At the SLC, which attracted more than 600 attendees, the future of accounting was on full display as I got to meet and speak with many students from all over the world. For example, I met Afi Ahama from Susquehanna University. She and I had a great discussion about volunteer leadership and how IMA could provide an avenue for students to develop these skills through student chapter leadership and local chapter outreach opportunities. She is definitely an ambitious student with a drive to succeed! In addition, many other students just like Afi attended the Student Chapter Leadership seminar. They all came together to collaborate on how to improve engagement and drive growth at their local student chapters. It was quite impressive to see the leadership drive and passion that these students have for IMA and their profession.

At the Career Roundtable sessions, students had the opportunity to pick the brains of and network with many finance leaders from within IMA. During this time, I had the pleasure of meeting Harley Dennis and Kirsten Entsuah from Clemson University. Both are passionate about Tiger football but are equally passionate about accounting and how they can make a difference in the profession. One particular resource that interested many students was IMA’s new online CareerDriver™, a career management tool that outlines many different positions and career paths and identifies what skills are needed to achieve them. This tool will help those proactive students and young professionals map out their career path and what it will take to get there.

I also spoke with Kelly Dykstra from Grand Valley State University after my session titled “The Path to the CFO Suite.” Kelly was quite an impressive student and was very open about wanting to know more about her different career options in accounting and how IMA could help her. The various sessions and roundtables at the SLC allowed her (and others) to learn more about the CMA® (Certified Management Accountant) certification and the ability to take and pass both parts of the exam before she graduates, various potential career paths in management accounting, and what skills would be useful to give her the boost she will need to launch her career. I think Kelly is well on her way, and I really enjoyed her open communication on these crucial topics.

It was great to share all the resources that IMA provides for our students to help them take themselves to the next level. All in all, the SLC was an impressive conference--and one where I learned just as much from our students as I hope they learned from me and the outstanding speakers and volunteers who attended. The most important insight I gained was that the future of our accounting leaders of tomorrow, IMA, and our profession is bright, and these ambitious students like Afi, Harley, Kirsten, and Kelly will definitely light the path.

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