“When I first began my accounting journey at York, I wasn't aware of all the ways in which I could utilize this major to have a successful career in corporate America,” Saha says. “It wasn't until I joined the National Association of Black Accountants (NABA) that I found a community of student mentors who truly guided me on my academic and professional journey.”
According to the graduating senior, even a former fellow-student has stayed in touch as a mentor.
“Most notably, Ifeoluwa Shodunke, who graduated from York in 2019 has played the biggest role in helping me achieve success,” she says. “While I initially met him during my time as a tax preparer for the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program, [an IRS-sponsored free income-prep program for community residents] when he was VITA manager, he became my mentor/role model because of the interactions we had during NABA events.”
Saha added, that “from helping me prepare for job interviews by conducting mock interviews, reviewing my resume, and helping me expand my network through LinkedIn, to advising me on which classes to take to fulfill my 150 credit CPA Licensure requirements, Ifeoluwa has been a wealth of knowledge and support.”
She also has high praises for her professors.
“In addition to Ifeoluwa, Professor Geraldo Vasquez, the first Accounting professor I've ever had at York, has also been a continued source of guidance. I often like to say that he directly shaped the course of my life by inspiring me to not only pursue accounting as my major but also instilling in me the same passion he has for this subject matter.”
Saha, who emigrated from Bangladesh as a small child, says she was at first uncertain as to how to progress as an Accounting student, but then found her footing when she joined the related professional organization.
Becoming a member of the (NABA), helped her connect with fellow-students in her department as well as members from across the United States. In normal times, Professor Robert Clovey usually takes his students to the annual gathering in Las Vegas with financial support of the York College Alumni Association.
“My experience at York has been amazing,” says Saha. “The camaraderie that students have with each other, combined with the level of support I have received from my professors have been the highlights of my time here. The way in which the student body bands together to support one another, especially during this period of uncertainty and unrest, has been a great source of inspiration.”
In addition to wellness calls received from college leadership, Saha also found support from her classmates.
“Many of the students, especially within the NABA community, found ways to check up on each other and make sure that everyone was okay and had access to the necessary resources to succeed academically,” she revealed. “In addition to that, as secretary of NABA, I, alongside the NABA e-board, helped implement a mentorship program that honed students' professional development skills and helped them obtain opportunities despite the pandemic.”
Saha is also enthused by the sense of community she has found withing her major and the college in general.
“The enthusiasm that York's Accounting Society had for this program was uncanny,” she marveled. “Students who had already graduated volunteered their time and energy into mentoring current students, despite "many having work/family obligations. The length that students at York are willing to go to so that they can help each other succeed and lift as they climb, is uncanny.”
Saha was also one of six students who participated in the Charles Schwab internship in the summer and fall of 2020. As a Schwab intern, she served as a technology risk management and will complete an internship with Price Waterhouse Coopers (PwC) as a real estate tax intern this winter/spring session.
“I have also received full-time job offers after graduation with Andersen, Grant Thornton, RSM, KPMG, and Accenture through the NABA convention,” she says. “However, I am still deliberating which offer to accept.”
The hardworking student also gives credit to her professors for their investment in her success.
She also wants to thank her professors by name. “Without having Professors Vasquez, Clovey, Green and Radhamohan, not only being amazing professors who are experts at drilling the subject matter into our heads, but also having so much faith in me, offering advice whenever I needed it,” she says. “I would not have made it very far or achieved as much [without them]. It is because of awesome professors like them, that I have found so much love for accounting and I will be forever grateful to them for that.”