Steven Andonov

Alumni PictureAfter escaping communism and anarchy, in Sofia, Bulgaria, by coming to the United States with his father’s entire savings, Steven Andonov, 23, enrolled at Santa Ana College (SAC), believing that the only way to succeed was through education.

“I did not have any friends, my family was thousands of miles away, and I only knew a few words in English,” said Andonov.

Not really certain of what he wanted to pursue at SAC, he chose business administration as his major and enrolled in classes, which included an accounting course.

“I had no idea what I wanted to do for a living until I took my first accounting class,” said Andonov. “ My professor, Jinhee Trone, not only taught me accounting, but she also opened my eyes for the unlimited opportunities that a career in the accounting field might offer.”

Once he realized that he had a passion for accounting, he new exactly where he wanted his career to lead and even the name of the firm he wanted to work for someday. With an accounting degree he knew he could be a tax preparer, an internal or external financial auditor, financial advisor, IT auditor, and more.

After his graduation from SAC, he enrolled as an accounting major, at California State University, Fullerton (CSUF).

“A month before my graduation ceremony at CSUF, I received my biggest graduation gift…I received an offer from Ernst & Young,” said Andonov, who was hired in as a financial auditor and will soon be promoted to senior financial auditor.

Andonov realizes that his success is something he could not have achieved had he stayed in Sofia, Bulgaria, where he was born approximately 30 years ago.

“I grew up during the Communist Era without any chances for a career or a higher education because neither one of my parents were members of the communist party,” said Andonov. “Moreover, after my uncle escaped to America, we were deemed enemy of the state by the Bulgarian Government for being sympathetic to the Capitalistic society.”

According to Andonov, his immediate family lived in a two-bedroom apartment with his grandparents and his aunt. After the fall of communism in 1989, freedom overcame Bulgaria. Communism was replaced by anarchy and the organized crime became the new ruler of the country.

At age 14, he began his first job; he was going to school during the day and working as a waiter at night. At the age of 18, he enrolled in the army. By 21 years of age, Andonov was going to college and working between 60 and 70 hours a week.

“I realized that opportunities for success in my country were not that great, so I decided to come to America,” said Andonov. “My dad gave me all his savings and at the age of 23, I came to America.”

Andonov’s father’s savings led him to a new life in America, where he was able to start all over again and be where he is today.