Corporate Partnerships: Ernst & Young

Ernst & Young has long been a fixture on the University of Florida Warrington College of Business campus. It has always been an important part of the company’s recruiting process, and that has only increased over time.

Today, EY has approximately 500 University of Florida graduates working at the company with a majority of them being Warrington graduates. The company also hires 80-140 Gators annually between interns and full-time employees. EY continues to prioritize recruiting UF because of the strong results from previous UF graduates.

EY table in Gerson Hall with an EY tablecloth, brochures and balloons

EY has a strong recruiting presence at UF.

“You can rely on them,” EY Tax Partner Greg Rosica said. “They are consistent and reliable. You know they have received a strong technical foundation. When you get UF graduates on your teams, you know what you’re going to get from them. They are great at working in diverse groups with teams from many other colleges and backgrounds.”

Because of that reputation throughout the company, EY continues to prioritize recruiting on the UF campus.

“It’s very important,” Rosica said. “UF is one of the top focus schools for us. We always put our resources into recruiting UF.”

Recruiting isn’t the only way EY stays involved on the UF Warrington campus. They participate in experiential learning and case studies, sponsor accounting research conferences, and sponsor data analytics and global activities. EY has also endowed a professorship, as well as a classroom and teaching assistant space in Gerson Hall.

They’ve also played an important role in starting the Gator100, which annually honors the 100 fastest-growing Gator-owned or Gator-led businesses in the world. Rosica served as an important sounding board when UF shared their interest in starting the program.

EY has an Entrepreneur of the Year award that is run in a similar way, and Rosica consulted UF on how to most effectively build the Gator100. EY receives the financial information from applicants, does the calculations and puts together the Gator100 rankings every year.

Learn more about a small sample of the impactful UF Warrington alumni who ensure the partnership between Warrington and EY continues for years to come.

Greg Rosica GREG ROSICA (BSAc ’86, MAcc ’88) | Tax Partner

Today, Rosica works in EY’s New York City office as an integral part of their private client services practice. He moved to New York City in 2018 to help grow the team while working on larger accounts with family offices and high net worth individuals.

The move happened after 30 years of working in Tampa at Arthur Andersen and EY. When his kids went to college, Rosica thought it was the perfect time to move to New York City.

“I wanted a faster pace and to live in a bigger city,” Rosica said. “It was a great opportunity for a change, and I was excited about that.”

When Rosica enrolled at UF as a freshman in 1982, this plan wasn’t in his wildest dreams. His mind was set on becoming an orthodontist. But after going through medical classes, it quickly became clear that wasn’t the field he wanted to be in. Business came quickly to his mind, and it didn’t take long for him to find his footing in the accounting school. Dr. Sandra Kramer taught an introduction to tax class as part of his master’s program, and Rosica was hooked. That class launched a successful career in tax that began with a job out of school at Arthur Andersen.

“I felt like UF prepared me well,” Rosica said. “I was taught how to think in different situations and apply that base knowledge I learned into the unique situations you experience in a job. It prepared me to tackle new opportunities and any issues posed to me. It helped me think logically. There were many important aspects I learned from the wonderful professors.”

Rosica stayed at Arthur Andersen from 1988 until 2002, becoming partner in 1999. When the firm closed in 2002, Rosica and his team found EY as the right fit. He continued to work in their tax office and did so until his decision to move to New York City in 2018.

No matter where Rosica has worked, he has always been surrounded by other UF alumni. Even in his personal life, Rosica met his wife during his time at UF and all three of their daughters graduated from UF – two with master’s degrees. Rosica’s brother and sister, as well as their spouses, also graduated from UF along with one nephew to total 12 UF degrees in the family. 

In his current role, he estimates working with other UF graduates on a weekly basis, often daily. When he worked in Tampa, it was even more frequent.

“There is a sense of credibility and commonality with other Gators,” Rosica said. “But more importantly, there’s a comfort level knowing that everyone got the same strong education.”

When he graduated from UF, Rosica knew he wanted to remain involved with his alma mater. Early in his career, he returned to campus many times for recruiting events and to make sure EY was visible to UF students considering their future careers. He still sits in on some interviews even as he has moved up in his career, but as time passed, new ways to give back to UF presented themselves.

