Here’s Something I Never Thought I’d Say: I Went to an Accounting Symposium... And Had a Really Great Time


By Raul Hernandez, MAcc ‘18

To be honest, I was a little nervous about the EY Accounting & Public Policy Symposium in Washington, D.C.

It took place at the beginning of my Master of Accounting program here at Ross, and I only knew a handful of students — it was bound to be awkward, and I had visions of being stuck in a stuffy auditorium for nine hours a day.

To my surprise (and relief!) our time in D.C. was so much more than that. This three-day symposium provided me with an awesome experience and facilitated the start of many good relationships with my classmates.

The first thing we did as a group was a tour of the city Sunday night. This event was great! I was able to get to know my classmates and absorb some of D.C.’s rich history.

The symposium itself covered topics from policy reform to roles of federal agencies. I was able to learn the complexity of public policy, the pace at which policy reform has to change to keep up with technology, and how it all relates to accounting.

One of the presentations that really stood out to me was “The US Department of the Treasury, IRS: Criminal Investigation.” Through the presentation, I was able to learn about the ongoing challenges that the IRS goes through in a daily basis. These challenges include the growth of crypto currency, insider trading, and money laundering.

Before this trip, I had a very negative view of lobbying. After listening to speeches like “The Role of Lobbyist and Interest Groups in the Public Policy Process,” however, I learned it can actually have extremely positive outcomes.

I also learned that a career in public policy is a possibility, and that as accountants we have to be more than well informed about past, current, and future public policy.

It was quickly apparent how wonderful everyone in the program is. For example, my flight back to Ann Arbor was canceled and one of my peers volunteered to drive me back without hesitation.

The Washington, D.C. trip was a great event, and the timing of it made it even better. Having the symposium alongside orientation served as a great introduction to the whole program. I’m looking forward to continuing to explore the relationship between accounting and public policy throughout the year.

The symposium continues throughout the year, where guest speakers will come to Ross and inform us about their profession and the challenges they face. So far, we have heard from the Americas Deputy Risk Management Leader for Ernst & Young, Susan Meyer, and from a chairman of Deloitte’s Board, Mike Fucci. Both guest speakers were informative and mentioned how the role of Big Four associates is becoming more analytical. Similar to me, Susan Meyer also has her BBA and MAcc from Ross, which gives me hope that one day I can be as impactful and successful as she is.

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Raúl Hernández
​MAcc '18

About Raul

Who is your favorite Ross Professor?

Professor Mary Hinesly. She is really dedicated to her students, she is well connected, she is always willing to help, and many other reasons! She is great, I have learned a lot from her both inside and outside of the classroom.

What's the most adventurous thing you've ever done?

Honestly, it was leaving my home in Puerto Rico to study at the University of Michigan

We're looking for new music, what's your jam right now?

I am currently listening to Cultura Profetica, Puerto Rican reggae, specifically the songs días intensos and lo que somos

Learn more about the Michigan Ross Master of Accounting Program