When it comes to learning a subject as complex as accounting, it can helpful to use real-world examples to demonstrate concepts and procedures. It is common for accounting instructors to use case study and textbook examples in the classroom. Ron Myszkowski, accounting instructor for Globe University-Minneapolis, and his Managerial Accounting class took case-study learning to the next level.
Students (Shaun Jenson, Maria Little-Arnold, Alnora Lone, Erick Sanchez and Cortez Sauerwein) contacted several organizations offering to assist with data analysis. The YMCA of Coon Rapids agreed to send the students five years of data from their annual gala fundraiser. A Night of Discovery with the Y raises funds for the Emma B. Howe Family of the YMCA Community.
Several large files of raw data were provided to the students. The students were tasked with first sorting and organizing the data into several categories before they could analyze and provide projections. The goal of the project was to provide the YMCA of Coon Rapids a clear picture of their expense and revenue trends over the last several years to assist with a more productive and successful event. The students worked diligently throughout the quarter sorting, analyzing and creating spreadsheets for the data.
The students presented their findings to Jim Wing, district sales manager and Margie Rask, director of the YMCA Coon Rapids along with Christine Storms, dean of education and Campus Director Jim Decker. The students created a professional and impressive presentation of data with intricate excel spreadsheets and projections. Their guests were impressed with the project and requested a follow up meeting to work with the class to analyze more data and provide more insight into their event planning. Shaun Jenson, one of the students who worked on this project, was offered an internship with the agency and will begin this summer.
Acquiring the skills for a complex field such as accounting, using real data (that the YMCA of Coon Rapids admittedly stated was “messy”) is an excellent way to gauge how these skills are used in the field. Myszkowski’s Managerial Accounting class scored their first client and had a successful applied learning experience.
Ron reflected on the experience adding “Of course I think the class did a great job on the deliverable and delivered a professional presentation, but the most impressive aspect of the project was that the client was actually using the flexible budget, and debating aspects of their fund raising budget between themselves based off of the information the class presented, before the presentation was finished.”