From RWU to a Great Career, His Dream Come True
Rosalvens Saint Jean, RWU Class of 2018
It’s no surprise Rosalvens Saint Jean already had a full-time job with one of the world’s top public accounting firms lined up before he graduated. He had taken every opportunity to grow his skills and knowledge through hands-on learning experiences at Roger Williams University and multiple internships with great companies.
And he’s doing the same to launch a rising career as part of the accounting staff at Ernst & Young. As he works his way from staff to senior positions, and then becoming manager after passing the Certified Public Accountant exam, Saint Jean says it’s like being in school all over again.
“What my job is now is mostly a lot of learning,” he says. His work rotates through the different tax service lines – compliance, international tax services, partnership, for example – to familiarize him with those fields and to help determine which area he wants to choose to concentrate in give when he takes on a senior role. “It’s like going through the business program at Roger Williams, where you take classes in accounting, management, economics, and I knew I wanted to do accounting.”
So much of his education at RWU prepared him for these busy days of learning, researching, and preparing tax returns for a wide variety of clients, from biopharmaceutical to real estate and government trusts.
“School teaches you how to work – how to be focused and how to prioritize,” he says.
But it also gave him hard skills that he’s applying to his work now. He’d had experience preparing tax returns in class and for real clients, as well as working on tax preparation software programs.
“Professor McQuilken would always tell us it’s not just about the reading, you’ve got to make sense of it and know how to apply it. And when I came here to EY, you’re given work like an audit of a financial statement and it’s up to you to know what you’re looking for in the financial statements and how to apply the concepts.”
Through RWU’s accounting program, Saint Jean participated in the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program, working with low-to-moderate income families to prepare tax returns free of charge. “That really shows you how to apply what you learn in a textbook in a real-world situation. I was dealing with real clients, doing returns for individuals in Providence. Coming here to a big accounting firm and already knowing how to work with people and navigate different software programs, those skills are crucial.”
Between his busy schedule as a double major in accounting and management, with a minor in French, Saint Jean also made time to complete three internships – one in marketing with Clavis Insight, and two internships in management and accounting with Ernst & Young, which helped get his foot in the door at the major accounting firm. He was also a member of the student business fraternity, Delta Sigma Pi, and joined RWU’s Hawks for Haiti.
All of his hard work has led him to this point in his life, and he’s never passed up an opportunity to deepen his education. Born in Mirebalais, Haiti, Saint Jean dedicated himself to his schoolwork while his six siblings took on jobs to help their single mother make ends meet in their new home in Boston. “We left Haiti for economic reasons – we decided to come here because we wanted a better life.” He’s proud to be a first-generation college student and graduate.
“When I moved to Boston I had no idea I’d attend a four-year university and work at a public accounting firm. I worked hard, took every opportunity in school, and got offered a full-time position at EY while I was a senior. It was a dream come true.”