April 27, 2009 by Andi Murphy Round Up
The Association of Latino Professionals in Finance and Accounting has brought NMSU national attention for two years and is going out again, this time to Boston for the annual KPMG Case Study Competition.
The NMSU student chapter was invited back to the 36th ALPFA Annual Convention in August, which is held in select cities and sponsored by many high-end cooperative companies. They were one of first of 25 universities in the country to be invited back on an invitation-only basis and ALPFA has 36 chapters. Their good work at the two previous conventions in Phoenix and Orlando guaranteed their return to the conference and competition.
“Our ALPFA chapter has given NMSU national exposure,” said Bill Smith, an assistant accounting professor and ALPFA co-faculty adviser. “I’m certain that this year will be the same.”
Smith picked six students in accounting to compete; Rosetta Morales, John Ordorica, Maura Najera, Emma Lane, Manish Saxena and Deborah Brown. They will do a full, professional analysis of Merck & Co., Inc., a pharmaceutical company. They will look into the company’s background, draw up a risk assessment and look into its management and accounting issues, Smith said.
Last year the students took three months to prepare for their final 20-minute presentation in front of a panel of professionals, Smith said. They came in third in the regional competition. A 2-inch-thick package of documents is their starter kit.
“I feel a lot of pressure for NMSU to compete with Big East colleges,” said Rosetta Morales, a senior and second-time competitor. “NMSU doesn’t really get to compete with the big schools in the East.”
Accounting is not something that has a competition like sports does, Morales said. They’re not just number crunchers, there’s a lot more to the competition than numbers. Most NMSU students don’t get this sort of opportunity to compete at a national level, she said.
“I feel very privileged,” Morales said.
Morales said sacrificed her summer and some time from her personal life to prepare for the competition last year in Phoenix and will do the same this year. The group of competitors will meet more often and start practicing very early. She will also be taking a full load of school to start off her master’s degree in accounting because she graduates in May.
“You meet a lot of new people,” said Eliza Ortiz, senior majoring in accounting.
Although Ortiz is not going to compete this year, she’s going to the convention again to network. Ortiz said seminars on Hispanic professionals, in addition to the professional speakers, help to educate and inform students the conventions.
“It’s so much fun,” said Cecilia Diaz, a previous ALPFA competitor.
Diaz liked all the networking at the convention and the socials and dances afterward. As many as 2,500 professionals, sponsors and students will attend the annual event. It’s a good opportunity to make that transition from school to the real work world, she said.
Although ALPFA at NMSU is really part of the El Paso Professional Chapter, it’s a strong force, said Diana Telles, president of the NMSU ALPFA chapter. Their student membership has grown from just eight to 35 active members, she said.
ALPFA is an organization that offers students mentoring and networking. In ALPFA, accounting and finance students are given a push out into the professional world. ALPFA is a place where students can relate through similar interests.
The convention is the main focus for now and the ALPFA group is raising funds for their trip to Boston, Telles said. They will be selling the “Class of 2009” T-shirts and hosting other fundraisers for the rest of the semester and into summer. They will also get help from ASNMSU and the Hispanic Council, Telles said.
“Last year, we put our name out there,” Telles said, “and we’ll do it again.”