Alvaro De La Mora ’18 Master of Accounting '17 BSBA (Accounting)
Six years ago, a resident assistant (RA) from Eller’s Business Careers Awareness Program (BCAP) visited Alvaro De La Mora’s junior class at Pueblo High School in Tucson. De La Mora knew he had an interest in business, but was unsure of the direction to take. BCAP piqued his curiosity.
Fast-forward to summer 2018, when De La Mora returns to the program as an RA for the third time, now bearing the title and responsibilities of lead resident assistant, a full-time accounting position awaiting him this fall.
BCAP is in its 14th year and is made possible by a partnership with EY, a relationship facilitated by UA alumnus and EY partner Ron Butler. Not only does EY fully fund the program, the global firm extends internship and employment opportunities to many of BCAP’s participants. All students who participate in the program do so with a scholarship provided by EY.
De La Mora participated in the program and then interned with EY during the summers of 2016 and 2017. He also received the prestigious EY Scholar scholarship, which covers the tuition for him to pursue his master’s degree. Now that he has graduated from Eller’s Master of Accounting program, he will return to the company as a full-time employee.
This week, rising high school seniors will live in UA dorms and attend classes on entrepreneurship, marketing, business communication, operations management, accounting, budgeting and ethics. One day will be spent traveling to Phoenix to visit EY offices and network with professionals. On the program’s final day, students compete in a case competition where they present the business plan developed throughout the week. This year BCAP has also partnered with the McGuire Center for Entrepreneurship to incorporate local business owner presentations.
Six years ago, the week-long program was just the beginning for De La Mora. “It really opened my eyes to what I could do in business. Fundamentally, it’s the reason I pursued an accounting degree,” he says. The relationship with EY continued to make a difference in his early Eller career. “As a pre-business student I attended several networking events with EY professionals and that eventually led me to complete two internships with the firm,” he says.
As a first-generation college student, De La Mora remembers the difficulties of adjusting to college life. “BCAP became an essential support system,” he says. “I reached out to many of the resident assistants and business professionals I met during the program for advice.” These connections inspired De La Mora to return to the program as an RA three years in a row. And he’s in it for the long haul, noting that he plans “on staying in touch over the years and hopefully coming back with EY to judge the student presentations.”
Over the program’s 13-year history, more than 400 high school students have participated. The experience could set them on a path similar to De La Mora’s, a path that he knows had a significant impact on his life.
Why did he continue to engage with the program, even after reaping its benefits? “I feel like it’s my obligation to help others—something that’s stressed at Eller,” De La Mora says. “Once you become successful, it’s important to give back.”
Header photo courtesy Kathryn Maxwell.