The experience kicked off Thursday evening with a CFO reception where the students had the opportunity to network with CFOs from local companies in the Phoenix area as well as meet many IMA senior leaders. The next day the students attended Board committee meetings, including the Committee on Ethics, which discussed the cases submitted in the Carl Menconi Ethics Case Writing Competition, and the Member Relations Committee. Three weeks before the meetings, students reviewed and ranked six case studies and were asked to make suggestions regarding how to better promote management accounting and increase the presence of IMA and the CMA® (Certified Management Accountant) certification on campus. Committee members welcomed the students’ perspectives and remarked that having their input during the meetings was extremely beneficial.


Everybody also got to have some extra fun. The group attended a Phoenix Suns basketball game with Board members and then had the chance to go out onto the court after the game and shoot hoops. Haseeb was the first of the group to make a shot from half court and won an autographed photo of the basketball team.

On the final day, participants attended the IMA Global Board meeting and a special student recognition luncheon where each student gave a brief statement about his or her experience. Amir said, “It was a great opportunity to meet with IMA leaders and to see the inner workings of how the Board makes decisions. I was especially impressed with how much consideration the Board gave to our opinions. For those three days, I almost forgot I was a student because I was treated like a professional. As a result of this experience, I’ve gained more confidence in my own leadership abilities and am more inspired than ever to pursue my CMA.”

Haseeb agreed. “Everyone was very friendly and welcoming, and we students were included in many of the decision-making processes that were being carried out,” he remarked. “I remember how during our ethics case discussion, for example, one point I mentioned regarding a particular case turned the tables completely when it came to the judgment process. When you have people with industry experience of more than 30 years together in the same room and you’re sitting there as a student, it’s quite uncommon for your voice to be heard. That level of involvement really brings out the best in people and gives them the determination to achieve almost anything.”


The next Student Leadership Experience will be held February 16-18, 2017, in San Diego, Calif., and IMA will be accepting applications in early fall from qualified students who are nominated by their professors. Faculty from universities that are part of the IMA Higher Education Endorsement Program will be receiving an e-mail from me in late August with details on how to apply. The application deadline is October 30, 2016. This opportunity is available only to students at IMA Endorsed Schools, so if your school isn’t part of the IMA Higher Education Endorsement Program, consider applying at so your students will be eligible to participate.

For more information about the IMA Leadership Experience, please contact Pat Stefanczyk, IMA vice president of governance and volunteer service, at


“The experience offers students a glimpse of the valuable contributions they can add, not only to the business world but to their surrounding community. As a student, I found myself inspired by the professionals who felt more like mentors and by how welcome everyone made us feel, as well as the efforts by the program leaders to ensure that we received the most from our experience. I feel honored to have had the opportunity to be part of a group of the brightest students from all over the world, and I came out of the program inspired to spread the word about IMA and to continue my growth as a leader.”—Lidiya Nikolayev
“Attending this program was one of the most influential moments in my college career. I had the opportunity to network with experienced business leaders on the IMA Global Board, participate and give my opinions on Board issues, and meet other top students. The contacts I made and the lessons imparted to me are things I hope to take to my future career in accounting. Being a part of the activities also strengthened my desire to stay in IMA and participate more actively in my local chapter. I am incredibly grateful to have been given the opportunity and encourage others to apply for it next year!”—Charlie Wilson
“The IMA Leadership Experience was an invaluable opportunity to learn from senior financial leaders of numerous businesses and observe how decisions are made in a global association of accounting and financial professionals. We were able to actively participate in committee meetings as well as the IMA Global Board meeting to give a student’s perspective on IMA activities and see firsthand how ideas turn into action on a worldwide scale. It was an incredible experience from beginning to end, and I would encourage future accounting and finance professionals to apply.”—John Bowling

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