2021 Best & Brightest Business Major: Tyler Ancona, Notre Dame (Mendoza)

Tyler Ancona

University of Notre Dame, Mendoza College of Business

A proud New Yorker with music tastes that peaked fifty years ago.”

Fun fact about yourself: I can identify the flag of any country in the world.

Hometown: East Setauket, NY

High School: Ward Melville Senior High School

Major: Accountancy

Favorite Business Course: Data Analytics in Accounting

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles During College:

  • Dean’s List (All Semesters)
  • Finalist: Eugene D. Fanning Award in Business Communication (’20-’21)
  • Judicial Council: Election Committee Board Member (’19-’21)
  • Teaching Assistant: Cost Accounting (’20-’21)
  • Residence Hall Intramural Sports Champion (’18-’21)
  • Peer Tutor: Accountancy I (’20-’21)

Where have you interned during your college career?

  • KPMG; New York, NY; Forensic Accounting Intern
  • PepsiCo; Purchase, NY; Technical Accounting Intern
  • Gladowsky Capital Management Corp.; Smithtown, NY; Corporate Finance Intern

Where will you be working after graduation? KPMG; New York, NY; Forensic Accounting Associate

Who is your favorite professor? Professor Philipp Schultheiss, M.A.

Here’s a closely guarded secret: those who know me well know that I am enamored by post-World War II/Cold War history, particularly focusing on the East-West German relationship. As a rising sophomore, I had the opportunity to study abroad during my first summer, and I elected an economics-based program in Berlin. Admittedly, I was less interested in the economics side of things, but it offered me the chance to take a German history course focused on the Cold War experience and memory politics in Germany.

Sure, the location and subject matter helped, but what makes my experience with Prof. Schultheiss unforgettable was the willing accessibility he offered me. After class sessions, he would offer to walk the city, taking in lesser-known historical sites and voluntarily dedicating time to engage deeper in a vivid, hands-on fashion. He connected me with witnesses of the era and allowed me to reach deeper than I think a Google search could provide. Many great professors are happy to take the time and share resources with interested students, but no one in my experience would, in the evenings after a three-hour class, happily lead me on (effectively) personal field trips and allow me to meet the very people that so many stories are about. He provided me with the greatest learning experience a student could ever dream of under no obligation of his own.

What is the biggest lesson you gained from studying business? The greatest lesson I have gained from studying business is that individual effort takes you far, but true success comes from the effort of everyone within the team.  I have always been a do-it-yourself type and tended to stick to myself before I made it to Notre Dame. However, Mendoza has taught me the importance of branching out and creating valuable relationships with those around you. A close-knit group will always trump the individual because there is a certain depth and comprehensiveness with which you can attack issues that a single mind cannot attain.

What advice would you give to a student looking to major in a business-related field? Success is driven as much by your academic performance as it is by the network of people who support you along the way. Value the relationships you make with professors and students alike, and never forget those back home who helped to give you the opportunity in the first place.

What has surprised you most about majoring in business? What surprised me most about my time in Mendoza has to be the alumni network, even though I had heard so much about it before I even stepped on campus. That’s how outstanding it is to be a part of the culture here. Not only was I prepared, but they still blew me away. From the very beginning, and at every turn, there are dozens waiting, willing, and wanting to help you take the next stop on your path. Mendoza is not a gigantic business school, but you certainly would not think that. Seemingly no alum ever truly leaves, they just continue to weave the ND fabric all around the world. I am forever grateful to those who have offered me guidance along the way and I look forward to repaying that favor in the coming years.

Looking back over your experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently in business school and why? I can’t say there’s much I would change, but if I could start it over again I would have had the space to continue my Italian language studies after high school. It’s more of a personal reason than anything else. Coming from a stereotypically large, Italian NY family, I loved learning something that truly brought me closer to my great-grandfather and the rest of our heritage. I am very proud of my family’s strong relationships and I hope to carry our traditions forward as I make my way in the world. Everything I have stems from the efforts of those who came before me and I can think of no better way than to keep those spirits alive and well. I certainly plan on revisiting those studies when I leave school, but not having it as a daily feature has left a bigger hole than I anticipated three years ago.

