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any accounting students fondly
recall getting their starts in high
school chapters of the Future
Business Leaders of America organi-
zation. The nonprofit education associ-
ation, complete with more than
216,000 high school students, strives
to nurture the next generation of busi-
ness leaders through conferences,
seminars, and competitions.
While numerous Connecticut high
schools are currently involved in the
program, the presence of the collegiate
arm of the program (Phi Beta Lambda)
has been missing in the state.
Until now!
In December 2011, the Young
Business Leaders of Fairfield club at
Fairfield University became the first
official chapter of Future Business
Leaders of America Phi Beta Lambda
in the state.
Pretty impressive for a four-month-old,
student-run club.
Fairfield University junior Ross Riskin
founded the club in September 2011 to
give students a more well-rounded
view of the business environment and
post-college life as a professional.
"You have your accounting club, you
have your marketing club, you have
Beta Alpha Psi," Riskin said. "These are
all really focused groups, some with a
GPA ... I wanted a general group. We
have math and English people here
we want to broaden perspectives."
Riskin and his fellow student officers
have brought in speakers ranging from
CSCPA President Greg Lainas, who
spoke on networking and landing a job,
to CSCPA member and Ernst &
Young's Americas Vice Chair of
People Nancy Altobello and
President of AXA Equitable
Life insurance Company and
Chairman of AXA Advisors
Andrew McMahon
Once Riskin graduates (a year
early!), he'll spend the summer as
a tax intern at Ernst & Young in
Stamford before pursuing a
Master of Science in Taxation at
Bentley University next fall and
preparing for the CPA Exam.
The CPA credential he's "so excit-
ed" to earn may be in his blood;
his father, Robert Riskin, is a
sole practitioner (and CSCPA
member) in Orange.
"My dad always told me it's an
easy answer, why you want to be
a CPA you want to help people,"
said Riskin.
"It's not about the math," he continued,
admitting he's not really a math guy.
"It's two functions you learned in third
grade: addition and subtraction. But it's
so much more than that. I like to meet
different people and hear different peo-
ple's experiences."
Riskin plans to eventually start a finan-
cial consulting firm specializing in tax
consulting and investment portfolio
Between studies, the club, and
extracurricular activities ranging from
golf and tennis to a gig on Fairfield
University radio WVOF 88.5 FM, Riskin
finds time to serve as the school's
CSCPA Campus Representative. As
part of his responsibilities, Riskin gets
the word out about the CSCPA Student
Pledge program and the CPA profes-
sion, arranges for speaking engage-
ments for CSCPA volunteers and staff,
and holds CSCPA-sponsored charity
drives at his school.
"By joining [the CSCPA], you are show-
ing future employers that you have
determination, passion, and the desire
to be a part of something bigger than
yourself," Riskin told members of the
club, relating that the Society had been
a topic of conversations in his inter-
views at current employer Venman &
Co., Deloitte, Ernst & Young, UBS, and
General Electric.
"The network is key you have to do
that today," he added. "You have to
join the organization, you have to
meet people."
Fairfield University Club Named First
`Phi Beta Lambda' Chapter in Connecticut
By Caitlin Q. Bailey O'Neill, Assistant Editor
CSCPA President Greg Lainas (left) and Fairfield
University student Ross Riskin check out CSCPA's
Accounting Major's Guide to Connecticut CPA Firms.
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