When Brian Ruben (MSA ’95) started his graduate program at the School of Accountancy & MIS nearly 30 years ago—right around the time he began working at Deloitte in Chicago—he wasn’t sure which direction he wanted to take in his professional career. He chose accounting because “it’s the language of business and every organization needs a good accounting function.” But something sparked for him in the DePaul classroom as he listened to guest lecturers talk about their careers.
“It was inspiring to hear directly from professionals in accounting and learn how they navigated their careers and built their networks, because I was at a stage where I needed to do that from scratch,” Ruben says. “It made an impression on me, seeing a successful professional share their knowledge and having access to that knowledge. That’s something DePaul does really well, leveraging business connections to bring real-world experiences into the classroom.”
Fast-forward years later and Ruben is the one speaking to DePaul students, sharing lessons from his own career journey. Whether he’s in the classroom as an adjunct instructor or guest lecturer, or at a student event as a panelist or recruiter for Deloitte, where he is currently an audit and assurance partner, Ruben is an active and influential business alumnus, following a mantra of “giving back” that he says is the DePaul way.
“I know so many alumni who continued to stay connected to DePaul after graduating, giving back through service or dollars, and over the course of my career, I’ve benefited from the time many of these people have taken out of their busy careers to mentor me,” he says. “Now that I’m in a stage in my career where I feel like I can make a difference, I feel a responsibility to do so.”
Ruben is a proud donor and champion of DePaul. He helps recruit DePaul students and even led a fundraising initiative as part of the university’s annual Blue Demon Challenge in 2021. His efforts helped raise more than $300,000 (and counting) from individuals and the Deloitte Foundation to fund student scholarships and faculty support.
“It was a great way to bring DePaul alumni together at Deloitte and very exciting to see hundreds of alumni in offices around the country rally around something we all have in common,” he says.
Most recently, Ruben supported DePaul’s participation in a Deloitte MADE (Making Accounting Diverse and Equitable) initiative, the Deloitte Foundation Accounting Scholars Program. This scholarship program, for students pursuing a fifth-year master’s in accounting, is part of an effort to increase representation of racially and ethnically diverse students in accounting.
My connections with DePaul have benefited my personal and professional success in many ways. If I can be helpful and promote DePaul and give back insights and opportunities to students who are sitting where I once sat, that’s really satisfying and rewarding for me. I hope I can inspire others to do the same.”
— Brian Ruben (MSA ’95)
Ruben also has helped faculty members incorporate the latest business innovations into the curriculum. When DePaul Finance Associate Professor Lamont Black approached Ruben to collaborate on designing a course on blockchain, Ruben obliged, bringing in his blockchain Deloitte colleagues to provide the knowledge and coaching needed to help develop the course, which is now in its third year.
“I love that DePaul faculty aren’t lecturing out of a book and are truly dedicated to being at the forefront of the most cutting-edge information to bring back to students,” he says. “I think it’s important to contribute to that, as a business professional, for the next generation.”
One of Ruben’s most long-standing contributions has been his service on the Driehaus College of Business Advisory Council, a 60-member group of business leaders who offer industry insight and resources to the college. Ruben has been involved in the council for 10 years, and in his role as a council task force chair this academic year, he has been instrumental in re-envisioning how the business college can engage the strengths, talents and industry connections of council members to support the college and its students.
Encouraged by a former mentor, who also happens to be a DePaul alumnus, Ruben has used his time on the council not only as another way to give back, but also as an opportunity to expand his own professional experiences.
“Through all these experiences, I’ve learned so much about myself, the challenges that academia and universities face, and how to help another organization grow. It’s not all just about giving, giving, giving. That’s certainly a priority, but you also have to get something in return,” Ruben says.
“My connections with DePaul have benefited my personal and professional success in many ways. If I can be helpful and promote DePaul and give back insights and opportunities to students who are sitting where I once sat, that’s really satisfying and rewarding for me. I hope I can inspire others to do the same.”
By Nadia Alfadel Coloma | Photo by Kathy Hillegonds