Which academic, extracurricular or personal achievement are you most proud of? I am most proud to be completing my undergraduate bachelor’s degree in only three years, for it is a testament to all those who have enabled me to capitalize on this opportunity. Notre Dame offered so many brilliant people that have dedicated their time for me, without whom this reality never would have been possible. And sure, I could not have made it this far without Prof. Watkins first teaching me what a journal entry was and Prof. Beardsley for teaching me when and why to capitalize expenses — but it is also because of everyone I have encountered on this 15-year journey. From those very early days, Mrs. Gunning first taught me how to articulate an argument, Mrs. Metz taught me how to be myself, and Mr. Ehlers, well, he tried to teach me how to take notes.  The point is that while I am proud to have accomplished this feat, I am most proud to think about the impact that all of these individuals (both the listed and many unlisted) have had on my journey, that for it is to them that I will be forever grateful.

Which classmate do you most admire? Patrick Heffernan – ’22 Finance Major

While we may travel in different social circles and track different academic paths, I started my first year alongside Pat in a variety of business classes, we went through four consecutive semesters of accounting together, shared many finals weeks locked in the same classroom, and participated in multiple case projects and competitions. I don’t think I knew what an ideal classmate was three years ago, but it’s Pat, and here’s why.

First, he’s always there. Whenever, wherever, for whatever reason. If ever there’s a topic that needed clarification or a homework problem to review, he’d be your guy in a moment’s notice. Second, his effort is unquestionable. The bane of the business school experience can often be team-based assignments in which some individuals do not always participate. Unfailingly, Pat takes charge of groups on day one and, short of a speech from Miracle, inspires unlike anything I have seen before. He gives everything 100% of his commitment and never lets you down. Third, he always seems happy – even during difficult times or when things are not going well. He always comes in with a fat smile and this contagious positive energy that picks you right up and has you ready for the next challenge. It has been an honor working beside him and I am thrilled to see what he will accomplish next.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? Without question, everything I have done without would be impossible without the unwavering support and love that my parents have provided. I may have been asked to pick one person, but they work together as one. Frankly, without them, none of this would have ever been attainable. To share why might take me the rest of my life, but there has never been a moment where they have not placed my interests, successes, or requests below their own. There is nothing my mother has not done to ensure that every opportunity is open to me, sacrificing any and all of her time to make sure everything is perfectly arranged. From the early days, struggling through new-fangled common core learning techniques to try and help me ace my math test, my father has been my role model in work ethic and is to whom I attribute my academic success. At a moment’s notice, they have always dropped everything to help me through a difficult time, answer questions, and ultimately be the best parents a kid could ever ask for. The only regret, if only my mom could have tied those ice skates…

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list?

  • Repay the people and communities that have helped me at each step of the way
  • Return and teach the next generation of ND students

What are your hobbies? Playing sports (skiing, ice hockey, mountain biking); delving into the depths of Star Wars; spending downtime with friends and family; and of course, anything ND football

What made Tyler such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2021?

“I taught Tyler Accountancy 1 during the fall 2018, which was Tyler’s first semester as a college student and my first semester as a new Assistant Professor at the University of Notre Dame. Tyler is the type of student who makes teaching truly joyous. He is curious, enthusiastic, and encouraging to those around him. He would show up to each class with a positive attitude and a hunger for knowledge. This attitude and curiosity was infectious. Over the course of the semester, I noticed that the students who sat near Tyler adopted the same attitude.

Together, this group of students, led by Tyler, would ask a multitude of interesting questions, eager to learn more about the world of business and how accounting fits into that world. This same group would also try to keep things interesting by sharing accounting-related jokes with each other and with me, greatly enhancing the culture of the classroom setting. Tyler’s presence caused me to end each class feeling more energized than when I started. He had a strong influence on me as a new professor which has followed me into the classroom since. Tyler helped highlight that accounting is not only useful and important for business but it can also be fun!

While Tyler is a genuinely happy and fun person, he is also a very serious and hard-working student. Early on in the fall 2018 semester, Tyler asked if we could discuss what a major and subsequent career in accounting would look like. Only days after our meeting, Tyler came to me with a four-year plan mapping out every class he would take each semester, which would allow him to graduate early and earn his undergraduate degree and a master’s degree in accounting in only four years.

Since the fall of 2018, I have witnessed Tyler carry out his plans with determination and grace. He has served as a teaching assistant and peer tutor, has interned for PepsiCo in their accountancy control division, and has been recognized for his achievements as a finalist for the Eugene D. Fanning Award for Business Communication. He is also still on track to finish his undergraduate and master’s degree in four years.

Tyler is an exceptional student, and I will always be grateful to him for the lessons he taught me during my first semester as a college professor.”

Jessica Watkins
Assistant Professor of Accountancy
Mendoza College of Business 
University of Notre Dame


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