Published: November 20, 2015
Arriving at Brennan Hall on a cold November morning, high school students and their parents came to The University to learn about the accounting program offered by the Kania School of Management on saturday. Despite what an uninformed observer might guess, this was not an open house organized by the Office of Admissions for potential students to attend. Instead, the hand-picked high school students were specifically invited based on impressive academic records to attend the inaugural FAl-Con, which stands for the Future Accountants Leadership Conference. Hailed as a success by the faculty, alumni, parents and students who attended the event, it will undoubtedly continue into the foreseeable future as yet another method to showcase what The University, and more specifically the business school, has to offer.
Initially starting off as the project for the Business Leadership Honors Program as part of a class centered on consulting, the curriculum tasked the group of students with creating an open house of sorts centered on the highly successful accounting program.
“I really felt as though we had our work cut out for us going into this, but after we started to make progress it really started to all come together,” described Allison DeCarlo, an international business major who participated in the preparations. “The class was split into groups, each of which contributed to the planning in their own way. I was part of the logistics team, so I helped to organize the catering, room reservations and the parents’ schedule”.
In addition to the logistics team, the enrollment team assisted the Office of Admissions with determining which students to invite. The marketing team created the invitations, acceptance letters and the “branding” that was needed to make the event unique among The University’s other recruiting offerings. The budgeting and finance group assisted in procuring the funds needed to run the event, along with keeping track of any expenses that were incurred during the preparation process. Lastly, the curriculum students determined the day’s schedule of events for the students as well as conducted the search for guest speakers and volunteers.
The Business Leadership Honors Program, the student group behind the event’s formation, is a highly selective group of students that are chosen based on their superior academic records, proactive campus involvement and their experience in leadership and working in a team. As part of the program’s curriculum, the students have the option to participate in an extra class to receive a minor in business leadership. This class, titled “Successful Consulting: Theory and Practice,” gives the students an opportunity to be given a real project to contribute to what has actual effects on the school. While the class is offered once a year, it is unique in that the project that the students work on is different each time the class is taken. For this year, the focus was on a new initiative to raise the enrollment in the accounting program offered in the business school. Naming the event Fal-Con, the Business Leadership students quickly got to work fleshing out the details and bringing in help from all over The University.
Being the inaugural year for this type of event, it is understandable if it does not go perfectly the first time. Despite some minor setbacks in the preparation, the day turned out to be a huge success, with high school students and parents alike being impressed with the effort put into the conference. Beginning with a speech from faculty, such as Douglas Boyle Ph.D., the day kicked off with a series of presentations, panel discussions and networking opportunities designed for students and parents to learn more about the accounting program at the school.
“What I think made the day so great was the chance to interact with faculty, current students and alumni,” explained Rachael Weir, an accounting major who took part in the student presentations. “The parents were impressed with the alumni that came in to speak of their experiences at Scranton and how it helped them post-grad. At the same time, the high school students liked the chance to get to talk with current students”.
Also taking part in the conference to demonstrate the effectiveness of The University’s accounting program were members of the Accounting Department Professional Alumni Council, or ADPAC for short. Consisting of both accounting faculty and alumni, the members were a central part of the activities that were organized for both the students and parents. The faculty, some of whom were alumni themselves, served as great resources on the education side of the accounting program while the alumni explained what The University accounting degree did for them and their careers. Having jobs representing “big four” firms such as Price Waterhouse Cooper, as well as their own stories related to their post-graduation journey, the alumni undoubtedly impressed with their clear success after graduating from the Kania School of Management with degrees in accounting. Furthermore, some even were not currently in the accounting profession. While some may view this as something detrimental to the positive image ADPAC aimed to convey to the students and parents, these alumni demonstrated how you can find a successful career with an accounting major despite not necessarily being forced into a particular job.
At the conclusion of Fal-Con, the high school students and their parents had the opportunity to network at will during a closing reception. Many parents expressed how impressed they were with how the school went out of its way to organize this event, and how it was mainly coordinated by students. Many of the high school students, also felt that the day was very well organized and greatly appreciated the opportunity to speak with current students to further learn more about, not just accounting, but the college experience as a whole. With the parents, high school students and faculty alike praising the success of the conference, plans are already underway to continue Fal-Con the following year.
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