Students Gain Career Insight at Accounting Leadership Conference

Karen Samela and student
April 24, 2014

Active and experiential learning is an important part of the education of LSBE students.

Active and experiential learning is an important part of the education of LSBE students.

Accounting Instructor Karen Salmela emphasized this major point as one of the reasons why seniors Samantha Dunfee and Chelsey Enerson were offered the opportunity to attend the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA) 14th Annual Student Leadership Conference this past November.

As conference attendees, Dunfee and Enerson joined other students from around the country to learn of opportunities for students to use their accounting skills in leadership roles that directly impact a company's bottom line. Salmela also attended the conference, which was held in Charlotte, NC.

The students attended presentations and networked with professionals, other students, and educators. They learned about industry trends, employment opportunities, the CMA (Certified Management Accountant) certification, ethics, and career management.

"Our experience at the IMA Student Leadership Conference helped us make a real world connection with what we have learned as students in LSBE,” said Enerson.

"Talking with other students with a high desire to enter managerial accounting really piqued my interest in taking the CMA exam," Enerson continued. "The conference reinforced my decision to enter private company accounting right out of college."

"My biggest takeaway was all the great information about networking and how to keep your network warm," she added. "The breakout sessions and main speakers all talked about great specific ways to do that. One was focused on social media and how to use it professionally, which really applies to our generation. Our favorite sessions were about mentoring, social media, and data analysis."

"Terrific career opportunities exist in management accounting," said Salmela. "We came back home excited about passing the word along!"

Dunfee and Enerson were selected from the pool of accounting majors who applied for an award to go to this conference. Applicants were asked to write an essay about why they wanted to attend the conference and the benefits they expected from it. Dunfee and Enerson's strong essays and individual overall academic performance led them to be chosen. Each received $750 toward the cost of the trip — $500 each from the Department of Accounting, and $250 each from the Lake Superior Chapter of the IMA.

"It was a pleasure to take Samantha and Chelsey to the conference," said Salmela. "LSBE has terrific students, and it's great to be able to provide them with opportunities like this."

Dunfee graduated at the end of Fall Semester and is now pursuing a Master of Accountancy at Texas State University. Enerson will be graduating in December 2014 and is currently starting an internship at Allete.