CALGARY, March 30, 2012 /CNW/ - For post secondary students wanting to get their foot in the door of the business world this summer, the job search starts with perfecting resumes, scrolling through countless job boards, honing interview skills and getting that business suit out of the closet. But while some students are scrambling to put the finishing touches on their resumes in hopes that theirs will stand out among the endless stack on a hiring manager's desk, others have taken a less traditional approach to the dreaded job search with CGA Alberta's Next Top Accountant contest.
Instead of resumes, students submitted short online videos outlining why they were the right person for a summer internship with CGA Alberta's contest partner Husky Energy Inc. (TSX:HSE). The five contestants with the most "Likes" were then invited to compete in a business case competition, with the winner walking away with the title of Alberta's Next Top Accountant, the summer internship at Husky Energy and a $3,000 cash prize.
"This is a fun and creative way for students to demonstrate their talent and expertise," said John Carpenter, CEO of CGA Alberta. "The video competition highlights the students' creativity, and the business case showcases their ability to analyze a case and think clearly under pressure; skills that may not be apparent on a resume or in a job interview. We also provide aspiring accounting students with an alternative access to the job market and the opportunity to develop business competence in the oil and gas industry; skills that will help them stand out from the competition down the road."
In just seven weeks, the videos went viral. In total, CGA Alberta's YouTube channel received more than 17,000 visitors, 88,000 page views, and nearly 8,500 votes. Contestants showcased their talents in unique and creative ways - some made music videos, wrote their own songs or produced an animated feature, while others showcased their skills in snowboarding, knitting and even solving two Rubik cubes at the same time to demonstrate their team work, dedication and interest in the accounting profession.
The top five contestants presented a business case on North Okanagan Winery to a panel of judges today which included Carpenter, Manjit Minhas, CEO of Minhas Creek Craft Brewing Co., and Husky Energy's Kristal Kaye, CGA, Manager of Corporate Accounting and Reporting.
Karla Gourdeau beat out four other contestants who presented a business case to the panel of judges. "We were very impressed with the level of professionalism these students exhibited in their business case presentations," said Carpenter. However, it was Gourdeau's presentation that really caught the attention of the judges. "Gourdeau's presentation was very focused and based on the economics of business. I was impressed with how she presented complex facts in a well organized manner," said Carpenter.
Gourdeau, a third year Bachelor of Business Administration student at Mount Royal University, says the title of Next Top Accountant will look amazing on her resume. "It will set me apart from other job candidates and potentially help me earn a job in my chosen field," she said.
For Gourdeau, the feeling of winning the Alberta's Next Top Accountant contest can't be beat. "Presenting to the panel today will prepare me for future job situations and interviews," she said. "The collecting of votes pushed me out of my comfort zone but the process was exciting and tense, all at once, down to the last seconds before voting closed. This feels like a job I have really earned!"
"We were pleased by the creativity of the Next Top Accountant submissions," said Jerine Cropper, Manager, Finance and Accounting Services at Husky Energy. "This was a great way for people to showcase their talent. We look forward to welcoming our Next Top Accountant, Karla Goudeau, to Husky this spring."
Runner up Eeshwar Grewal received the second prize in the competition, a $2,000 cash prize and a $2,000 CGA scholarship for the CGA Program of Professional Studies. Third prize, a $1000 cash prize and a $1000 scholarship for the CGA Program of Professional Studies was awarded to Dinara Yanbaeva. Both are students at SAIT.
"This contest was an innovative approach intended to attract the interest of post-secondary students as well as the general public, educatng them on what it takes to become a CGA," added Carpenter. "It generated healthy competition among emerging talent."
The Certified General Accountants' Association is responsible for the education, regulation and promotion of CGAs in Alberta. There are more than 75,000 CGA members and students working across the country and around the world, at every level and in every sector. CGA is the fastest growing accounting designation in Canada and is the designation of choice for students pursuing an accounting career in Alberta. For more information about CGA Alberta, please visit the web-site at www.cga-alberta.org
Husky Energy is one of Canada's largest integrated energy companies. It is headquartered in Calgary, Alberta, and is publicly traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbols HSE and HSE.PR.A. The Company operates worldwide with Upstream, Midstream and Downstream business segments. A combination of technological innovation, prudent investment, sound project management and responsible resource development allows Husky to deliver strong returns to shareholders. The Company has a well-defined and growth-oriented business plan, a stable foundation and has set course to realize value from three mid- to long-term growth pillars.
To view the contestants' videos, go to www.nexttopaccountant.ca.
For more information on CGA Alberta, go to www.cga-alberta.org.
For more information on Husky Energy Inc, go to www.huskyenergy.com.
Image with caption: "Karla Gourdeau won first prize in Alberta's Next Top Accountant contest. This earned her a paid summer internship with Husky Energy Inc, a $3,000 cash prize and free student fees in the CGA Program of Professional Studies. (CNW Group/Certified General Accountants Association of Alberta)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20120330_C9839_PHOTO_EN_11806.jpg
Image with caption: "Winners of Alberta's Next Top Accountant. L to R: In second place is Eeshwar Grewal, first place is Karla Gourdea, and third place is Dinara Yanbaeva. (CNW Group/Certified General Accountants Association of Alberta)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20120330_C9839_PHOTO_EN_11807.jpg
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