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Tuesday, October 3, 2023

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Tracy Tuong (’20) Tracy Tuong (’20)

Beginning Her Career

Recent SDSU alumna Tracy Tuong used the skills she gained at SDSU to obtain a full-time job offer at EY.
By Fowler College of Business News Team

Like many high school graduates, San Diego native Tracy Tuong (’20) wasn’t sure what career path she wanted to pursue when she attended college. In order to stay close to home, she made the decision to attend San Diego State University. 

While as a student at the Charles W. Lamden School of Accountancy in the Fowler College of Business, Tuong worked at a number of part-time jobs that provided her with both interpersonal and time management skills she found essential as she began her career search. 

After graduating with dual bachelor’s and master’s degrees in accountancy in May 2020, she accepted a position with the San Diego office of EY (formerly Ernst and Young) as a tax specialist. 

The SDSU News Team spoke to Tuong about her choice to major in accountancy and what advice she would give to other students.

Why did you choose to major in accounting? 

I honestly had no idea what I wanted to do with the rest of my life, and my dad suggested that I try accounting, since I’m good at math and it’s a stable job. As I have learned, accounting is nothing like math, but I ended up picking it up very quickly and doing well regardless.

What prompted you to become a CPA?

The path I was on simply led me there. I had absolutely no clue what I was supposed to do after graduation, but as soon as I took Accounting 331 (Intermediate Accounting I), I was introduced to all of the student organizations and it just seemed like the way to go. I figured, “What’s the point of this degree if I don’t do everything that I possibly can with it?”

You held several part-time positions while at SDSU. Did you learn anything from working at those jobs that helped to prepare you for your current position?

Those positions helped prepare me for a business world full of networking and relationships, as well as working in teams and cooperating with others — one of the most important skills, in my opinion. Additionally, holding these jobs while attending school full-time as a commuter student helped to prepare me by teaching me time management. In one of my first interviews for EY, the partner and I calculated about how many hours a week I spent working, in school, and doing schoolwork. When the total came out to about 60-80 hours per week, we decided that I was prepared for the workload I would be facing once I began working there full-time. 

Why did you choose to work at EY?

I chose to work at EY because I felt the most comfortable and connected with the people I met from the firm. No matter where you go, especially in Big Four, the work will be the same and what truly matters is that you enjoy working with the people there. If you don’t, you will be miserable. If you do, you’ll love coming to work and build really great relationships.

What advice would you offer today's SDSU students who are hoping to work at one of the Big Four accounting firms? 

I would advise today’s SDSU students to take advantage of the opportunities and resources offered at school, including the accounting societies and clubs, on-campus interviews, and professors. The professors have the experience and, most likely, have gone through exactly what you are, and it never hurts to hear someone else’s experience.