Emphasizing Professionalism through the MPAc Workshop
The first event required for this year’s cohort of the Masters in Professional Accountancy (MPAc) program, was a daylong professional workshop held by College of Business (CoB) accounting faculty and the Montana State University (MSU) Accounting Advisory Council (AAC). Nearly 50 MPAc students participated in the workshop that took place on August 30.
The day consisted of icebreaker activities, an AAC panel discussion on “Understanding the Profession of Accounting,” and two professional development sessions, one on “Self-awareness, Emotional and Social Intelligence,” and “How to Present Yourself in an Interview.” The day ended with students working with the AAC and accounting faculty on their résumés and mock interviews.
Most of the students found this workshop to be an invaluable resource on what to expect as a professional. They were able to ask current accounting and financial professionals candid questions about being in their fields and obtained great insight about themselves as professionals in training.
“The MPAc Professionalism workshop was very beneficial. I enjoyed having assigned seating throughout the day that allowed us to meet different professionals from the community, giving us the opportunity to ask for candid advice or to hear about different career paths. This also helped me refine my communication skills, which is always a good thing. However, the Advisory Board panel was my favorite part of the day! The panel members each gave us honest answers (we are going to have to work hard and will have long days!) and gave advice that challenged each of us,” described MPAc student, Molly Zander.
Lauren Jackson used the workshop to evaluate herself as a professional, to figure out her strengths and weaknesses, and reflect back up on her recent internship with Boeing. She said, “This workshop revealed some strengths and weaknesses to me. During mock interviews, I received very good comments that will hopefully allow me to convey my accomplishments in an understandable, concise, and intelligent manner. The segment on communicating with upper management was also very enlightening. I wish I had known some of the persuasive approaches covered, before I did my internship, to better communicate with my manager and executives. In the end, I was better able to identify my strengths and weaknesses to better improve myself as an asset to my future employer one day.”
The workshop was equally memorable for the professional mentors. CoB graduate Morgan Scarr, now an AAC board member, was thrilled to participate in the workshop for the second year. She said, “I’m so glad the CoB started this professional workshop. I’m grateful for the opportunity as an employer, and as a mentor, to hear what students are excited about, why they are going into accounting, and what makes them nervous about transitioning from school to work. I wish I would have had the opportunity to attend a workshop like this while I was in school. As a student, that interaction with people in the “real” accounting world is invaluable and really gives you an advantage on that first step into you career.” She added that the students who were involved in professional development, like this workshop, from the beginning, make the best employees, hands down.
The CoB strives to best prepare its students for careers after college and programs like the MPAc Professionalism Workshop are just another way of supporting student success.
For more information about the MPAc program, please see our website: http://www.montana.edu/cob/Accounting/MPAc/index.html