In an effort to increase diversity in the tax profession, LMU College of Business Administration and Deloitte Tax LLP created the Deloitte Tax Diversity Scholarship, a full-tuition scholarship for ethnically and racially diverse students seeking a Master of Science in Taxation (MST) degree from LMU.
The inaugural scholarship recipients are Rodonna Flowers ’22, M.S. ’23, Dezmin Hemmans ’22, M.S. ’23 and Robert Zepeda, M.S. ’23. Rodonna and Dezmin are LMU alums who earned degrees in accounting and finance, respectively, while Robert has a degree in business administration with a concentration in accounting from Whittier College.
In addition to covering half of their tuition costs, Deloitte is championing the scholars in other ways. Partners and managers at Deloitte served as mentors to Robert, Dezmin and Rodonna throughout the one-year program. “As an LMU Deloitte Tax diversity scholar, I received financial support and mentorship. My mentors are two Black professionals, a partner and senior director in tax at Deloitte. We’ve discussed strategies from personal development to work/life balance,” commented Dezmin.
In fall 2022, the three scholars attended the MADE Conference at Deloitte University in Westlake, Texas. where they networked with Deloitte professionals, learned how Deloitte makes diversity a priority, participated in case studies, and played a team-based accounting game that was like an escape room. Black and Hispanic/Latinx professionals from Deloitte spoke about their experiences navigating the accounting profession as a minority and offered useful tips on how to overcome self-doubt and the impostor syndrome.
“The Deloitte MADE Conference was a great experience and I was able to connect with so many Deloitte professionals,” said Rodonna. “I enjoyed hearing what department everyone worked in and learning about the work they do. The Deloitte professionals provided useful tips that I’ll keep in mind in the future. Everyone has been very welcoming throughout the scholarship program.”
Deloitte professionals from the firm’s Tax Technology Consulting division also gave guest lectures in MST classes during the 2022-2023 academic year.
In a fitting end to the program, each scholar was given the opportunity to interview with Deloitte, putting into practice what they had learned over the last year – all three received offers and accepted full-time positions to join Deloitte as tax consultants in June 2023. Troy Varenchik, partner with Deloitte Tax LLP, said “From our perspective, the LMU Deloitte Tax Diversity Scholarship is going very well for its first year! This is a great start and we look forward to continuing to expand our support for the LMU MST program.”
“I don’t think we could have asked for better outcomes from our collaboration with Deloitte,” added Larry Kalbers, associate dean and R. Chad Dreier Chair in Accounting Ethics.
To learn more about the LMU Deloitte Tax Diversity Scholarship, requirements and how to apply for fall 2023, visit cba.lmu.edu/deloittetax.