What began as a simple idea – wanting to reach local U.S. college students who may not be aware of the career opportunities available in management accounting – has grown into a successful nationwide effort.

IMA’s Campus Influencer program began in 2016 as a way to connect IMA® (Institute of Management Accountants) members with college students and share with them the benefits of IMA membership and CMA® (Certified Management Accountant) certification.

To date, the program has reached nearly 6,000 students in 32 states and through more than 110 presentations. As a result of this outreach, nearly 300 students have become IMA members and nearly two dozen have enrolled in the CMA program. And the Campus Influencer program is always looking for additional IMA members who want to volunteer to join the effort.

A Dedicated Volunteer
One such volunteer is Kim Dera, a finance clerk at US Electrical Services and a member of the IMA Hartford Chapter, who enthusiastically signed up to be a Campus Influencer. Dera is a recent graduate of Central Connecticut State University, where she learned about management accounting as a senior. “I wish someone had told me earlier about this potential career path. That’s one of the reasons why I’m so dedicated to telling other students about IMA and the CMA,” she says.

Dedicated she is. Dera has already conducted eight presentations personally, at college campuses in Connecticut and Rhode Island, and she has assisted with a handful of others. She said that the experience has helped to boost her confidence in her presentation skills and enabled her to network with students, academics, and professional members of her chapter.

“Doing the presentations has been a lot of fun, and it’s forced me to move beyond my comfort zone,” Dera says. “I think the students really respond to the fact that I’m only a couple of years out of school – they know I can relate to their experience. I’m also a naturally shy person, and making these presentations has helped strengthen my self confidence in a way that also helps students. It’s a win-win for all of us.”

Join the Growing Effort
The Campus Influencer program is looking for two types of individuals: (1) volunteers to identify and contact colleges, universities, accounting professors, and accounting department chairs; and (2) volunteers to make presentations to accounting classes and student clubs. People can choose to fill both roles – or they can make the initial contact and have someone else make the presentation.

The program provides volunteers with a “turnkey” approach, including a detailed, scripted presentation; supporting documents; and marketing materials. IMA also conducts detailed training sessions for Campus Influencers to allow those who join the program to get their questions asked and answered.

An article in the August 2016 issue of Strategic Finance explains the program in more detail and an update on the program recently appeared in the March issue. IMA members interested in becoming Campus Influencers are encouraged to contact Chris Aquino, IMA business development manager, at chris.aquino@imanet.org.