Five outstanding college students from around the world had the unique opportunity to participate in the inner workings of IMA® (Institute of Management Accountants), particularly the IMA Global Board of Directors and committee meetings, as part of the IMA Student Leadership Experience. This innovative program is designed to expose top students from IMA Endorsed Schools to governance and leadership skills, two attributes that are critical to long-term career success.

The selected students who participated in the events, held Thursday, February 14, 2019, through Saturday, February 16, 2019, in Orlando, Fla., are (left to right above):

Jacob Roedell, Washington State University Vancouver

Nhu Nguyen, The University of Scranton

Marcel Greimel, Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts

Shailey Doherty, University of Massachusetts Lowell

Christian Sutanto, University of North Texas

The experience began on Thursday afternoon with an extensive back-of-the-house tour of the Rosen Shingle Creek hotel property in Orlando, led by the hotel’s director of finance, James Bina. He provided a glimpse of some departments that most people take for granted while staying at a hotel, such as event management, laundry services, customer relations, technology, and more, and related how each of these areas touches the accounting and finance team. It was an eye-opening opportunity for the group to observe the behind-the-scenes activities of a high-end resort.

On Friday, students attended a breakfast with IMA Global Board members, sat in on select committee ­meetings—including the Committee on Ethics and the ­Volunteer Leadership Committee—and attended a presentation on Big Data and analytics by IMA Global Board member Fatema El-Wakeel. During the Committee on Ethics meeting, the students helped select the winner of the Carl Menconi Ethics Case Writing Competition by reviewing, ranking, and discussing several case studies.

In the Volunteer Leadership Committee meeting, the students were asked to provide their opinions and suggestions regarding several issues, such as how to better promote management accounting and increase the presence of IMA and the CMA® (Certified ­Management Accountant) certification on campuses. Committee members welcomed the students’ perspectives and remarked that having their input during the meetings was extremely beneficial.

On the final day, the participants benefited from words of wisdom over breakfast with current and former IMA Chairs as well as President and CEO Jeffrey Thomson. They later witnessed governance in action by sitting in on the Global Board of Directors meeting, which was followed by a special luncheon at which each student reflected on his or her experience. A personalized crystal recognition award was presented to each student at the luncheon to commemorate the occasion.

A highlight of the event for many of the students was the opportunity to network with IMA volunteer leaders from around the world. Christian Sutanto commented, “The networking was amazing—having the chance to talk with so many professionals from different companies and to talk not only about accounting but other things, like hobbies, family, and IMA, too.”

The experience helped provide the students with an appreciation for the value of volunteering. Jacob Roedell said, “This experience showed me the importance of giving back when you become a leader. This can come in the form of sharing experiences or knowledge, as well as mentoring individuals on a personal level.”

Students also gained insights that they expect to apply to their future careers. Marcel Greimel said, “The biggest lesson I learned is that people are key. The example of IMA shows you that if you find a group of people with the same passion, you can achieve a lot. When you support and advance each other in such a group, a great atmosphere is created, and people are motivated to get involved.”

How to Apply

The next IMA Student Leadership Experience will be held February 20-22, 2020, in Austin, Texas.

Faculty from universities that are part of the IMA Higher Education Endorsement Program will receive an email from Jodi Ryan, IMA’s director of member engagement, in September 2019, with details on how students from their universities can apply. The application deadline is November 29, 2019.

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.


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