Recent MAcc graduate, Alexander Lake, won first place in the Pennsylvania Institute of Certified Public Accountants (PICPA) 2014 Student Writing Competition! Alex’s submission received the top honor out of 109 papers from 21 different schools. The title of his award-winning paper is “The Practice of Sustainability Reporting, its Challenges, and its Value for Investors”.
MAcc Insight interviewed Alex about the competition and his experiences as a MAcc student at Chatham.
Alex says he found out about the writing contest when browsing the PICPA website, which he joined while he was a MAcc student at Chatham University*.
Alex’s topic was on sustainability reporting—in which he briefly detailed the scope of this topic and focused on its costs and benefits for companies as well as the goals and recent contributions of the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB).
To prepare for the paper, he started by learning as much as he could about the SASB from their website and publications. After getting his head around the scope of the issues and problems that they were addressing, he looked around at similar, more focused, standard-setting bodies to know where they fit into this field. Finally, he researched what the scholarly literature had to say about the effectiveness of non-financial reporting and to learn how these types of reports were being used by financial markets and others. Alex states, “My undergraduate major was in history, so the whole process felt pretty familiar to me.”
Alex reports he chose Chatham’s MAcc program mainly because of its flexibility and because he thought that the focus of the program aligned with the kind of work he wished to pursue upon graduation.
When asked if there were any classes that were especially memorable for him or beneficial for his career, Alex stated, “I actually have made substantial use of probably every course that I took [at Chatham], which is a little unusual for a field that tends to emphasize specialization.”
While a student, Alex participated in the Graduate Student Assembly as an extra-curricular activity. He says it “was a great way to develop a connection with the other graduate programs at Chatham and with the campus community more broadly”.
Alex started his current job at Crawford Ellenbogen, LLC as an intern in the Fall of 2013. He states it was a good fit for him, especially early in his career. Alex says he was able to work on a wide variety of engagements (which kept things interesting) and he felt a more direct connection to the clients that he works on “so it’s easier to see how my work creates value in the community.”
In his spare time, Alex says that when he is not studying for the CPA exam, he enjoys walking around the city (particularly its parks and the Strip District on Saturdays), gardening, reading, and playing board games with friends.
Congratulations on this great honor, Alex! And good luck in your career!
*Student-level membership with PICPA is a benefit of attending Chatham’s MAcc program. Contact Ginger Polozoff at firstname.lastname@example.org for details.