For years, Florida International University’s College of Business has delivered high-quality employees and interns to PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). Now the firm is giving back with a $100,000 donation to support the School of Accounting.
“We have a very strong vested interest in the success of the College of Business and the School of Accounting because we recruit many students from FIU for both internships and full-time positions,” said Mario de Armas (BAcc ’85), Florida Market Managing Partner at PwC.
He added that PwC expects to have hired at least 60 full-time employees and interns from the College of Business by the end of this year.
PwC’s contribution will be used, among other things, to cover graduate students’ participation at research conferences across the U.S. and to send undergraduate students to case competitions, said Ruth Ann McEwen, director of the School of Accounting and Senior Associate Dean of the College of Business.
A long-term partnership.
In recognition of the gift, Classroom 222 in the College of Business’ state-of-the-art Management and New Growth Opportunities (MANGO) building, home to the School of Accounting, will be named the PwC Classroom.
“To see our brand represented there is a great source of pride for me personally because of my history with the university,” said de Armas, whose job responsibilities include recruitment at FIU.
Designed to enhance face-to-face, online and hybrid learning, MANGO’s classrooms are outfitted with the latest technology, including push-to-talk microphones on each student’s desk, sophisticated projectors and touch whiteboards.
The PwC Classroom will serve as a symbol of the firm’s relationship with the School of Accounting and the College of Business, McEwen noted. She recalled how one student’s participation in the Introduction to the Profession non-credit course sponsored by PwC led him to a job at the firm’s Chicago office upon graduation.
“They [PwC executives] are extremely visible on campus throughout the year, not just at recruiting time,” she added. “That’s a pretty strong show of support for our programs and for our students.”
Setting a path for opportunities and success.
De Armas describes his academic path at FIU as fundamental in a career that brought him to PwC in 1987 and helped him grow professionally, occupying a broad range of roles at the firm both in the U.S. and abroad.
“The accounting program at FIU, when I was there and still today, is second to none,” said de Armas, a member and past chairman of the School of Accounting’s Advisory Board. “When I went to the University of Florida to get my MBA, much of the material we covered in their graduate accounting program was what I had covered at FIU as an undergraduate.”
His advice for current College of Business students: Never underestimate what you can accomplish.
“The students that graduate and apply themselves have many opportunities at PwC, not just in South Florida but globally,” de Armas insisted. “Anything is achievable.”