First-gen La Salle accounting student moving onto role at PwC following graduation

April 24, 2024

Cagatay Ozbay, ‘24

Cagatay Ozbay, ‘24, who is an accounting major and finance minor is proud of all he’s accomplished—and overcome—as a student.  

“One thing I would like to say is, no matter how difficult it gets, if you have a goal and the discipline you will always succeed,” the Delran, N.J., resident said. “That is what got me here today. The discipline is what has made me the man who I am today.” 

As Ozbay prepares to receive his diploma at 2024 Commencement, he shares what being an Explorer means to him.    

Why did you choose La Salle? 

I chose La Salle because my cousin who is a graduate of the University told me how great the School of Business is and how amazing the professors are. 

What will you remember most about your La Salle experience? 

Spending quality time with my professors and my friends. 

What hurdles did you have to overcome to achieve this degree, and how did you overcome them?  

There were a lot of hurdles I had to overcome to achieve this degree such as working two jobs for one year. To overcome this, I would just study a lot during my free time. I would go to office hours and ask my professor questions which would help me a lot.  Back in the summer of 2022, I had major health problem which scared my entire family and friends. I did not know what was going to happen after my incident. Once I was out of the hospital, I could not do any activities and that made me depressed. However, with the help of professors and the staff, I overcame everything. Besides that, God has also given me the strength to not give up during the crisis. With the staff at La Salle and with God being behind my back, I know that nothing can break me. 

Tell us about the professor/staff member who supported you the most. 

A lot of professors helped me during my journey including Joe Ugras, Ph.D., Tom Adams, Ph.D., CPA, CGMA, Kristin Wentzel, P.D., Andy LaFond, DBA, CPA, Kristen Garry, and Kathy Finnegan. They all have a special place in my heart. 

Please tell us about a proud moment you’ve had while being enrolled. Why is it one of your greatest achievements?  

Last year I had an internship with PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (PwC) which is one of my greatest achievements. This was my first time ever having a job in my desired field. Before this I would work in granite and in construction. A lot of my professors helped me out a lot before my interview. One of the professors bought me a suit and a tie. That meant a lot to me because I never owned one before.  

What does graduating mean to you?  

Graduating means a lot since I am a first-generation student. I had to figure everything out myself. These are times that my parents pray for. I give them all the glory because they came to this country with no money, and they sacrificed everything just so I can have an education here in America. None of my parents really knew English because they did not have time to learn the language which gave me a push to excel in school. While I am not the smartest student in the school, that did not stop me from achieving great things. 

What is your next step after graduation?  

After graduation I will be with PwC and working on passing the CPA exam.   

What does La Salle mean to you? 

La Salle means a lot to me. La Salle did change me as a person, it made me a better person than who I was a couple of years ago. I feel more mature and more passionate about my work. I would love to mention that La Salle University to me is a huge family that will always have your back during your challenging times.