Hayashi Wayland demonstrate the merits of CSUMB alumni

Hayashi Wayland

Hayashi Wayland employees pictured with managing partner Michael Briley (right). | Photo by Randy Tunnell

March 29, 2022

By Liz MacDonald

The following story was originally published in CSUMB's 2021 Foundation Annual Report. 

About 15 years ago, Michael Briley had just returned from a disappointing recruiting trip for his accounting firm, Hayashi Wayland. He thought there had to be a better way to find new talent and wondered what was going on at the young university in his community. So he reached out to Marylou Shockley, at that time the incoming chair of the College of Business at CSUMB. 

“Mike went to Fresno State and wanted to hire our students,” says Shockley. But at that point, the Business major lacked the accounting classes necessary to fully prepare students. “The rest of our conversation was around what we were going to do about it.  What's great was that Mike was willing to help us.”

“We both realized that a lot of good things could happen if we started working together,” says Briley.

Fast forward to present day, the accounting concentration is the largest program within the Business major. Each year, a student in need of financial support is the recipient of an endowed scholarship in memory of one of the firm’s partners, the late Sunny Wong, who died in 2010. A steady stream of rising fourth-years get their feet wet in the field through Hayashi Wayland’s eight-week internship program. The firm regularly visits campus as an event sponsor and helps connect others in the business community with the university. CSUMB graduates account for nearly one-third of Hayashi Wayland’s workforce. 

This impressive picture is the result of a long lasting, deep, and mutually beneficial relationship between Hayashi Wayland and CSUMB, and demonstrates just how much is possible through partnership and collaboration. 

Working closely with Shockley and Dean Shyam Kamath, Briley and his colleagues were able to create a talent pipeline to feed their workforce needs from the ground up. 

Hayashi Wayland, founded in 1976 by Douglas Hayashi and Warren Wayland, serves a Central California client base from the agricultural, wine and hospitality industries, as well as nonprofits, individuals and small businesses. The firm employs roughly 75 people at its locations in Salinas, Carmel, King City, and Paso Robles. Briley has been with the firm for 33 years, a partner for 21 years, and managing partner for the past 11 years.  

Briley and his colleagues at Hayashi Wayland consulted as the curriculum for the accounting concentration was developed, advising faculty members and administrators on what types of coursework students needed to land internships, jobs, and ultimately succeed in the field, as well as providing other feedback about the needs of the local business community. The College of Business formalized this type of collaboration by creating the Business Advisory Council, a body of 25 representatives from across the business community, on which Briley serves as chair. 

With foundational coursework in place, Briley got to work on another essential part of the talent pipeline, the Hayashi Wayland internship program. 

The eight-week program targets students the summer before they start their final year. Briley says it’s more like a two-month interview process, a time for the students to explore the different types of work available in the firm, whether that be in traditional CPA services or the financial planning or investment management divisions. Before the end of the experience, interns have the opportunity to work on a project with one of the firm’s current or prospective clients. Sean Capistrano ‘11, a former intern who’s now one of the firm’s audit managers, further describes the experience: “You sit in on meetings, attend events and firm activities, visit the different offices and work with different firm leaders and team members. The goal is for interns to get acclimated to the culture and be exposed to as many areas and work with as many people as possible.” 

Successful interns—like Capistrano—often find a job offer waiting for them upon graduation. 

Briley says recruiting from a local talent pool also increases the longevity of tenure with the firm. “Most CSUMB students have local roots or have come to the area, love it, and want to stay. It’s hard to attract outside talent to this area because of the high cost of living. From a practical standpoint, students know the area and that really helps us retain employees.”

This was certainly the case for Capistrano, who wanted a stable career in the area that would allow him to raise and provide for his family. He’s been with Hayashi Wayland for over a decade now, and appreciates the supportive company culture he’s found there. 

While the internship provides an introduction to the firm, Capistrano explains that new employees are also encouraged to do a bit of everything before they settle into a more specific career track: “Most people get a good feel for where they would thrive and can leverage their strengths.”

For Capistrano, working on the audit team has been tremendously fulfilling. He enjoys the opportunities for face-to-face interaction, going out to client sites, and doing fieldwork with a small team. 

“People think accounting is about plugging in numbers, but this job is really about relationships and people skills,” he says. 

Hayashi Wayland also sponsors several events on campus that bring together students, faculty, and members of the local business community. The annual Accounting Mixer draws recruiters from several firms onto campus and is often the first point of contact between students and the firm. 

Adrian Zavala ‘18, connected with Melissa Speciale, a senior human resources administrator with HW, when attending his first mixer as a second year student. “It ended up being a point of inflection in my life,” he said. Though he felt awkward initially because he wasn’t ready for an internship or job opportunity, he was able to plug into a leadership program Hayashi Wayland sponsored for second-year students, which set him up for an internship the following summer...and a job offer after graduation.

“Truth be told, I felt like a fish out of water during the whole thing, but growth can only happen once you exit your comfort zone,” says Zavala. “I would highly encourage all the accounting students to attend these social events when possible, as awkward as they can sometimes be. A large part of becoming a professional in any major is building the relationships between yourself and the community. These relationships can often help take you in the direction you want to go.“

In addition, Hayashi Wayland has sponsored the Business Showcase, an opportunity for business majors in any concentration, not just accounting, to present their senior capstone projects to community business leaders from across industries.

By bringing genuine care, a spirit of collaboration, and a long-term vision of success, Michael Briley and his colleagues at Hayashi Wayland have addressed his earlier recruitment challenges, all the while nurturing an impactful and lasting relationship with the university that has benefited both parties tremendously. 

As Capistrano puts it, “Over the last 10 years, a lot of people have come in the door from CSUMB and are working their way up. These folks will stay and will be part of the continuing legacy for Hayashi Wayland.”  

The soon-to-come CSUMB Alumni Work Here directory will connect the campus to our local community and highlight alumni who are working in all major segments of the regional economy, including agriculture, education, health-care, the arts, finance, hospitality, retail, and technology.