Jun 30, 2014

Belong – Grow – Achieve: Much More Than a Tagline

By Mike Colgan, PICPA Executive Director and CEO

Leadership Academy pictureMore than 100 college accounting students attended the PICPA Leadership Academy in Philadelphia on May 30.

A few weeks ago I had the privilege of addressing more than 100 students and recent graduates at the PICPA Leadership Academy. The Leadership Academy, now in its second year, played to rave reviews once again. The program provides outstanding networking opportunities and training to enhance professional skills critical to starting a career on the fast track.

I enjoy meeting and interacting with students and recent grads because they have an enthusiasm about beginning their careers that is contagious. We talk about the advantages of entering the profession at a time when so much change is occurring, as well as the challenges and opportunities that will be presented to them early in their career. Below is some feedback from Aimee Rosenbaum, University of Pittsburgh, Class of 2015, PICPA student ambassador, scholarship recipient, and PICPA Leadership Academy participant:

Aimee RosenbaumI chose to attend the Leadership Academy because throughout this past school year I had become very involved with the PICPA. I became the Student Ambassador at the University of Pittsburgh during my sophomore year (2012-2013), but this past year my involvement picked up even more. I contributed more time and effort into promoting the organization and advocating on its behalf among students, faculty, and staff. Attending the Student Leadership Academy was a great way to wrap up all that I had accomplished over the past two years, and it provided me with the opportunity to network with members of the PICPA and other professionals in attendance. 

A lot of information was presented throughout the Leadership Academy. I learned a lot about forensic accounting and various careers within that field. I also learned a lot about the CPA Exam, which is creeping up on me within the next year. Although I came into the CPA info sessions with a vast amount of knowledge about the CPA Exam due to the fact that I am also a student representative for Becker CPA Review, I did learn a lot from the two speakers who presented on Friday. It became more real to me about how much time I would need to spend studying next summer to pass all four parts. Penny Vernon, a representative from NASBA, shared great tips to make the process of taking the CPA Exam a little bit easier. Liz Kolar, a representative from SurgentKolar CPA Review, shared a more detailed look into each of the four parts of the exam, which I found very helpful. 

When thinking about whom I would recommend to attend next year, I would certainly recommend all students to attend. From incoming freshmen to outgoing seniors, there is honestly something for everyone to take away. The freshmen will learn a great deal about compiling a résumé and creating a personal image/brand, and the outgoing seniors will learn important tips for the upcoming CPA Exam. The sophomores and juniors in attendance can certainly take away advice from those topics as well, but they might also be interested in the careers in accounting panel, which was a great way to learn about various career paths. 

Aimee at Leadership Academy photoI really have to commend the amount time and effort that was put into planning and executing this event. It turned out wonderfully, and I know that everyone in attendance had a wonderful time. A huge thanks to Felicia Robbins and Lesley Brown for all of the time and effort that they put in to helping all of the students make the most out of the PICPA. 

–Aimee Rosenbaum, University of Pittsburgh, Class of 2015

Aimee’s thoughts really reflect our Belong-Grow-Achieve tagline. By belonging to the PICPA as a student member, these participants are exposed to personal growth opportunities that help them achieve their immediate goal, to transition from student to professional. This is another initiative to keep the CPA pipeline full to meet the profession’s need for qualified talent going forward. Let me know if you have other ideas for the PICPA to help transition students into the profession.

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Statements of fact and opinion are the authors’ responsibility alone and do not imply an opinion on the part of PICPA officers or members. The information contained in herein does not constitute accounting, legal, or professional advice. For professional advice, please engage or consult a qualified professional.