MadisonMadison Muffoletto is a senior and the president of the IMA® (Institute of Management Accountants) Student Chapter on the campus of University of Louisiana at Lafayette. This year, she attended her second Student Leadership Conference, and she shared some of her thoughts about the experience:

What sessions did you especially enjoy? 

There were so many excellent sessions that it’s very difficult to choose! However, I really enjoyed the keynote presentation by John Howell, one of the survivors of the Hudson River plane landing in 2009 depicted in the movie “Sully.” He talked about being all in all the time, and it truly touched me. I was also fascinated by the talk by Wes Smith, who shared his personal story about the HealthSouth scandal.

What impressed me the most about the entire conference was the level of passion and commitment by the speakers. You could really tell that they cared about sharing their message with the students. And as a student, it was such an honor to hear from these accomplished professionals – people who are out there making a difference in their careers and, in some cases, the world.

Who most inspired you?

I would have to say that the presentations by Loreal Jiles and Ashley Gibson were the most inspiring to me. Both these women are young professionals, with incredibly demanding jobs, and they serve as members of the IMA Global Board! Hearing from them made me realize that IMA is not just an organization for university students but an organization that I can be a member of forever. I’m really looking forward to giving back to the profession like they have. 

Did you take advantage of the networking opportunities?

Definitely! I had the chance to meet students from across the country: Texas, Michigan, Missouri, and many others. It was great to talk with other students who shared similar interests and learn from them as well.

I also enjoyed the exhibit hall and I have to say: I won a raffle to receive a full test bank from Gleim, worth about $1,000. I’m looking forward to using that to help me study for my certification. I also spoke to representatives at many companies, including the FDIC in Baton Rouge. 

What was the most important insight you gained from attending the conference?

It would probably be, don’t be afraid to follow your dreams. As a young child, I had always wanted to be an FBI agent and at last year’s conference, I learned about the field of forensic accounting and discovered that was where my true passion was. That single session impacted many of the decisions I made over the past year to find a way to pursue that as a career. This year, I heard the presentation by Erin Lentz, who’s a CMA, CPA, and CFE, and a forensic accountant and partner at Grant Thornton. She spoke about how the journey to success isn’t always easy and how the sky’s the limit if you don’t get discouraged.

Next year’s Student Leadership Conference will be held in Pittsburgh, Pa., on November 12-14, 2020. Watch future issues of Campus Connection for registration details as they become available.