ShriyamStudents in IMA’s Middle East/India region have a unique opportunity: They participate in a competition for the honor of attending IMA’s Student Leadership Conference in the United States. 

This year, six students were selected – Hassan Alkhabbas from Sultan Qaboos University; Mariam Khalifa from American University in Cairo; Mona Habib from the University of Bahrain; Sireen Abushanab from the University of Jordan; Anushree Chatterjee from Daly College of Business Management; and Shriyam Agrawal, from Christ University in India. Shriyam offered his reflections on the experience:

To attend the Student Leadership Conference in Charlotte, N.C., was a dream come true. I will always be grateful to IMA® (Institute of Management Accountants) for giving me this opportunity and providing such a magnanimous gateway to success. All three days of the conference were filled with amazing networking activities, insightful sessions and seminars, industry tours, and interaction with industry experts. The takeaway was just tremendous in terms of lifelong worldwide friends, new concepts, a completely changed outlook, and discovering the resources that IMA offers to students. 

The first day began with industry tours of giant conglomerates such as Bank of America, Duke Energy, and the Charlotte Knights. I chose the Bank of America tour and learned a great deal about their internal workings. In the evening, IMA organized an exhilarating networking activity that allowed us to interact with other attendees. Because most of us would be venturing out in the industry for internships and jobs, IMA invited almost 15-20 renowned exhibitors too! 

The second day started with a real-life motivational story by John Howell. I was inspired by his words and got to learn how to tackle any problem with the same ease. The rest of the day unfolded with wonderful concurrent sessions on topics such as “Converging on Management Accounting,” “Industry 4.0,” “Success on an International Stage,” and “Transforming Finance with Robotics Automation.” All the subjects discussed were strategically selected by IMA so that they would be interesting to a wide variety of participants. 

IMA’s Student Leadership Conference was the most unique conference I have ever attended. I say this because, after a long day in session, we got to unwind with friends and colleagues at a café and bowling alley. IMA also conducted a T-shirt design competition, which was something very different and competitive. It was surely a night to remember!

The last half-day of the conference started with a session on forensic accounting followed by a few updates on the CMA® (Certified Management Accountant) exam content and a session redefining the accounting skills that schools don’t teach. The last and probably the most enjoyable session, according to me, was the Career Roundtables, which gave us the chance to personally interact with industry experts. 

The conference ended with an experience-sharing session by whistleblower Weston Smith, who discussed the valuable lesson about never compromising on ethics. 

I won’t soon forget those three days of unmatched experience, learning, and bonding with people from across the globe. Given an opportunity, I would be overwhelmed to attend the Student Leadership Conference year after year.


IMA’s 2020 Student Leadership Conference will be held at the Wyndham Grand Pittsburgh Downtown in Pittsburgh, Pa., on November 12-14. Registration will open in the fall 2020; please visit for details as they become available.