Longtime Professional Student Organization Expands Reach

Whitman School accounting students have myriad opportunities to engage in experiential learning and mentoring outside the classroom through internships and well-established participation in professional organizations. One of those is the National Association of Black Accountants (NABA), founded in 1969 as a professional organization of minority accountants. Today, NABA is open to all but it continues its pledge to bridge the opportunity gap for people of color to become successful business leaders.

“Many people are unaware that NABA welcomes members of all races,” said Kofi Appiah Okyere, Ph.D., NABA faculty advisor. “Together, all members seek to ‘lift as we climb,’ helping each other become successful business people.” Professor Appiah Okyere dedicates himself to lifting up students to

Professor Appiah Okyere dedicates himself to lifting up students to success. He leads the NABA chapter to an annual conference each year where they often connect with major companies and leaders in accounting and finance. The Eastern Region Student Conference, according to its website, is “two-and-a-half days of workshops, seminars and interview sessions designed to better prepare minority students for careers in accounting and financial management disciplines.”

“Each year it’s not uncommon for our students to come away from the conference with multiple internships and/or job offers,” said Professor Appiah Okyere. “Firms from the retail, investment management, marketing and consulting industries join accounting and finance firms in seeking future leaders who are well-rounded with diverse experiences and backgrounds.”

He added that many students also benefit from mentoring, scholarships and funding from NABA companies and members.

“Recently, a guest speaker from one of our member companies offered a free CPA review package to one lucky student,” said Professor Appiah Okyere. “Students often receive scholarships, including those from the AICPA, NABA-New York and NABA-National, to attend conferences or to help defray tuition. Our alumni and firms help fund our annual gala and never hesitate to visit campus and share their knowledge to help our students grow.”

NABA members have numbered anywhere from 25 to 45 over the last years. Although there are criteria for membership, as well as dues, Professor Appiah Okyere said the relationships and opportunities students reap from the organization are priceless.