Contact Us : 800.874.5346 | International: +1 352.375.0772
Contact Us : 800.874.5346 | International: +1 352.375.0772

Campus Rep Spotlight–Finding the “Fun” in “Functional”

Erika Ice preparing to graduate from Ashland University.

When Erika K. Ice, a senior at Ashland University (Ohio), first began searching for the right college to attend, she knew she wanted a small school. Ashland really stood out, she says, and instantly felt like home. It’s also been a fantastic place for her to get involved and grow her networking and entrepreneurial skills.

My favorite thing about [Ashland] has been the opportunities. Not only have I gotten to be a student representative for Gleim but I’ve held several positions, including treasurer for my sorority. I’ve helped pilot the IMA student ambassador program, I’ve been vice president of the student chapter of IMA, I’ve been to two student leadership conferences (one for my sorority and one for IMA), and I’ve experienced two different internships. Opportunities are out there, you just have to look for them!

The benefits of extracurricular accounting clubs and ambassadorships are many. Opportunities like those Erika describes are essential for character and skill building. They add great value to a resume, and they tell recruiters who the go-getters are.

Erika finished her BS in Business Administration in May 2019 and accepted a full-time position at the J.M. Smucker Company with their Accounting Shared Services team. She’s planning to continue her education by obtaining both her MBA and CMA. In her free time, Erika looks to creativity as an outlet for fun. She spends some of her time on creative writing, but her personal planner is everything, and she’s found a way to turn preparation into an engaging hobby.

I pretty much live in my planner, and decorating it makes my to do list more enjoyable.

Erika's planner, from the week of March 4, 2019.

Extracurricular activities and career prep don’t occupy all of her time, though. Erika has taken horseback riding lessons for 5-6 years, and is also the enthusiastic owner of a 4-year-old pitbull named Addison. Sometime soon, Erika hopes to take a month off from studies to go on a road trip around the United States. When asked about her interest in accounting, Erika says that it all started in high school.

Erika's dog and CPA study companion, Addison.

I took a basic accounting class […] and absolutely loved it! I would actually get excited when we got homework in the class. I had been planning on majoring in psychology but decided it wasn’t a good fit for me.

As a student at Ashland University, she’s enjoying accounting as much as ever!

My favorite aspect of the accounting program is definitely the professors. There are so many that are willing to go the extra mile to help you out and get you to where you want to be. One of my professors […] I email at least weekly with questions and ideas!

It was through one of her professors Erika first discovered the Gleim Campus Rep program.

I love getting involved on campus and when I told my professor I was thinking about becoming a student ambassador, she highly recommended Gleim. She said she had used a couple of different accounting study material companies but Gleim is the one that worked for her. Once I really started researching the products it was easy to see why!

Erika was surprised by how much fun she had as a Gleim Campus Rep, and loved that she was able to earn points toward her free review course for completing creative projects such as an unboxing video.

My favorite part of the program is the random point opportunities posted! For example, I got to film, edit, and upload an “unboxing” video for Gleim that was posted on their Facebook and LinkedIn. When I agreed to be a student ambassador, I never would have thought I would be making an unboxing video! But it was a lot of fun and just a really cool experience.

She’s now used Gleim to prepare for her upcoming exams:

Pretty much every other textbook I’ve seen is like your traditional college textbook, huge chunks of text and maybe a couple of pictures and graphs. Gleim formats their textbooks like an outline which makes it so much easier to read and to see connections between information. I wish all of my textbooks in college were formatted this way!

Erika is working toward earning her CMA, and is motivated to see it through, but admits that it can be tough at times.

The most challenging part of my CMA journey is definitely finding the motivation to study. I work 8-5 Monday through Thursday at an internship and once I get home I just want to relax and take it easy. The most rewarding part […] so far has been explaining to other people what the CMA is, especially to other accounting students! Obtaining the CMA while in school is doable, students often just don’t know that the opportunity is out there.

Erika standing with her professor (right) and the Dean of the College of Business (left), holding her CMA Scholarship (awarded by the IMA).

As most students discover, there are a number of ways to make the certification journey easier, and Erika shared a few tricks with us.

My favorite place to study is actually a cafe […] on Ashland’s campus. They have big booths where I can sit and spread out all of my stuff. They also have coffee and food in case I get hungry or need a quick pick-me-up! My best study tips would be find a good playlist to play while you study. I personally like to listen to classical versions of popular pop songs. The real versions of the songs are too distracting but just classical music will put me to sleep. I also like to use lots of Post-it notes, highlighters, and stickers while I study. It breaks up the text and let’s you get a little creative while you study!