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Hey, accounting professors: Want to get your students really stoked about becoming CPAs? Kick 'em out of your classroom.

Sure, there's a whole lot of fancy book-learnin' that comes with being a CPA. But some of life's best lessons aren't taught in school.

Just ask the six University of Baltimore students who escaped campus earlier this year to attend the MACPA's Innovation Summit.

Talk about hungry. These folks are absolutely starving. They saw some MACPA marketing about the Summit — a future-focused event with heavy doses of innovation and leadership — then huddled up and said to each other, “We have to be there.”

So they registered on their own, braved the early-morning Beltway traffic, and made their way to Martin's West.

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They weren't disappointed. One student jotted down the following on one of the MACPA's “Idea Store” cards:

“Knowledge is power. There's no better way for a college student to experience a CPA's life than to be stuck in a room full of them. This event was amazing, inspiring, and makes me want to become a CPA even more.”

Another UB student, Colin Rau, had this to say:

“We got to network with professionals who are working in the industry. Everyone who was sitting at our tables was a CPA or a partner who has experience in the field, and everyone had great advice for us throughout the day. You see the enthusiasm that CPAs have for their profession, you get their insight, and you really soak that in. You realize that it's about more than sitting in an intermediate accounting class. … It's about leadership and being involved in the profession. It's not just about debits and credits.”

That's a lesson for all of us as well: A few real-world experiences can have a huge impact on the next generation of CPAs.

So how do we do that? We can't just count on all students having the foresight to seek out these experiences on their own. How can we build more of those experiences into our traditional accounting education models? How can we make sure that all students have the opportunity that these UB students had?

If we can do that, CPAs might just rule the world.

In a world as fiscally challenged as this one, how cool would that be?

Listen to Colin's comments in their entirety:

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