2017 FLEAP – study international business and accounting FAR FAR away!

FLEAP is the term Robert Morris uses for study abroad – it stands for Faculty-Led Educational Abroad Program. In May 2017, 26 RMU students took part in this trip with me ~ exploring Japan and Taiwan for 14 days. Although I have been doing this program at my previous institution for many times, the first time at running it at RMU still gives me many gray hairs. Fortunately I received many help from KPMG, PwC, IFRS Foundation, and National Chung Hsing University to make this trip another success.

Running a trip like this is a lot of work – however, nothing can beat the sense of satisfaction and achievement when students wrote:

I am thankful for the many experiences we had in both countries and for the new friends I have made during the trip. We had various opportunities and meetings that normal tourists to Japan and Taiwan wouldn’t be able to experience. Both the educational visits and cultural excursions were interesting in different ways. I learned a lot about business cultures in different countries and how important culture is in the workplace. This will definitely be beneficial in my future career. 
From someone who had hardly even left Pittsburgh, to becoming a world traveler, I have learned many valuable lessons. I think my favorite, and the most important lesson that I learned is that being open-minded can change your life. I thought I was open-minded prior to the trip, but how could I have been when I had never been anywhere? This trip was exhausting, both mentally and physically, but now I have an understanding of how the world outside of the United States works, and that to me is invaluable. I would like to thank my professors who organized and chaperoned this trip. I don’t know how you did it, but you managed to keep all of us safe and sound while still having some fun.
It has been just an amazing trip.  These have been two of the best weeks of my life.  Dr’s. Peng and Lin did just a phenomenal job putting this trip together.  Certainly not something I could have done.  I will never forget these experiences, the friends I have made and the sights I have seen.  Trips like this really make you appreciate everything we have that so often we take for granted.  I hope that I become a better person because of this trip because I feel like it can certainly have that kind of impact.  

I enjoy traveling with these 26 juniors and seniors – they represent the best of the best in the RMU’s Accounting Program. Everyone was eager to learn, try, and explore everything around them. Sometimes I felt bad that I had to give them so many instructions telling them what to do and said so many “NOs”, but they all took it with smiles. Simply a wonderful group! This program was also supported by many folks at home – they cover our backs!

Here is the collection of student blogs: https://sites.google.com/view/fleapblogs/

I am a CISA!

Having taught IT skills in the accounting program for so many years made me wonder – I should really do what I preach. Given that I’ve been working with ISACA and many IT audit professionals I made up my mind of getting a CISA. What is it? CISA stands for Certified Information System Auditor. Here is a cool video about CISA:

Because I am an ISACA Academic Advocate, I got CISA review materials from them every year. Using the review manual and a collection of old CISA exams, plus two weeks time of non-stop studying after I submitted my fall semester final grades, here I am. Getting a score just enough to pass the exam (that’s what I called the effective study!)

Gold Medal! 2015 PICPA/IIA Pittsburgh Chapter Case Competition

Students from my AIS class formed a team and competed in the 2015 Case Competition organized by Pittsburgh Chapter of IIA (Institute of Internal Auditors) and PICPA (Pennsylvania Institute of CPAs). They WON THE FIRST PLACE in the case competition! Congratulations Amanda Choma, Danielle Silofau and Michael McCoy! The Case Competition is an interactive, educational, collaborative event that challenges students to work with their peers to analyze data, develop ideas, and communicate their findings. Students had to thoroughly analyze the case, construct a flowchart that explains the business process, identify weaknesses in the business scenario and proposes solutions and controls to address the problems. There are two rounds of competition: in the first round student teams submitted their report, and the teams with best reports were advanced to the second round – where the student teams were invited to do a live presentation in front of the panel of judges. In this year there were 19 undergraduate student teams  from University of Pittsburgh, Duquesne University, Chatham University and Robert Morris University registered for this competition. 8 of the 19 teams advanced to the second round and the RMU team won the first place and were awarded with $1,000 scholarship.

2014 IIA Scholarship

Would you like to pocket $2000 scholarship? Here is your chance. Read the following scholarship announcement. If you are interested, I am more than happy to help you prepare for the essay. My former students were pretty successful in getting this scholarship!!

2014 Scholarship Award Announcement

The Detroit Chapter IIA Scholarship Committee is pleased to announce an opportunity for three qualified candidates to receive a $2,000 award for 2014.

