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Work vs. home photo

February 2009

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Business administration team strikes best balance

Two St. Norbert College professors and a recent graduate collaborated on a paper that earned Best Paper Award at the Business Economics Institute and Global Business Development Institute in Las Vegas. The conference drew academics from all over the world.

Matt Stollak (Business Administration), Amy Vandenberg (Business Administration) and Mara Resch ’08, an accounting graduate, worked together on “Does it Balance? Exploring Family and Careers in Accounting (PDF).”

The trio’s submission was one of only 10 to receive a Best Paper Award out of 76 submissions. They each took a part in presenting the paper at the conference.

For Resch, now employed as an accountant by Wipfli LLP in Wausau, Wis., it meant taking three days off of work to attend the conference after being on the job for just five months. But her employers, who rank among the largest accounting and business consulting firms in the U.S., felt it was important she make the trip. Little did Resch know the award was waiting.

“This research has made me aware of real-life issues that are apparent in the industry in which I work.” says Resch. “I have found it very valuable to be made aware of these issues as I transition into the workforce.

“It was truly a memorable experience. I want to thank my professors for all their hard work, support, and for giving me the opportunity to participate in St. Norbert’s independent research program last year. I also want to thank Wipfli LLP, for allowing me to take time off to participate in this experience.”

Both Stollak and Vandenberg said the paper attracted a fair amount of discussion at the conference because it’s a hot topic in today’s accounting world.

“Whether you’re single or married, male or female, at some point you have to deal with family issues. There are a number of females going into the accounting profession, but many are leaving after two years because of the stress and anxiety of balancing work and family life. Men handle things differently,” says Vandenberg.

Stollak said he hopes this leads to more faculty/student research collaborations in the business department.

“It’s a great opportunity that St. Norbert College offers its students. In Mara’s case, she graduated in the spring of 2008 and was working full-time, but we still made sure we found the funds so she could attend the conference. I would encourage other students to look into faculty/staff collaborations. I enjoy seeing that type of success,” he says.

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