A Texas-size learning experience for a top Penn State Abington student and a faculty member who attended a conference funded by a scholarship.
By: Regina Broscius
A top student will 'Remember The Alamo' — far more happily than the defeated Texas revolutionaries — after trip to San Antonio for a specialized accounting event.
Tom Stone, who weaves lean practices into discussions with his economics students, earned a scholarship for himself and a student to the Lean Accounting & Management Summit. After interviewing applicants, he chose senior accounting major Jamen Brewster, who shares his interest in lean accounting principles.
Brewster described the accounting method as an outgrowth of the lean business model, which is “all about cutting out the excess and finding better, more efficient ways of completing processes.”
As firms apply lean approaches, a growing number are implementing new accounting concepts to capture operations performance in the same context. Stone said lean practices surfaced in manufacturing in the mid-1950s with Toyota and eventually were adopted by makers such as Dell.
“The conference was a great opportunity for Jamen and me to learn more about the application of lean concepts to the current business environment,” Stone, lecturer in business and former executive in the healthcare technology sector, said. “Jamen realized many of the practices are used by her employer so she returned home very excited to apply it to her work.”
“I understand the different challenges they faced with implementing this new way of accounting, and the conference helped me think about choosing an industry when I graduate.”
—Jamen Brewster, senior
Southern hospitality appealed to Brewster, who hadn't been to San Antonio before, almost as much as absorbing the experiences of accounting professionals in various business sectors.
“I understand the different challenges they faced with implementing this new way of accounting, and it helped me think about choosing an industry when I graduate,” she said.
Abington senior Jamen Brewster's first visit to the Lone Star state included a stop at The Alamo battle site.
Credit: Penn State
Like a number of Abington students, Brewster works full time while carrying a full course load so she’s adopted the lean mindset in her personal life, too.
“At work, I work smarter not harder. This helps me maintain a schedule to make it to class in the evenings,” she said. “At home, I created a little Kanban station so I am prepared with all of the supplies I need to be able to do homework and still have a social life.”
Kanban is a system to visualize the amount of work, its status and execution, thus increasing efficiency.
As she prepares to graduate at the end of the semester, Brewster is grateful to "Mr. Stone, who is so generous with his knowledge of the real world and his sincere regard for student success.”
Bringing real world experience into the classroom
Tom Stone brings extensive academic and real world experience into Abington classrooms. He worked at the global tech company Siemens, a medical solutions group. He served as director of strategy, financial officer for global customer relationship management/international, and director of the Strategic Projects Office.
"Mr. Stone is so generous with his knowledge of the real world and his sincere regard for student success.” — Jamen Brewster
He earned his MBA from the Stern School of Business at New York University and a bachelor’s degree in political science from La Salle University. He later completed the Healthcare Compliance Certification coursework at Seton Hall School of Law.
Stone is earning his doctoral degree while teaching and mentoring Abington students. His dissertation focuses on evaluating the new financial metrics required to reflect productivity improvements as the software industry transitions to lean/agile practices. He said the San Antonio conference provided new insights for his dissertation.
“Academics and practitioners in the field provided a broader perspective on the topic,” Stone said.
Abington students don’t have to wait until senior year to meet Stone in the classroom — he teaches 100-level courses in economics as well as mid- and high-level courses in corporate and healthcare finance, and a capstone class for seniors.
As for Brewster and Stone, both said they will always "Remember (their visit to) The Alamo."
Penn State Abington, formerly the Ogontz campus, offers baccalaureate degrees in 18 majors at its suburban location just north of Philadelphia. Nearly half of our 4,000 students complete all four years at Abington, with opportunities in undergraduate research, the Schreyer honors program, NCAA Division III athletics, and more. The Lions Gate residence hall will open in August 2017.