Candidates should possess the following qualifications:


  • Academic achievement of a minimum 3.0 GPA overall (transcripts required*)
  • Leadership in extra-curricular or volunteer activities
  • Actively enrolled in a college/university in pursuit of a degree (part- or full-time)
  • Any business major (undergraduate or graduate)
  • Winners must be present at the Tuesday, April 8, 2014 meeting of the Detroit IIA Chapter to accept the award
  • Winners must complete a W-9 Form prior to payment

Qualified candidates should prepare a three-page essay (double-spaced) on  the  following topic:

Internal Audit departments generally include professionals from varying backgrounds, skills and abilities. Describe how an internal audit department can most effectively carry out its objectives in this type of environment.

Students are encouraged to contact industry specialists for advice and counsel.

Please submit your qualifications and essay to the Committee at chapteradmin@detroitiia.org by Friday, March 28, 2014

Awards will be presented at the Detroit Chapter IIA Meeting on Tuesday, April 8, 2014 held at University of Michigan – Dearborn, Fairlane Center, Dearborn, MI.

Japanese TV Show

Our study abroad in Japan in 2013 was featured in one of the Japanese national TV shows – it was quite fun that the crew followed us to several business and cultural visits in Japan. In this 13-minute program you will see our visit to the temple, traditional Japanese shops, and Yamaha factory. Making wagashi probably will never be anybody’s future career but it is definitely fun! And it tastes….sweet!!


At the end of the fall 2013 semester, I made myself a movie director…well, maybe not a movie (yet), but it is a short video illustrating the importance of being organized and diligent when taking an online class in accounting. After teaching financial accounting class online for a few semesters, I found that some students are extremely successful – while others struggle a lot. This time, I decided to ask a successful student to share his experiences – hopefully students after him can learn a few tricks before they start – or at least know what they got themselves into!


Many thanks go to the OEL staff, the graduate student instructor Brad Mikus, and my start student Nicholas. The completed video is here:


Classroom turing into trading floor

In my BUS 421: accounting information systems class, I have a module that requires students studying business processes and building an accounting system. Since accounting is about record keeping for business transactions, I make students “trade” with each other. Everyone in class serves as both buyer and seller, and everyone needs to come up with an idea of products or services they want to sell (and buy). In the process, students learn how to keep the transaction documents (for a complete audit trail) and record the transaction in an AIS. This is a fun activity and I do this for both traditional or online section. I always enjoy seeing how students jump outside the (accounting) box and practice their marketing skills!

2013-09-30 16.26.35
Trading floor in classroom
Trading floor in the virtual world (for online section)

Guest from far far away

In October 2013, I was honored to welcome Professor Shu-Jou Lin to visit School of Management from National Taiwan Normal University. When I was in Taiwan this year with study abroad students, Professor Lin was one of the NTNU faculty members who gave us the warmest welcome on earth! They organized student buddy (which was a HUGE help for the group leader like myself), company visits, and classroom immersion experiences. Professor Lin is also well-known in her research field, and she is in Michigan for a research trip. Welcome Professor Lin!

Pictured with Dean Johnson and visiting scholar Prof. Lin
Pictured with Dean Johnson and visiting scholar Prof Lin

Sync class that is not constrained by distance

I coordinated a sync class focusing on a case discussion with MBA students from UM-Flint and National Taiwan Normal University (NTNU) in Taipei. With the input from my colleagues (both of them marketing professors at UM-Flint and NTNU) students thousand miles apart were able to contribute to a case discussion about Walmart’s marketing strategy in China. The new classroom with necessary IPTV equipment built by the School of Management had just finished construction and immediately was put to a good use. The quality of video and audio was amazing – you don’t really feel that people on the screen are actually 11 time zones away!

Read about the story published  by UM-Flint News here:

UM-Flint MBA Students Connect with Taiwan via Technology

The same story was also published by NTNU’s press office (in Chinese): http://pr.ntnu.edu.tw/news/index.php?mode=data&id=12541&fb_action_ids=400071200075983&fb_action_types=og.likes&fb_source=hovercard&fb_aggregation_id=246965925417366

A new page of life in Beijing

A former student of mine, Feben Teklemicael, who is a proud graduate of UM-Flint BBA-Accounting program, contacted me recently and shared her new adventure: master’s program in Tsinghua University, China. Feben went to China after she graduated from UM-Flint, got into a Chinese language program in Beijing, received a scholarship and started her master’s degree program in computer science. For her, it’s definitely an adventure. We wish you all the best, Feben!