2020 Best & Brightest: Sarah Tatley, Santa Clara University (Leavey)

Sarah Tatley

Santa Clara University, Leavey School of Business

“Animal-loving, soccer-playing, friend-supporting, plant-growing, farmer’s-market-going, adventure-seeking, nature-loving, individual who wants to positively impact through business.”

Fun fact about yourself:  When I was in elementary school, I took part in a photoshoot with two-time FIFA World Cup Champion and two-time Olympic Gold Medalist, Brandi Chastain, on the Santa Clara University soccer field, Buck Shaw Field.  When I came to Santa Clara University, I worked alongside her on Buck Shaw Field as an equipment manager and goalkeeper trainer while she was a volunteer assistant coach.

Hometown: Cupertino, California

High School: Lynbrook High School in San Jose, CA

Major: Accounting

Minor: N/A

Favorite Business Course: MGMT 80: Global & Cultural Environment of Business

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles During College:

  • UGBP Program Assistant (May 2017 – September 2019)
  • UGBP Lead Program Assistant (September 2019 – Present)
  • Awarded the 2019 Thomas Maier Memorial Accounting Award (2019)
  • Member of the Beta Gamma Sigma Business Honor Society (2019-Present)
  • Awarded the Lautze & Lautze Accounting Scholarship Award (2019)
  • Awarded the Father Paul Locatelli S.J. Accounting Award (2018)
  • Dean’s List (2016-2017, 2017-2018, 2018-2019)
  • Member of Accelerated Cooperative Education (ACE) Leadership Program (2017 – Present)
  • Participant in Leavey Scholars Program (2017 – Present)
  • Named Distinguished First-Year Student at Santa Clara University (2017)
  • Intramural Soccer
  • Intramural Softball
  • Volunteer at SVACA (Silicon Valley Animal Control Authority)

Where have you interned during your college career? During the summer after my junior year, I interned at EY (Ernst & Young) in the San Jose office as a Summer Tax Intern.

Where will you be working after graduation? After graduation, I will be working at EY (Ernst & Young) in the San Jose office as a Tax Staff.

What did you enjoy most about your business school? Over the course of my time here at Santa Clara University, I have come to realize that the Leavey School of Business is unlike any other business school in the world. The LSB combines a unique set of qualities: a prime location in the heart of the Silicon Valley, professors who bring in backgrounds of real-world, industry experience, endless opportunities to start your career or continue on to higher education, and all-around fun and challenging environment to learn and grow in. I have learned a great deal while studying at the LSB and I’m grateful for my time here.

What advice would you give to a student looking to major in a business-related field?  To a student interested in majoring in a business-related field, my advice is to maintain a global mindset throughout your studies. As globalization naturally continues to progress forward, the importance of understanding business outside of the U.S. – technically and especially culturally – is becoming increasingly prominent. Immerse yourself in new environments, take the initiative to keep yourself informed on business and world news and current events, and keep an open mind to the world around you.

What has surprised you most about majoring in business? What surprises me most about majoring in business has definitely been the fact that I am coming out of undergrad with a major in accounting. In a scholarship application that I wrote two years ago, I said “As a senior in high school, I perceived careers in accounting to be monotonous, tedious, and as far from personable as possible. The last thing I wanted to be doing was crunching numbers in a dimly-lit cubicle in the back corner of a grey-tinted office.”

However, “[m]y perception of accounting drastically changed when I came to Santa Clara University. I took ACTG 11: Financial Accounting and ACTG 12: Managerial Accounting with great professors, Professor Calegari and Professor Donohoe. After completing both courses, Accounting Information Night, as well as, the Accounting Career Fair, I realized that my perception of accounting didn’t reflect very much truth. Speaking to a variety of professionals from across the different service lines, I found that many loved the excitement, challenges, and diversity of tasks that their jobs had to offer.”  I think many people have a misconstrued idea of what accounting looks like as a career or who accountants are as people. I have definitely had to question and change my perspective of accounting over the course of the past four years.

Which academic, extracurricular or personal achievement are you most proud of? The achievement that makes me most proud has definitely been making my parents proud. This encapsulates all of the small achievements that make me proud: being awarded three accounting awards in two years, achieving a high cumulative and major GPA in one of the most difficult majors in the LSB, having a job lined up for after I graduate, and doing more of what I love to do (like hiking 20 miles in one go in Yosemite). My parents have made sacrifices for me to be where I am now and have given me nothing, but opportunities and support in helping me find my way in all facets of my life.

Which classmate do you most admire? Taylor Burns is the classmate whom I admire most. She is an extremely hard-working student-athlete who juggles a lead position at an on-campus job, an internship at a start-up company, her college course-load, and a Division I sport – all while maintaining strong relationships with friends, teammates, coaches, and family.  She is intelligent, quick on her feet, reliable, competitive, resourceful, and has true grit.  She has had an extremely positive impact on me and my time at Santa Clara University and I am grateful to have her in my corner.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? It is nearly impossible for me to thank just one person for my success. So, I will collectively address my place-of-work on-campus, the Undergraduate Business Programs (UGBP) office. In the UGBP office, I have found a second family.  Working in the UGBP office, among all of the great people that make it what it is, has helped me to develop self-confidence, grow my network, learn new and useful skills, and explore my strengths and weaknesses as a leader. My college experience has been shaped by the supportive, strong, creative, passionate, and inspiring individuals who I’ve had the pleasure of working with over the past three years and I can’t imagine Santa Clara University without them.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list? The top two items on my professional bucket list are to eventually become a mentor to young professionals and to work for a company that embodies values that align with my own. I think it’s important to recognize that there are many groups and organizations that supported me throughout my college career.  So, to give back, I would like to be available and experienced enough to help others who are looking for guidance or support. In addition, through studying business (and accounting especially) at a Jesuit university, values and ethics have been a large part of my business education. I hope to work at a company that is driven by a purpose beyond simply maximizing profit. I would like to be a part of something greater than myself; something that will create a lasting, positive impact on my community and on the world as a whole.

What are your hobbies? My hobbies include playing and listening to music, playing soccer, volunteering at my local animal shelter (SVACA), film photography, hiking, traveling, and casually drawing and making jewelry.

What made Sarah such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2020?

“Sarah Tatley possesses a unique combination of intelligence, humility, drive, and compassion that will serve her and the world well. She has sought out and thrived in opportunities to develop herself through the Leavey School’s ACE Leadership Program and the application-based Conscientious Capitalism course. She leverages this self-development to positively impact her academic, athletic, social, and professional endeavors. Whether you encounter Sarah learning in the classroom, managing equipment for the women’s soccer team, volunteering at the Silicon Valley Animal Control Authority, or serving on teams at Ernst & Young, you will find her making the entity better than it was before. She is a credit to the Leavey School as a student and we cannot wait to engage with her as a future alumna!”

Bill Mains
Director, Sustainability and Leadership Development


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