KPMG launches Future Diversity Leaders program

As part of its continuing effort to increase and support minority representation in the accounting profession, KPMG LLP, the audit, tax, and advisory firm, has announced the launch of its Future Diversity Leaders (FDL) program, an initiative designed to provide leadership training and financial support for outstanding minority undergraduate business students.

Each year, 50 students are chosen for the KPMG's FDL program, which was recently awarded a 2007 "Innovations in Diversity Award" by Profiles in Diversity Magazine. Students are nominated by their college professors from across the nation, based on the student's commitment to high academic achievement, community and campus involvement, and active participation in diversity organizations. FDL program participants then receive additional training, internship opportunities and scholarships for up to three years.

"While the students selected for the program are all academically strong, the Future Diversity Leaders program takes their learning a step further, providing these students with some of the extra skills, knowledge, and business perspective they need to become the business leaders of tomorrow," said Manny Fernandez, national managing partner of campus recruiting. "We are committed to fostering a diverse and inclusive workforce and feel that a focused program such as this can help increase the number of minority business leaders in the accounting profession and other areas of business."

Upon successful completion of their summer internship prior to their junior year, the students become eligible for additional scholarship money, as well as an offer to remain in the intern program the following summer. The internship prior to their senior year is a "Practice Internship," where students gain hands-on experience with clients in their chosen business area. In addition to gaining work experience, students will be mentored by the FDL Faculty Advisor from their school, as well as by a KPMG professional.

The first group of 50 students, representing 32 schools across the nation, recently completed the FDL's inaugural three-day leadership conference in Hollywood, CA, during which students interacted and networked with industry leaders, professors, and KPMG professionals. Among the students in attendance was Rahul Sevani, who is entering his sophomore year at New York University.

"The program's greatest benefit was that we were given the chance to meet talented and, more importantly, motivated individuals within our peer group," said Sevani. "When a program puts 50 people of such high caliber together, strong and mutually-beneficial relationships will surely develop, as I believe they did at the FDL conference."

Kelly Richmond Pope, Ph.D., CPA, and assistant professor, School of Accountancy, DePaul University agrees. "KPMG's FDL conference is an excellent opportunity for young academic scholars to explore, define, and reflect the true meaning of leadership, teamwork and integrity," said Pope, who also attended the conference. "I am certain that the support gained through this conference will help all the participants reach their desired goals."

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