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Staying On: Frank Dubas '75

An accountant who has stayed with one company for 40 years still faces crossroads…even today.

An accountant who has stayed with one company for 40 years still faces crossroads…even today.
“I have traveled many places. People often ask me if I have millions of frequent flyer miles. The answer is no. I have almost none. This is because I’ve spent all of my miles bringing my family with me to great places,” said Frank Dubas ’75. He is pictured here with his wife, Marigrace, in Napa Valley, California, 2007 (top), with a colleague in Nagano, Japan, 2007 (bottom right) and with Marigrace in Cape Town, South Africa, 2008 (bottom left).

Most successful people modestly quote a variant of “I was at the right place at the right time” to explain achievement. It’s a self-effacing thing to credit good luck. The trick, however, is to know when you’ve come to a crossroads. Frank Dubas ’75, who will retire in 2016 as Deloitte’s global managing partner for Sovereign Financial Institutions (SFI), has been blessed with the ability to recognize the fateful junctures.

The oldest of six children from Jessup, Dubas developed a prodigious work ethic modeled by his parents, a carpenter and a stay-at-home mother. He was a good student who excelled in math, his chosen major when he matriculated at The University of Scranton in 1971 — the year, incidentally, featuring his first crossroads.

Unforeseen Opportunity

As a first-generation college student, he did not understand the breadth of opportunity available to him at college, and beyond. “I knew doctor and lawyer, and that was pretty much it,” he said. “I was floundering, trying to find myself.” It was then that Dubas decided to switch his major to accounting and encountered Professor John P. McLean. “He explained the practical aspects of what could happen if we did well: about his students who had succeeded at the Big 8 accounting firms. I thought, ‘That’s what I want.’”

Dubas then applied himself in earnest. His grades soared, and by senior year he felt confident when every Big 8 firm came to campus to search for interns. Getting an internship was a virtual lock on a job, so competition was fierce. He signed up for eight interviews, which took place over five days.

Penciled In

In this pre-Internet age, students learned whether an offer envelope awaited if they found their names on a typed list posted in the Career Services window. “Some of my classmates got seven envelopes. After seven interviews, I had none. I thought, ‘OK, this isn’t happening.’ I had one more interview with Haskins & Sells. I decided to ditch the approach I’d been using and just say how I felt. I ended up having a wonderful conversation with the recruiter.” Dubas made his final trip to Career Services and scanned the names. His name was not typed on the list. He scanned farther down the page to find it penciled in at the bottom.

Frank is grateful for his rich and varied life, which he attributes in part to having attended Scranton. “I knew I was fortunate to have gone to Scranton. Look at what it has provided me. Look at the doors it opened for me,” he said.

As happy as he was to be headed to Manhattan, the image of his name written in pencil was burned into his memory. It drove him to work harder than he ever had. On Christmas evening 1974, Dubas’ father and future wife, Marigrace, dropped him off at the bus station. The next day he started work in New York at Haskins & Sells, which survives today as Deloitte. Thus began a remarkable career that included becoming a partner at the young age of 32.

A Second Career

By 1995, Dubas was on the lookout for other positions. “I had a mid-career crisis, of sorts, wondering whether I wanted to keep doing what I was doing,” he said. Then a call came from the Buenos Aries office. They needed help with a financial services project. “When I agreed to get on that plane, my second career was born.”

The decision to go to South America spawned an international demand for Dubas to build practices for Deloitte as he had in Argentina. Since 1996, he’s been to 79 countries, including remote locales like Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan. This “second career” proved exhilarating and spiritually necessary. “You have to keep reinventing yourself or you get stale,” he said. “I feel so fortunate to have had these experiences and seen the world.”

In his current role, Dubas oversees an international network of approximately 1,700 Deloitte professionals from over 100 countries serving SFIs. He works closely with partners in Deloitte member firms around the world, including the Middle East, Asia Pacific, Europe, Africa, South America and North America.

Scranton Proud 

He is grateful for his rich and varied life, which he attributes in part to having attended Scranton. “I knew I was fortunate to have gone to Scranton. Look at what it has provided me. Look at the doors it opened for me,” he said.

Dubas was inspired give back to his alma mater. An opportunity to do so arose in the early 2000s when he and his De-loitte partners decided to seek 25 to 30 interns per year for an ongoing special project. His colleagues suggested well-known national universities like Notre Dame and New York University. Not Dubas. “I said I wanted to add ‘The University of Scranton’ because that’s where I went. I knew we would find good kids there with great work ethics,” he said. His faith was not in vain. “A trend developed,” he said. “The Scranton students were stars. They were absolutely wonderful.”

Christopher Muller ’04, managing director and portfolio manager for MKP Capital Europe LLP, worked for Deloitte immediately after his graduation. At Deloitte, Muller benefited from Dubas’ tutelage. “Frank’s been a mentor to me for the last 12 years and has been a great sounding board for me throughout my career,” he said. “More importantly, he has become a great friend.”
Dubas is committed to Scranton in other ways. He serves on the President’s Business Council and the Advisory Committee to the Kania School of Management.

As his 2016 retirement approaches, Dubas foresees another fork in the road, though he’s not yet sure where it will lead. “In 2016, I’ll put the pencil down, turn off the lights and see what happens next.”

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