Rosica currently serves on the Fisher School of Accounting Advisory Board and the Warrington Advisory Council. He also joined the UF Foundation Board in recent years.

“It’s important to me to give back to UF,” Rosica said. “I feel like people before me gave me an opportunity to have the level of success I’ve enjoyed in this profession. I attribute a lot of it to my UF education – the professors, experiences, and involvement of firms investing time there. When you put that together, that’s what makes UF what it is.”

Adrienne Figur ADRIENNE FIGUR | Partner/Principal – Central Region and Americas TFO and Global Operations Leader

Adrienne Figur was drawn to EY from the moment she interviewed for an internship in 1996. After interviewing with some of the other Big 8 accounting firms, Figur (BSAc ‘98, MAcc ’98) was convinced EY was the right fit.

“EY was the one that felt like the most personal fit for me,” Figur said. “I enjoyed the type of work they were doing, the people I met with and I knew that’s where I’d be most comfortable with the opportunities afforded to me while reaching my personal and professional goals.”

Now more than 25 years later, the feeling hasn’t changed. Figur has worked her way up from intern to her first job in the company’s Atlanta tax consulting group to her role today as Partner/Principal, serving as Central Region and Americas TFO and Global Operations Leader.

Figur’s first step to EY came through career events at UF. She got to know EY recruiters and learned more about the company culture. EY flew her to its New York City office to see firsthand what they did, who she would work with and more about the office environment. She interned with EY in the summer of 1997 and received a full-time job offer on her final day. Her soon-to-be husband was working in Atlanta, so she requested a transfer to the Atlanta office where she has worked for most of her career. Figur also served in the Raleigh, NC office from 2010 – 2013 where she made Partner.

In her 26 years, Figur has held many roles in EY, primarily as part of the Global Compliance and Reporting group. She serves as a Tax Account Leader at EY, delivering a full range of tax services to multi-national private and public companies. She served as the Southeast Region Global Compliance and Reporting Leader from 2015-2018, and after EY merged regions in 2018, she became Tax and Finance Operations Leader for the Central Region. In July 2022, she was promoted to her current role.

With all the success Figur has had at EY, her time at UF set her up for success. UF taught her the importance of networking and maintaining important relationships that continue to help her recruit top UF students to EY.

“It’s been a huge contributor,” she said. “I still have great relationships with professors at UF, those who were impactful professors and mentors to my while a student.. I love coming to campus and seeing them, and they’ve pointed me to students who they feel confident would mesh with  EY. I have familiarity with the rigor that the UF accounting program has for students, and know students are well prepared, understand rigors of accounting and they can persevere. Those are the types of students we want at EY.”

As EY continues to prioritize UF students in the recruiting process, Figur knows firsthand why. She serves on the Fisher School Advisory Board and gets to see closely how UF is developing students to stand out in the professional world.

“Fisher School Director Gary McGill and the professors are focused on the skills needed to be irreplaceable to EY’s clients in the ever-transforming profession,” Figur said. “The Fisher School students are on the cutting edge of this, and as Advisory Board members, we get a front row set to their research and conclusions – which are top notch and entirely relevant to what we do each and every day.

“UF focuses on relationships, and EY focuses on relationships. The experience we have with clients is all about relationships, just like it is for UF students with the campus community, professors and peers. We want UF to prepare students for what our clients look for in the future.”

Aaron Topol AARON TOPOL (BSAc ’04, MAcc ’04) | International Tax Partner

Aaron Topol’s introduction to EY came in the same way it did for many graduates. While walking through a recruiting fair where the Big Four accounting firms and many other mid-tier firms were represented, Topol met with EY recruiters and turned that conversation into a trip to the EY Atlanta office to learn more about a career with the company.

“That trip had me hooked,” Topol said.

Today, Topol is an International Tax Partner at EY and leads EY’s US-Central Region International Tax and Transaction services practice from the Atlanta office. But it was a long route to that point since he started with the company in 2004.

Topol walked at his University of Florida graduation one weekend in May 2004. The following weekend, he married his wife Carly (BSPR ’04). The weekend after that, they were moving to Atlanta to start their lives together, joining EY at the end of May.

