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- Student-Athlete's Career Path Leads to MSA, Deloitte LLP
Justin Fox ’22 was recruited to come to Dominican University of California by lacrosse coach Sammy Vogel-Seidenberg five years ago. Barowsky School of Business professor Dr. Christopher Leeds helped Justin set his professional goals.
“The end goal that Dr. Leeds told me was an internship with Deloitte Tax LLP could become a full-time job with Deloitte, and a job with Deloitte is a successful career,” Justin recalls.
Mission accomplished. Justin, who graduated in May 2022, accepted an offer from the Deloitte’s Nashville office that will defer his appointment to a full-time position until later this year after he completes his Master of Science in Accounting (MSA) at Dominican and is CPA certified before moving to Tennessee.
Justin’s journey with Deloitte started in 2020 with a summer accounting mentorship with Rob Massey, a partner with Deloitte Tax LLP, that evolved into an internship on Massey’s Tax-Aid team.
“I worked hard and did everything I was told to, especially by Dr. Leeds,” Justin says. “He laid it out for me and told me `You need to sit in front of your class and work hard and pay attention and network with people and connect with people’ and I did, and it worked out in my favor.”
Justin has his parents, Heather and Adam, to thank as well for steering him to Dominican. After graduating from Valencia High School, Justin was interested in playing lacrosse at a different college until he realized the climate – literally and figuratively – suited him better in San Rafael.
“My mom liked Dominican’s location and the academic side of Dominican a lot more than any other college,” Justin says. “I was kind of a hard-headed kid, but I listened to my mom. She said `You can get a business degree and you can do anything with it and go in any direction.’ ”
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The lacrosse team at Dominican was a good fit for Justin. He found new teammates and future role models.
“Justin has changed a ton and is dedicated in all aspects, but even more so he is fun and has a great attitude,” Coach Vogel-Seidenberg says. “His personality has changed in the best way possible over his time at Dominican.”
That may have something to do with spending so much time checking in with Dr. Leeds in his office in the Barowsky School of Business (BSB). Justin wasn’t alone.
“The entire class of incoming freshmen lacrosse players who came to Dominican were told by Coach Sammy to go make Dr. Leeds your best friend,” Justin says.
By the time Justin went home to Santa Clarita for a visit during his first semester his family noticed immediately the impact Dominican already was having on him.
“My parents talked about how Dominican helped open me up and grow as a person. Being with my friends and my lacrosse teammates and having that brotherhood helped me. As a student-athlete you come here and it’s like you have 40 best friends immediately,” Justin says. “I came back, and a switch just flipped.”
It helped that Justin became friends and later roommates with fellow lacrosse player, Jeff Farley ‘21. A Magna Cum Laude honored student-athlete, Jeff is now an Account Manager with White Cap.
“I was surrounding myself with people who were being successful like Jeff Farley,” Justin says. “I was watching everything he was doing and I kind of mimicked it.”
Justin also followed the lead of Dr. Leeds. When Justin expressed his interest in an accounting class his sophomore year and how accounting seemed to come naturally to him, Dr. Leeds advised and supported him.
“Justin had shown an interest in accounting early on and he intuitively understood the principles of accounting, so I was confident he would perform well and be offered a position with Deloitte after his summer internship,” Dr. Leeds says. “I knew Justin had an excellent work ethic – he had worked as an intern in the BSB office – and he has developed outstanding professional skills. I have every confidence he will be extremely successful.”
Dr. Leeds, along with Courtney Budesa, Director of Internships and Professional Development in BSB, assisted Justin in getting an internship in the Novato office of the Bregante & Company LLP. Justin was interning there while playing lacrosse for the Penguins. Those two, along with Sophia Stetson ‘21, also helped Justin create a LinkedIn profile that impressed Massey.
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However, there was one missing link. Justin needs to be a CPA before he can join Deloitte full time. That was a problem until Justin went home and talked to him mom – who sent him back to Dominican and to Dr. Leeds. He suggested Justin could become CPA certified by enrolling in Dominican’s new one-year Master’s in Accounting program, which emphasizes business analytics, now a requirement of the CPA exam.
“For a stroke of luck there was a master’s in accounting information meeting that night, so I joined that meeting,” Justin says. “It was meant to be.”
Looking back good fortune found Justin at Dominican. The Penguins lacrosse team had a winning season in 2022 and qualified for its first WCLL playoff game as a member of the top division nationally in Men’s Collegiate Lacrosse Association. He is a captain on Dominican’s lacrosse team this spring and this August will earn a degree from its MSA program to put him in position to be CPA certified and Deloitte bound in Nashville.
“I was able to perform to expectations that my mom and my family knew I could do in high school,” Justin says. “And now that I’m in college it paid off in the long run.”