Nominated by their professors, the students who participated in the February 2018 events in San Diego Calif., are (from left to right in the above photo):

Sara Elhusseiny, American University of Cairo

Nicholas Varriano, University of Scranton

Christian Dalvano, Loyola University of Maryland

Amanda Cherry, Humboldt State University

Eugene Tan, Singapore Management University/Wharton Business School

Hetal Adhia, Michigan State University

The experience kicked off Thursday evening at the University of San Diego with an event hosted by the school’s IMA student chapter. Ronda Sedillo, senior vice president and CFO of the San Diego Padres, was the featured speaker. She shared her inspirational story about her career and unique education journey. Sedillo entered college as a pre-med student but realized that wasn’t what she ultimately wanted to do. She found her calling within the accounting profession later in life.

She balanced taking accounting classes at San Diego State University (SDSU) with raising a family with two young children. After graduating from SDSU, Sedillo started in the tax practice of PricewaterhouseCoopers. Following a few moves to other companies, she found her dream job with her beloved San Diego Padres. She encouraged students to pursue their passions and continuously build their networks.

The next day, the students attended a breakfast with IMA Global Board members and sat in on select committee meetings. These included the Committee on Ethics, the Member Relations Committee, and the Volunteer Leadership Committee. As part of the Committee on Ethics meeting, students helped select the winner of the 2018 Carl Menconi Ethics Case Writing Competition.

In the other committee discussions, the students were asked their views on 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.

On the final day, participants shared breakfast with former IMA Chairs and then had the opportunity to witness IMA governance in action by sitting in on the Global Board Meeting. Each student was given a crystal recognition award to commemorate the experience.

Nicholas Varriano commented, “It was invaluable to network with professionals, learn more about the accounting field, and gain further insight into this rapidly changing industry.”

Eugene Tan, who just passed both parts of his CMA exam, also expressed his excitement at being a part of the program. “We were actively engaged by top global leaders and other leading experts in their respective fields. We were exposed to the strong and vibrant community that IMA has built over the past 100 years and the extensive networks that are instrumental for our professional development. This experience was further enhanced by the interactions I had with five other student leaders from the United States, Egypt, and India, as I learned about their cultures and experiences.”

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


The next IMA Student Leadership Experience will be held February 14-16, 2019, in Orlando, Fla., 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 email from Jodi Ryan, director of student and academic relations, in September with details on how to apply.

The application deadline is November 30, 2018. 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, professors should consider applying at so your students will be eligible to participate.

Thoughts from the Students

“The Student Leadership Experience has enabled me to catch a glimpse of the great role that IMA has in nurturing the next generation to become effective leaders in accounting and finance. IMA has built up a strong support system for students, and it has become increasingly clear that this warm and powerful community is one that I want to be a part of moving forward!” —Eugene Tan

“I was thrilled to be one of the six participants who joined this year’s IMA Student Leadership Experience. It was my first time flying alone, and it showed me the practical aspect of our field that was impossible to imagine or even anticipate from just the classrooms. Upon my return, I started the first IMA student chapter in Egypt at the American University in Cairo. I will always appreciate the Global Directors’ meeting as a milestone in my life, not only for the academic impact that it had on me but also for the influence it has had on my character since then.” —Sara Elhusseiny

“These three days were rewarding not only professionally, but also personally because IMA gave us an opportunity to develop our soft skills and relations. From the moment we arrived in San Diego until we reached home, IMA took care of everything. It gave us a great platform to network with industry pioneers, who not only gave us valuable advice but also lent an ear to listen to our ideas. Every person I came across was so gregarious. I also made some great friends. I must say that IMA values the future generation in accounting and finance and provides them with all the resources for them to thrive in the field.” —Hetal Adhia

“The IMA Student Leadership Experience gave me opportunities to practice my own networking and communication skills, to converse with some of the industry’s leading professionals, and to witness first-hand how IMA applies its corporate governance structure. I am very grateful to say that I was able to make the acquaintance of many caring, humble, and inspiring IMA members. On the flight back to Humboldt County, Calif., I reflected on how proud I am to be a student member of IMA!” —Amanda Cherry

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