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Campus Connection

Student Leadership Conference in Houston

It’s time to “Dream Big” and sign up for the annual IMA® (Institute of Management Accountants) Student Leadership Conference (SLC). Join fellow students and educators as you learn from inspiring speakers, create new contacts, and connect with industry leaders. This year’s conference will be held on November 9-11 at the Marriott Marquis Houston, located in downtown Houston; registration is now open at www.imaslc.org.

IMA has been informed that the downtown area around the Marriott Marquis Houston hotel was not adversely affected by Hurricane Harvey. Doing our part to support the economic recovery of Houston and the people who live and work in this area, we decided to move forward with hosting the Student Leadership Conference in this great city. IMA is committed to helping Houston rebuild and will donate $10 toward Hurricane Harvey relief efforts for every completed SLC registration now through September 30. For additional information on how IMA is helping in Houston, please see this letter from Alex C. Eng, CMA, CFM, CPA, IMA global board Chair:

Keynote sessions include:

  • Become a Game Changer! – Motivational speaker, executive coach, and trainer Mike Lejeune will pose the question: What do Tom Brady, LeBron James, and Coach K have in common? They’re all “game changers” – that is, impact players and coaches who affect a game’s outcome not just because of their skill but because of the atmosphere caused by the passion, focus, and drive they have to raise the bar of their own performance. Learn how to become a “game changer” and advance to the position or role you want.
  • Embracing Change: An Important Life Lesson – In the world of business, it’s certainly important to listen, keep an open mind, and be willing to accept change – and it’s more important than ever in this age of increased global competition. Join Claudia Jaramillo, Schlumberger North America Finance VP/Controller, as she shares her personal and professional journey of navigating change.
  • Rules vs. Principles – Join Andrew Fastow, former CFO of Enron, who will discuss how fraud examiners and auditors are tasked with looking for “fraud,” but how fraud is a narrowly defined term. When is it acceptable to engage in a transaction that technically complies with the rules, but that may be misleading? Fastow will share his personal story, including discussing how Enron executives rationalized their decisions on “technically” complying with rules and regulations that ultimately led to the company’s downfall.

In addition to the keynotes, concurrent sessions will offer insights that can help students land their first professional position, including interviewing and résumé-building techniques, leadership skills, and how to prepare for the CMA® (Certified Management Accountant) exam.

“We’ve assembled an outstanding slate of speakers for this year’s conference, as well as many opportunities for students to make contacts that can help them in their careers,” said Jodi Ryan, IMA director of student and academic relations. “Several companies, including Allstate, ExxonMobil, Honeywell, HP, Inc., Phillips 66, Stanley Black & Decker, United Technologies Financial Leadership Program, UPS (United Parcel Service), and more will be collecting résumés for future follow up, so students should bring along copies. Also, Cummins will be conducting interviews onsite during the conference. This event will be a great opportunity to learn new ideas, network, and have fun.”

Among the attendees who took advantage of the recruiting opportunities available at prior SLCs was Eneida Ziraj, who attended conferences in Orlando and Detroit. She explained, “The conferences are a great source of motivation and knowledge for all accounting and finance students. I met so many people who so openly wanted to help me prepare for my future career.”

While attending the Orlando conference, Ziraj interviewed with Cummins, Inc. for a summer internship. A short time later, she received an offer for an internship as a financial analyst with them. Thanks to that internship, she recently was offered and started a full-time position with Cummins, her first professional job out of college.

Several fun and educational networking events are also planned for this year’s conference. On Thursday afternoon, attendees can choose one of four optional industry tours (all within walking distance of the hotel) to learn about accounting and finance in action: Minute Maid Park, home to the Houston Astros; CenterPoint Energy; Dynegy; and Hess Corporation. Later that day, a Student Chapter Leadership Roundtable is offered for students and educators interested in starting or growing an IMA student chapter.

On Friday night, after a long day in sessions, attendees are invited to unwind at a dinner buffet and show off their bowling skills at Lucky Strike. At the event, judges will be on hand for the annual t-shirt design competition. Be sure to have your school participate and join in the fun of this popular event. This year’s winner receives $500 for their school or student chapter; details are available at https://www.imastudentconference.org/documents/SLC17-TshirtDesign.pdf.

IMA once again will offer an SLC app (available on the Google Play or Apple store), which will allow attendees to create a personalized schedule, as well as view session information, speaker bios, exhibitor/sponsor information, and more. There will also be an opportunity to have a free professional photo taken to use on your LinkedIn profile.

For more information about this year’s SLC and to view a full conference program, please visit www.imaslc.org. And be sure to join the conversation at #IMASLC17 on IMA's Facebook and Twitter pages.