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Key Takeaways from Attending the NHBC

Hello! I'm Skylar, a grade 11 student at Sir John A. Macdonald Secondary School in Waterloo, Ontario. Today, I had the pleasure of attending the National High School Business Conference, in which I was able to listen to keynote speakers and present a brief pitch with two other members.

Here are some key takeaways that I've obtained:

Accounting is versatile and can be useful for any profession: I used to think that accounting is just used for business people to manage a bunch of numbers about incomes and expenses, but the fact that there are people who have the CPA certification and are also marketers and entrepreneurs was really interesting. This is because having a good sense of numbers and how they line up in certain situations is key for anything in not only the business world but in real life as well.

I didn't actually know what a CPA was until participating in this conference and knowing the real-world applications of the profession was really an eye-opener in terms of another pathway that I could potentially pursue.

Join clubs in university only because you are truly passionate about them: In high school, I wasn't sure of what I liked, so I decided to join a bunch of clubs to figure that out, eventually narrowing them down over the years to the few clubs that I'm interested in pursuing. However, there have been times, especially in grades 9 and 10, where I struggled to balance schoolwork and extracurricular involvements.

At the post-secondary panel, it was interesting to hear that the speakers had to turn down club leadership opportunities at their post-secondary institutions because they prioritized schoolwork before extracurricular involvement and only joined 1-3 clubs right off the bat that they actually enjoyed.

In addition, as someone who's getting decently good grades in high school, hearing their stories about how no one was going to help you in terms of getting work handed in and how their grades dropped significantly once they entered post-secondary scared me. However, I'm grateful that I was able to be informed in advance at the panel so that I wouldn't beat myself up for not performing as well as how I am currently performing in high school because it is common among other people too.

Always look through everything that is assigned in a project: In our case competition, although our team was able to analyze the travel/expense logs and figure out some suspicious activity in some of the culprits (e.g. dates not lining up), we didn't realize that there were also receipts that were included in the case until it was too late. As we were listening to the finalists present in the closing ceremony. The fact that our team failed to realize the presence of the receipts shows that you need to scan through everything that is provided and pay attention to the small details when working on a project.

In addition, it was fascinating to see how the winning team for the case competition considered the suspect's personalities and proposed some ideas in terms of preventing the problem from happening again, which we briefly thought of but didn't include in our presentation. This shows that cases need to be treated as real-life scenarios and not just a bunch of statistics and numbers for you to analyze.

Overall, I learned a lot from this conference and am looking forward to more conferences in the future!

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