Future Accountants Attend Eye-Opening Conference at University

December 4, 2015

When Douglas Boyle, D.B.A., and his Business Leadership Honors Consulting Class began to plan The University of Scranton’s first Future Accountants Leadership Conference (FAL-Con), they knew the goal was to attract the best and brightest young business minds from a spectrum of states.

So, working with the University’s admissions staff, they identified top students within Scranton’s recruiting markets who were interested in business and accounting, inviting them to an interactive educational conference in November.

It’s safe to say the organizers’ minds were as enlightened as the students’.

Dr. Boyle, an associate professor, chairman of the Accounting Department and president of the Faculty Senate at Scranton, said he and his students knew they were recruiting the best, but nearly 70 high school students who attended the inaugural conference, accompanied by about 115 parents and guardians and representing six states, exceeded all expectations.

“We were really impressed with the students who came,” he said, explaining the conference offered the future professionals the chance to take in three presentations: from faculty, alumni executives and current honor students. “The questions they asked and the insights they had really impressed us.”

The accompanying parents saw similar presentations and were equally impressed said alumna and University Trustee Tracy Bannon.

Bannon, a 1984 marketing graduate, is now a mother of five, four of whom also are University alumni. Her son Matthew earned his accounting and finance degree in 2013 and MBA in 2014.

“I gave a parent’s perspective,” she said, explaining that she wanted business, and particularly accounting students to know how many different career opportunities they have.

“It was great to bring so many potential students together with alumni,” she said, adding she always loves seeing the way current students interact with alumni and believes that relationship is “pretty unique to Scranton.”

The conference included an interactive experience with members of the Kania School of Management’s award-winning faculty, the Accounting Department Professional Alumni Council and students from the Business Leadership Honors Program and Beta Alpha Psi, the accounting honor society.

The high school students attending, who were required to have at least a 3.2 GPA, be ranked in the top 30 percent of their class if their school ranks and have a recommendation from their school, were able to network with the professionals while furthering their subject knowledge.

Dr. Boyle said the most common feedback received was that the overall experience was extremely educational and eye-opening.

“They were not aware of what a career in accounting looked like,” he said. “And they were impressed that so many successful Scranton alumni returned.”

One point almost certainly driven home was how strong the employment outlook is for future accountants.

“In general, no matter what segment of the field you look at – public, private, government or academia – all of these areas have shortages projected to last the next 10 years,” Dr. Boyle said.

And, as a bonus “the compensation is lucrative,” he added.

Dr. Boyle said the University is proud of the impressive messages it was able to deliver to the students and parents, key among them that the University is “the only school of our size listed among U.S. News & World Report’s Top 25 accounting programs.”

The Kania School of Management also has been listed in the Princeton Review's “Best Business Schools” for 10 consecutive years and is accredited by AACSB International, the highest standard of achievement. Fewer than 5 percent of business schools worldwide have such accreditation.

Each conference attendee accepted at The University of Scranton will be offered an additional $1,000 scholarship.

Bannon suspects many will take the University up on that offer.

During the Q&A, she said, one parent said, “I won’t ask a question. I’m going to make a comment. You should be proud of what you have here. This is really special.”

Nearly 70 high school students from six states attended The University of Scranton’s first Future Accountants Leadership Conference recently on campus. The conference included an interactive experience with members of the Kania School of Management’s faculty, the Accounting Department Professional Alumni Council and students from the Business Leadership Honors Program and Beta Alpha Psi, the accounting honor society.

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