David Sebastian (’09): Deloitte Tax Senior
April 4, 2014
David Sebastian grew up around accounting. While living in his hometown of Helena, Montana, he observed his father, Phil Sebastian, run a successful accounting business.
“My father has always been a great role model for me not only in shaping my career, but how to live out my life,” Sebastian says. “I knew that following in his steps would make for a solid career path.”
Five years after graduating from Evangel with a degree in Accounting, Sebastian is finding this out for himself as a tax senior at “Big Four” accounting firm Deloitte in San Francisco.
As a high school student, Sebastian had known he wanted to pursue an education at an AG college, preferably one with a football program. But he wasn’t sure what he wanted to study right away. When he found that Evangel had competitive football and a liberal arts foundation, he knew it would be a good fit for him.
During his time at Evangel, Sebastian played quarterback on the football team, led worship for different chapel events and helped teach Sunday school at Central Assembly. He enjoyed the wide range of subjects he had the opportunity to study at Evangel, from Bible to business to ceramics.
“One thing that set him apart from most of his fellow accounting students was his creativity,” says Becky Rhoades, assistant professor of accounting. “He enjoyed art classes and played piano for chapel. Both sides of his brain work well.”
Sebastian says Rhoades was one of the professors who played an important role in his personal formation as he figured out what he wanted to do with his future. Sebastian met Rhoades while taking her Advanced Accounting class.
“She was an incredible encourager and helped direct me in so many life decisions,” he says. “She also helped hone in on my strengths through the Strengthsfinder. This was instrumental as to figuring out who I really am at my core.”
Following his graduation in 2009, Sebastian attended Montana State University to get his master’s in accounting. After graduating, Sebastian began looking for a job at a Big Four accounting firm. Big Four firms handle the largest clients world, and the competitive landscape in the field was made even more difficult by a tight market.
“At the time the job market was terrible,” he says. “Most firms who hired 10 people were only hiring one or two.”
Sebastian eventually took a job in Sun Valley, Idaho. He wasn’t working for a Big Four firm, but the experience he gained quickly paid off.
In 2012, Sebastian decided to give the Big Four a second try. This time, his two years’ experience, along with many friends in the business that helped him land a job as a tax associate with Deloitte. He still works there today, preparing taxes for the wealthiest people in the world, high- flying corporate tech companies, and partnerships.
As he continues to build on his career, the truths Sebastian learned during his undergraduate courses still guide him.
“Evangel has a great learning environment that exposes students to concepts through the lenses of Christ,” he says. “The building blocks that I took away from Evangel are the foundation for how I think about my work and life.”