After working in tax in the Atlanta office from 2004-2006, Topol moved to the New York City office to work in EY’s mergers and acquisitions practice until 2009 when the recession hit and the market dried up. As mergers and acquisitions deals slowed, Topol began traveling back to Atlanta for work before officially moving back in the summer of 2009 to join the international tax practice.

He made partner in 2014, and a few years later, he was asked to move overseas to lead EY’s U.S. tax practice in Asia. What was supposed to be a 3-5 year commitment only lasted 24 months, and he moved back to Atlanta when EY decided to combine regions and their mergers and acquisitions and international tax practices, asking Topol to lead the central region. 

The education he received at the Fisher School of Accounting built the foundation of his tax knowledge, allowing him to succeed with EY.

“UF prepared me to be curious,” Topol said. “I’m always curious about why something is the way it is or why a law was created the way it was. UF prepared me to understand the why behind tax laws and not just the laws themselves.”

Working at EY has allowed Topol to stay connected to his alma mater. All he has to do is look at his coworkers.

“I work with other UF alumni all the time,” Topol said. “We love Gators at EY. Our international tax group was mostly Gators at one point in my time here.”

Academic backgrounds also create friendly rivalries around EY. With so many UF graduates at EY, graduates from other universities make it a point to rub it in when given the opportunity.

When the Gators lost to Vanderbilt in football in the fall, Topol’s office was redecorated in Vanderbilt colors and he paid off his bet by donning Vanderbilt attire. Even his bookshelf was redone with books written exclusively by authors who graduated from Vanderbilt.

“It makes work fun,” Topol said. “But it is a lot more fun when we win.”

The strong UF presence around EY seems destined to continue in the future. As the company continues to prioritize hiring UF graduates, they’re seeing strong returns and graduates who are ready to make an immediate impact.

“They’re prepared well from a technology perspective,” Topol said of UF graduates. “It’s natural to them because the Fisher School incorporates technology well. EY has invested big in technology, and you can tell new hires from other universities are not as prepared as UF graduates. UF graduates are ready because of the way Fisher has integrated it into the curriculum.”

Katie Carroll KATIE CARROLL (BSAc ’20, MAcc ’21) | Staff Accountant

When Katie Carroll and the rest of her client services team recently filed their audit opinion, the 50-person team took some time to celebrate. Looking around the group who worked in tax, consulting and IT, Carroll recognized that nine of team members were University of Florida graduates.

“We’re slowly starting to take over Atlanta and I love it,” Carroll said with a laugh.

The Atlanta EY office has become home for Carroll even in her short time there since graduating from the Warrington College of Business. Her interest in joining EY started with a simple conversation in the halls of the Fisher School of Accounting during her sophomore year.

Her conversations started with a recruiter at a Fisher School recruiting event, and that quickly turned into a coffee chat for more information. Carroll initially thought she wanted to work at the company’s Charlotte office, so she was brought in for a visit and fell in love with it.

She later saw the Atlanta office as a better fit and was put in contact with EY employees in Atlanta. She was set to intern at EY during the summer after her junior year, but the COVID-19 pandemic forced her internship to be virtual.

“It was a great internship that allowed me to work directly with important EY clients,” Carroll said. “I was able to meet a lot of people, even if it was all virtual, and gained important experience by being a part of client meetings.”

Carroll received an offer to return full time after graduation. She quickly excelled at EY and credited her time at the Fisher School of Accounting, as well as leadership learned through assisting with Dance Marathon, for that.

“Learning the basics at the Fisher School prepared me well,” Carroll said. “The professors talked a lot about what the workplace is like and made sure we were prepared for the transition from college into a job.”

While Carroll has returned to campus to represent EY at a recruiting event, she’s always reminded of her alma mater while surrounded by so many other UF alumni at EY.

“You can always spot when you’re working with someone who went to UF,” Carroll said. “There’s a level of comfort there. It’s great to work with UF students and alumni of all ages. There are some that I never met when I was in school because they graduated before me, but we’re still able to bond as alumni.”

That same sense of family is prevalent at EY. As Carroll’s first job out of college, she felt welcomed right away and has thrived with the company.

“There’s a similar sense of community at EY as there is at UF,” Carroll said. “When you’re at UF, you’re surrounded by likeminded people in school who all chose to be Gators. I’ve found that same community at EY.”