Student Leadership Conferences Increase in Popularity at Top 50 Accounting Firms

Atlanta, Georgia (PRWEB) November 21, 2013

Accounting students are jumpstarting their careers while still in college. How? By applying for and participating in student leadership conferences. Top accounting firms looking to attract the best-of-the-best students in this very competitive jobs market start by hosting Leadership Conferences.

Nancy Geery, director of recruiting at Habif, Arogeti & Wynne, LLP(HA&W) and founder of the Firms Student Leadership Conference said: Our Conference provides sessions that teach students soft skills they may not get, say, in a cost accounting class. The goal is to orchestrate a program that considers the whole student and fills gaps in their experiences, so that they are better prepared for the recruiting process. We look to foster leaders from the first meeting they have with HA&W.

Student leadership conferences have merit. Choosing to attend HA&Ws Student Leadership Conference last summer was one of the best career decisions Ive made, said Janelle Markley, staff accountant at HA&W. During the conference, I was able to make personal connections and build relationships with senior-level professionals within the Firm. Ultimately, I was offered a full-time position. The learning curve entering my career was shortened because when I started, I already felt comfortable interacting with many of the partners whom Id gotten to know during the student leadership conference.

Students are able to map a more deliberate career course after attending a student leadership conference because they gain important real-world, day-in-the-life-of insight on workload expectations, culture, training opportunities and client base, which can vary firm to firm.

In fact, accounting professors at universities across the Southeast recommend that students participate in leadership conferences.

I strongly recommend that students take advantage of any opportunity that comes available to them to attend a student leadership conference at an accounting firm, said Lisa McKinney, lecturer in accounting in the Culverhouse School of Accountancy at the University of Alabama. These programs provide direct insight into the culture and personality of the firm, which most people find to be one of the most important criteria in selecting where to work. You will be meeting people at all levels within the firm during these summer programs; this is the key to truly understanding what motivates and drives the internal workings of the firm, and answers the question: What are the people Id be working with every day really like?

But acceptance into these programs is not easy. Top accounting firms offer student leadership conferences, vying for the best accounting students. With a record number of accounting students in colleges and universities today, the conferences are becoming more and more competitive to get accepted to. The goal is to bring in the best and brightest accounting students from our target schools, said Geery. Attendees are fully vetted based on a phone interview, their GPA, extracurricular activities and pre-employment assessment with the Firm. Because a large portion of our entry-level hiring comes from spring internships, its important that the highest-achieving students attend the conference.

In July, HA&W, the largest Georgia-headquartered tax, accounting and business advisory firm, hosted its second annual Student Leadership Conference. The event was attended by 20 hand-picked students from the University of Georgia, University of Alabama, Georgia Southern University and Kennesaw State University. According to a poll conducted of program participants following HA&Ws 2013 Student Leadership Conference, three skill areas of focus received the highest levels of positive feedback. Poll results indicated that accounting students found sessions on networking, leadership and communication to be the most informative.

Each module offered at HA&Ws Student Leadership Conference featured content developed specifically for HA&Ws two-day conference and speaks to the Firms four cultural cornerstones of trust, transparency, communication and collaboration, said Geery.

Networking: Possessing the skills to communicate effectively at a networking event is one of the most sought-after skills for professionals today. Not everyone is comfortable with small talk and speaking with strangers often pushes professionals out of their comfort zone. Thats why its important that college students start early and learn tips from the masters. During HA&Ws Student Leadership Conference, 92.3 percent of attendees indicated that the module presented on Networking Dos & Donts was very informative. The module offered real-life examples and actionable tips for networking success.

Leadership: As accounting students ascend the corporate ladder, the ability to lead is crucial. There is a right way and a wrong way to lead and effective leadership can gel a team and decrease employee turnover. During the Student Leadership Conference, attendees spent time diving into what it means to be a leader and what they can do today that will enable them to be successful leaders in the future The module focused on how to show that you are a leader and setting leadership goals. Forty-six percent of attendees to HA&Ws 2013 Student Leadership Conference indicated that the information presented on leadership was very informative.

Communication: Individuals cant avoid communicating in the workplace; its just a matter of fact. But learning early in your career the most effective way to communicate with your managers and team members will increase understanding and, in general, simplify your life. Attendees to HA&Ws Student Leadership Conference learned best practices on how to communicate with managers possessing different leadership styles, with a focus on personal communication pitfalls. Thirty-eight percent of attendees to the Student Leadership Conference ranked the communications module as very informative.

McKinney said: Student Leadership Conferences offer the chance to showcase yourself to the firm, show them what separates you from others. This is the time to make a connection with people at the firm who will have direct input in hiring decisions. Show them your interest and passion for the field of accounting and share what motivates you to succeed in school and in life.

HA&Ws Student Leadership Conference is an elegantly-designed event that provides students with the opportunity to learn and prepare for their career, outside of the classroom, said Richard Kopelman, CEO and managing partner at HA&W. A dedication to high quality training and useful information, along with a commitment to education and professional growth are all part of the experience you get at HA&W.

HA&Ws Student Leadership Conference takes place annually during the summer at the Firms headquarters in the iconic Queen Building in Atlanta, Georgia. The conference focuses on teaching skills that accounting students need to get ahead in the work world. It provides students with an opportunity to learn more about the Firm, meet its people and engage in one-on-one conversations with people who are working in the accounting industry and can offer guidance and advice.

For more information about HA&Ws Student Leadership Conference, or to apply, contact Nancy Geery, director of recruiting, at nancy.geery(at)hawcpa(dot)com or 770-353-7171.

About Habif, Arogeti & Wynne, LLP:

Today, the pace at which work gets done is faster than ever before, and when companies manage that pace by surrounding themselves with the right people, sustainable success happens. Thats why the Southeasts most recognizable businesses continue to select Habif, Arogeti &Wynne LLP as their accounting, audit, tax, and consulting firm of choice.

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