diverse population of talent to the highest echelons of senior leadership and corporate brands.”

Following the conference, attendees were able to interview for internships at EY.

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