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Saturday, May 8, 2021

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Daniel Rakad (’15) and accounting lecturer Paul Sager Daniel Rakad (’15) and accounting lecturer Paul Sager

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Daniel Rakad (’15) recalls how his time at SDSU paved the way for success in his career.
By Fowler College of Business News Team

“The best lesson I took from SDSU is to learn to take on new challenges and experiences that help me grow both professionally and personally.”

With 1,440 students graduating from San Diego State University’s Fowler College of Business in 2015, accounting major Daniel Rakad earned the distinct honor of being chosen as the Most Outstanding Graduate in the college. The honor earned him the opportunity to sit on stage during the commencement ceremony and lead the traditional tassel-changing ceremony for all the undergraduate students. 

While being chosen as the top student among business majors is a significant accomplishment, it wasn’t the only monumental event in Rakad’s life that year: He earned the 2015 Cal CPA Forbes Award for achieving the highest score on the CPA exam in California. He was also recognized with an American Institute of CPAs Elijah Watt Sells Award in 2015 for earning a cumulative average score of 95.50 across all four sections of the uniform CPA exam on his first attempt. 

Today, Rakad is an audit manager at Ernst & Young’s San Diego office and said his amazing CPA exam results were due, in part, to his education at the Charles W. Lamden School of Accountancy.

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“My CPA exam success was partly due to having an excellent foundation from my accounting classes at SDSU,” he said. “I also used a combination of different CPA test materials and practiced a lot.”

Rakad grew up in the small town of Frydiant in the Czech Republic where he attended an American high school. “I met a lot of great people from the U.S. and they connected me with a school in Illinois, where I attended a summer semester,” said Rakad. “It was such a great experience that I knew I wanted to pursue my education there.” 

In 2011, Rakad left the Czech Republic and moved to East Peoria, Illinois where he spent two years earning his associate degree in accounting. “I was interested in accounting because I enjoy working with people and I like doing technical and analytical work,” he said. “As soon as I took my first college accounting course, I knew this was the right career path for me.”

Since he and his wife “always wanted to live” in California, Rakad chose to come to SDSU in 2013 to complete his bachelor’s degree and sit for the CPA exams. Three months after graduating magna cum laude from SDSU, he accepted the position at EY. 

As an accounting professional, Rakad still remembers — and still uses — the lessons he learned from SDSU in his daily routine.

“The best lesson I took from SDSU is to learn to take on new challenges and experiences that help me grow both professionally and personally.”