Name: Eric Helms
Hometown: Bay area, California
Major: business econ
Most likely place to find Eric on campus: Taking advantage of the campuswide free high speed wireless internet connection and sitting somewhere on the first floor of Langson Library. If not there, the Anteater Recreation Center is a close second as he deems the ARC the best building on campus.
Future aspirations: Work for a Big 4 accounting firm and get his CPA before heading on to graduate school for an MBA

Why UCI?
UCI is a great school in a beautiful area. Being offered the Regents Scholarship when I transferred in was also a great selling point as it helped me cover my education costs.

What made you decide to pursue a major in business economics?
I have always been really interested in the world of business, especially finance and accounting. When I came to UCI, there was no business administration major so I decided to go with business economics with a minor in accounting. I couldn’t be happier with the way it has turned out. I find economics and accounting extremely interesting and some of the professors I have had are probably the best in the school. I recently joined economics professor Gary Richardson’s research team, and we’re examining bank failures during the great depression era. In accounting, lecturer Kari Williamson has had a huge impact on my interest in the topic and could make anyone interested in accounting.  The tools I’ve learned during my undergraduate education at UCI thus far apply to all aspects of my life and I would encourage all the new students interested in business to consider a similar course.

What activities have you been and are you currently involved with at UCI?
I have been really involved with the Student Managed Investment Fund (SMIF) at UCI. It is a team of hard working and passionate undergrads who manage a portfolio of money for the Chartered Financial Analysts of Orange County (CFAOC). I started as an analyst and currently sit on the Investment Committee as head of education. It has been an unparalleled way to apply what you learn in class to the real world and our advisor, David Young of the Merage School, has really brought us to a new level with special classes and guidance. Another group that I have been involved in is the Rotaract Club at UCI. They are a community service organization that works with the Newport and Irvine Rotary Clubs, and while they are a relatively new club at UCI, they’ve made a big difference in a short amount of time.

Are there any unique circumstances that have had an impact or played a major role in where and who you are today?
It may come as a surprise now, but in high school I was not a very good student. After my senior year of high school, I moved out of my parent’s house, got a job valet parking cars, and got an apartment with a friend from high school. After living for a year in the “real world” in a filthy apartment with no money I decided that I wanted more out of my life and enrolled back in school. I got a good glimpse of what my life could be like if I didn’t put forth effort to be better, and it pushed me – and continues to drive me – to try my best at everything I attempt.

What would you consider your biggest accomplishment at UCI?
This scholarship [Outstanding Community College Transfer Scholarship] as well as the Regents are some of the accomplishments I have been most proud of at UCI. Maintaining a GPA well over 3.9 since I have been here is also something I’m proud of.

What do you plan to do after finishing your degree?
I plan to work for a Big 4 accounting firm and get my CPA. After getting my experience there I’d like to go to graduate school for business.



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