“Business of Baseball” was the title of a presentation made by the Philadelphia Phillies CFO and West Chester University graduate, John Nickolas, to over 25 students from WCU’s Beta Alpha Psi and Accounting Society organizations earlier this month.
Nickolas took students through the unique accounting applications for major league baseball franchises and the business side of player contracts, which brought home the point that all businesses need accounting to make them work.
Furthermore, Nickolas not only briefed the members with the ins and outs of his job, but he shared his favorite moment; in fact, this moment wasn’t anything less than memorable. After the Phillies’ success in winning the 2008 World Series, Nickolas was granted the opportunity to participate in the parade. He was riding with Philadelphia’s Mayor Nutter who was holding the trophy. The mayor asked Nickolas to hold the trophy and ultimately raise it.
“When the mayor tells you to do something, you do it,” Nickolas said. Nickolas raised the trophy. It just so happened that at the moment he raised the trophy, the parade was passing the exact spot where his son was watching, who snapped a noteworthy picture that will be a life-long keepsake.
The opportunity to tour the park was made possible through the sponsorship of KPMG, the Phillies’ auditor and one of the largest accounting firms in the world. Also joining the group was Drexel University’s Beta Alpha Psi chapter.
The essence of the event was to fulfill the purpose of WCU’s Accounting Society, which is to help prepare accounting students for upcoming internships and post-college employment.
“I have developed a comfort level with KPMG that I would have not had without the frequent contact. I feel as though the entire trip was well beyond anything I could have expected,” member, David Hansell said.
Accounting majors should be aware of all the opportunities they have available and customize their interests to those opportunities. What better way to give students this opportunity than to visit a landmark that was built in the last decade? Whether it is the t-shirts seen on campus, celebrations heard after the World Series, or frequent Facebook status updates, West Chester students are all familiar with Phillies’ pride. The organizations found a common love for America’s favorite pastime and showed students how accounting is incorporated.
Additionally, while the event required nothing beyond enjoying the tour and the opportunity of networking, the organizations went above and beyond. As a group, they incorporated fundraising into the event.
Both organizations researched foundations sponsored by the Phillies’ players and chose one relevant to its members. Hamel’s Foundation was created in 2008 by Cole Hamels, a Philadelphia Phillies pitcher, and his wife, Heidi, former West Chester residents.
The mission of the foundation is to create more educational opportunities for Philadelphia and Malawi inner-city children.
Through good faith, willing participants, and proper planning, both organizations proposed a goal of raising $1,000. After numerous pretzel sales and generous donations from both students and accounting professors, the organizations presented a Hamel’s Foundation representative with a check for $1,000 at the Nov. 10 event.
The opportunity of the Phillies field trip generated interest in both organizations and provided members with a worthwhile experience.
The trip can best be summarized by member, Michelle Westervelt, who said, “It gave us the opportunity to look at accounting from a different perspective, but it was also awesome to see Citizens Bank Park behind the scenes.”
This event is just one of many events Accounting Society and Beta Alpha Psi wishes to participate in to show West Chester accounting students just how interesting accounting can be.
The Accounting Society would like to give a special thanks to the partners and staff of KPMG for coming out and supporting Drexel and West Chester.
Lindsey Herr is a student at West Chester University. She can be reached at LH673521@wcupa.edu.