Accounting student’s passion is rewarded

Mason alumnus and current accounting graduate student Ashutosh Dhakal was one of 207 students nationwide who received a $10,000 scholarship from the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board. Photo by Lathan Goumas.

Ashutosh Dhakal wants people to know that accountants do more than just taxes and auditing.

“They advise companies, entrepreneurs, nonprofits and government organizations to help them work well financially,” he explained. “Accountants are great problem-solvers. They can impact any part of business operation.”

To say Dhakal is passionate about accounting is an understatement. That passion was rewarded as Dhakal, a George Mason University alumnus and master’s student in accounting program, was one of 207 students nationwide who received a $10,000 scholarship from the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board. The PCAOB is a nonprofit corporation that oversees audits of public companies, other issuers and broker-dealers.

"The PCAOB Scholars program aims to benefit outstanding students who are likely to become accountants and auditors," PCAOB chair William D. Duhnke said in a statement. "We congratulate this group of students and look forward to engaging with them.”

The scholarship is for students who transferred from two-year institutions into accounting programs at four-year institutions, have a GPA of at least 3.3 and are in the top one-third of their overall class.

Dhakal, who came to the United States from Nepal in 2014 with his family, transferred to Mason from Northern Virginia Community College and earned his bachelor’s degree in accounting in 2019. He is scheduled to graduate from his master’s program in the summer of 2020.

He said his motivation in coming to the United States was higher education.

“Mason was so welcoming to me as a NOVA transfer,” Dhakal said. “I stopped school for a couple years. I completely changed my career path before I came to Mason. Now, I’m almost eligible for a CPA license. Eventually, my goal is to create an organization that can help solve financial and operational problems for corporations.”

Dhakal, who was nominated for the PCAOB scholarship by Mason’s accounting faculty, said he has worked with many professors in the School of Business who inspired him to continue his work.

“The outstanding program at Mason will help students pass the CPA exam and be skillful while working,” Dhakal said. “I was able to apply the knowledge I got in these courses directly to my internship.”

Mark Ingram, an accounting instructor in the School of Business, said Dhakal was in three of his upper-level courses and was an outstanding student.

“He did everything right,” Ingram said. “He was conscientious, consistent in his work, always on time and always attentive. In my opinion, his success is not only because he works hard, he clearly sees where he wants to go in life. He’s an outstanding representative of Mason’s accounting department, and we’re proud to have him as our graduate.”

“Earning this scholarship really motivates me to continue my education and allows me to focus on doing my job to the best of my ability,” Dhakal said. “I’m proud to have been chosen out of the wonderful students at George Mason—it’s amazing.”