By Anne Rosivach
Students, faculty, and business leaders will have the opportunity to come together at the Institute of Management Accountant's (IMA) Student Leadership Conference in Cincinnati, Ohio from November 10-12 in three days of sessions devoted to networking, professional education, and mastering the tools and strategies that will lead to a job in management accounting.
What began as a grass roots effort in Colorado Springs 12 years ago has evolved into an annual event that takes place in cities around the country, according to Jodi Ryan, director of student and academic relations at IMA. "Approximately 400 students and faculty typically attend the conferences, but it looks like we will have the biggest event ever, this year."
Experts in their fields will speak about career opportunities and the value of the Certified Management Accountant (CMA®) certification. Sessions and workshops are scheduled on International Financial Accounting Standards (IFRS), ethics, business etiquette, developing leadership skills, job search techniques, eXtensible Business Reporting Language (XBRL), and more.
The educational sessions are just one part of the conference. "We want to make sure that it is fun too," Ryan said. "It is a jam-packed time. We have planned a really enjoyable first night with a 'break the ice' meeting, followed by a visit to the Newport Aquarium sponsored by the Ohio IMA Council. Friday's networking event will be held at Gameworks at Newport on the Levee."
Industry tours that focus on management accounting functions are a regular feature of the IMA student conferences. This year attendees can choose a tour of the Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza Hotel, a historic landmark hotel, the Cincinnati Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank, or the Proctor & Gamble Corporate Archives. Proctor & Gamble is one of the oldest companies on the Fortune 500, and their archives are not open to the general public.
The IMA leadership conferences give undergraduates the chance to attend a major professional conference while they are still in school. "Not many professions offer this type of event to students," Ryan said. In addition, IMA has made an effort to make the conference affordable. Thanks to the support of the IMA board and chapters, attendees pay only a nominal fee for the sessions and events.
"We want to show them what IMA can offer them in a lifelong partnership," Ryan said, "from taking the Certified Management Accountant exam through finding that first job, and developing exciting careers in management accounting. The conference puts students on the path to developing the leadership skills that are so important for their careers. They learn and grow from the experience, and from the local CFOs and CEOs who share the lessons they learned along the way."