When Ahmed Ahmed searched for a major to play to his strengths when he transferred to the College of Business. When he decided on accounting, he not only found the right career path but also a sense of community rooted in inclusivity and support.
“Originally, I was an engineering major, but I did not do so well. For a while I was undeclared, so I went back to my core strengths, which I remembered from high school was business,” said Ahmed, a senior accounting major from Khartoum, Sudan. “I realized I enjoyed working with debits and credits, and accounting combined my interests for math into a major.”
With a minor in law and business, Ahmed views accounting as a way to help organizations stay on top of ever-changing tax laws.
“As a tax accountant, I get to help my clients comply with the law and make sure they pay taxes, but also not overpay. I'm helping people in a way that is interesting to me and very dynamic, which keeps me on my toes,” he said.
The School of Accountancy also provided Ahmed with peers who encourage him to find new opportunities. He met Maluba Mudundulu, a graduate student pursuing her Master in Professional Accountancy (MPA), when she served as treasurer for the African Student Association.
“Maluba took me under her wing. She was also a Black accountant and she pushed me to apply for different internship opportunities and even served as a reference for me. To this day, I still ask her about advice in terms of different accounting classes,” he said.
Mudundulu recommended Ahmed look into the student chapter of the National Association for Black Accountants (NABA).
“Maluba told me about how she and Andee (Capell) helped start NABA at Nebraska. The national conference in the fall peaked my interest because I had never been to something specific to my degree with people of color,” he said.
Due to her own previous experience at the NABA conference, Mudundulu knew NABA offered value for students at her own university.
“I found the College of Business to be a very welcoming place but there aren't many Black accounting students. When Andee and I were at the conference, we were taken aback by the great atmosphere – the networking opportunities and just seeing a bunch of Black people in one place in a professional setting. It was amazing and so I thought if I felt this way that other accounting students could benefit from this, and so I told Ahmed about it too,” said Mudundulu, a Lincoln, Nebraska, native.
After Ahmed attended the national conference last fall, he knew he needed to help build that same sense of community through the student chapter of NABA at Nebraska.
“There are not many Black faces or minorities in my accounting classes, so it was refreshing to find an environment where I could see people who look like me or had a shared experience. I want to make sure students get that same experience where they see people who look like them and who are eventually going into the same profession,” he said.
With levels of racial tension peaking across the nation this year, Mudundulu noted how the School of Accountancy has been proactive in terms of inclusive efforts.
“It was nice that NABA wasn't a reaction to any event. The School of Accountancy was already putting in an effort and pushed for NABA’s creation because we saw a need even before there was civil unrest. That really made me know that the School of Accountancy was committed, and not just because of pressure or because it was the popular thing to do. We had already started putting in the work to form the chapter,” she said.
Now in its second year as a student chapter, NABA continues to grow at Nebraska as one of the college’s inclusive student organizations. Ahmed wants students to know that despite the name, the chapter is open to all business majors and people of different races as a professional development and networking opportunity.
“The name can be a little bit misleading, but we are open to all business majors. We're not just dealing with accounting. A lot of the information we learn translates to other majors as well. The only requirement we have is that a person is a business major. There are no requirements in terms of race or background,” he said.
As Ahmed finishes out his senior year, he plans to intern for KPMG this spring. After graduation next fall, he follows Mudundulu’s footsteps and starts the MPA program.
To learn more about the School of Accountancy, visit: https://business.unl.edu/accounting.
To find out more about the diverse and inclusive student organizations at the College of Business, visit: https://business.unl.edu/organizations.