Accounting for brotherly success

August 4, 2021

It’s been a family affair for a trio of brothers, who have gone from La Salle to Big 4 accounting firms.

When Ryan Scott, MBA ’21, was considering La Salle University’s 4-year BS/MBA in Accounting program—the only such program in the Philadelphia region—he didn’t need to look far for success stories.

His older brothers, Joseph, MBA ’16, and Patrick, MBA ’19, were program graduates—a distinction that, in part, helped them to secure positions at Big 4 accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).

Ryan followed in his brothers’ footsteps, sensing the program could provide him with a similarly clear academic path toward his professional goal of becoming a certified public accountant (CPA) like his father, Joseph. And just like his brothers, Ryan enjoyed similar success at La Salle and landed a Big 4 job offer.

“My brothers’ success definitely played a large role in my decision to attend La Salle and be a part of the 4-year BS/MBA program,” said Ryan, an audit associate with KPMG. “I was very impressed that both had full-time jobs at a Big 4 accounting firm by the end of their junior years. I felt if I worked hard like they did, the program would put me in a similar situation, which it ultimately did.”

Like many students, the Scott brothers cited the ability to earn an MBA in four years as one of the most attractive components of the program. With a condensed timeframe, students in La Salle’s B.S./MBA program benefit from pursuing their MBA without needing to balance commitments as working professionals.

The brothers, who hail from Warrington, Pa., believe the program’s rigorous curriculum and the accounting faculty’s experience best equipped them for a smooth transition from the classroom to the professional world.

Patrick, an experienced assurance associate at PwC, drew inspiration from his brother Joseph’s experience in the program. (Today, after a stint at a Big 4 firm, Joseph is an assistant vice president of financial reporting at William Penn Bank.) Patrick pointed to niche-focused lessons from professors like Susan Borkowski, Ph.D., and Andrew Lafond, DBA, CPA, for preparing him for both professional situations and the CPA exam.

“There aren’t many similar programs in the area, and I would highly recommend it to any person in high school thinking about majoring in accounting,” Ryan Scott, MBA ’21.

“Professor Borkowski’s Governmental and Nonprofit Accounting course helped introduce important nonprofit accounting concepts that offered great background when providing assurance deliverables to nonprofit clients at PwC,” said Patrick. “The advanced tax courses taught by Professor Lafond helped increase my knowledge of tax related accounting concepts and tax research best practices, which made the topics covered on the Regulation portion of the CPA exam much more familiar.”

With three brothers studying in the same program, there was naturally some friendly competition—which was nothing new, according to Ryan.

“There are bragging rights among us as to who was the best student,” said Ryan. “We all played the same sports growing up and we were very competitive with each other and constantly compared each other’s performances. My brothers set the bar high. And with me being so competitive and wanting to do better than them, it has certainly played a part in my success.”

As competitive as they were, the Scott brothers also supported each other. Being the youngest, Ryan said he learned much from Joseph’s and Patrick’s experiences.

“My brothers gave me a ton of guidance about my career path,” said Ryan. “They had told me stories of what it was like to work at a Big 4 accounting firm so I knew what to expect and was prepared when I began working (at KPMG). They also have really helped me figure out the best strategies for the CPA exam, which I will take this summer.

“The 4-year BS/MBA in Accounting program is a great way to start your career if you’re an aspiring CPA,” said Ryan. “There aren’t many similar programs in the area, and I would highly recommend it to any person in high school thinking about majoring in accounting.”

—Patrick Berkery