As part of KPMG Corporate Day at Mays Business School on April 4, several KPMG partners and professionals visited classes, attended a reception and accepted awards from Dean Eli Jones. The firm was named the 2017 Mays Business School Corporate Partner of the Year as part of the Mays Connection program, which celebrates the school’s partnerships with both businesses and alumni.

KPMG is a professional services firm – offering audit, tax and advisory services – and it is one of the Big Four accounting firms. In 2016, the firm hired approximately 75 students for internships and full-time opportunities at both the undergraduate and graduate level.

The contributions that KPMG has made to Mays Business School include, but are not limited to, the KPMG Chair in Accounting established in 2001, the KPMG Professorship in Accounting established in 1988, the KPMG Fellowship established in 1987, KPMG Endowed Scholarship Fund established in 2007 and the KPMG Data Analytics/Technology Development Endowment in 2015.

“We couldn’t do some of the things we do at Mays – in accounting, especially – without your involvement,” Jones said before unveiling a plaque that will hang on the wall at Wehner. He pointed out several faculty members who have benefitted from the school’s partnership with KPMG, including former Dean Jerry Strawser, who holds the KPMG Chair in Accounting.

KPMG Audit Partner Randy Hill said the firm couldn’t do what it does without Mays and Texas A&M University producing young people who are “not only polished, but have great all-around skills. They are as dedicated and hard-working as anybody we hire.” He said the partnership is fun for the firm’s people who deal with Mays students and graduates. “This has been a labor of love more than work.”

Bernard J. Milano, president of the KPMG U.S. Foundation Inc. and The PhD Project Association, was joined by several other leaders from KPMG: Deputy Chairman and Chief Operating Officer P. Scott Ozanus, Campus Recruiting Director Sarah Jacob, Texas A&M Recruiter Shelby Edmoundson and Texas A&M Dallas Recruiter Jake Dickson. Others from KPMG were David Swiney of Litigation Consulting and Forensic Investigations, Investment Banking Associate Angelina Budko, and Marketing Development Manager Melissa Pressley.

Jim Benjamin, head of the Department of Accounting, also expressed his appreciation for KPMG. “This is a partnership in the truest sense of the word,” he said. “They hire dozens of students every year.” He also acknowledged KPMG’s record of generous scholarships to Texas A&M students.

PhD Project

On the afternoon of KPMG Corporate Day, Milano spoke on “Diversity of Thought” – outlining the goals of the PhD Project, an effort to improve diversity in higher education. It has been led by Milano since its inception and has benefited a number of Mays current and prospective faculty, including Jones, who called Milano “a difference maker.” Jones was inducted into the PhD Project Hall of Fame in 2016.

Milano explained the program’s evolution: After the KPMG Foundation decided to attack higher education diversity, he spent about a year traveling around the country, listening to what corporations, associations and professors believed would work. “It had been 30 years since civil rights litigation, yet diversity had not spread at universities,” he said. Milano said his firm cares so much about diversity as do their clients. “There is brilliance everywhere,” he said. “It’s not defined by skin color, race or ethnicity.”

In 1994, KPMG – along with Citibank, GMAC and AACSB – created the PhD Project on the premise that diverse faculty attract diverse students to study business. When the program began, only 294 of 25,000 U.S. business school faculty members were African-American, Hispanic-American or Native American. Today, there are 1,358, he said.

The PhD Project encourages minority students and professionals to consider the following benefits of a career in academia:

–           The demand exceeds the supply

–           You are making a difference in the lives of others

–           You have geographic choices

–           You can have work/life balance

–           You can have stability

–           Your job offers intellectual stimulation

–           Salaries in academia are very attractive

“There are incredible opportunities in business and academia,” he said. “And faculty of color are magnets to students of color. We want to have a broad spectrum of both.” To learn more about The PhD Project please visit www.phdproject.org.