Search overlay

Search form




        Accountancy, Award

        Harbert College student organization advisor wins national award

        June 7, 2024 By Laura Schmitt

        All News


        Colby Lakas, director of recruiting & professional development in the School of Accountancy, has won the 2024 Outstanding Faculty Advisor award from Beta Alpha Psi (BAP), the international honor organization for financial information students and professionals. The award and $5,000 prize are sponsored by RSM LLP, an audit, tax, and management consulting firm.

        Colby Lakas headshot

        Colby Lakas, School of Accountancy director of recruiting and professional development

        Lakas is one of four recipients recognized for unparalleled dedication to and support of their chapters. An Auburn alumna, Lakas serves as BAP’s faculty advisor and coordinates all internship, recruiting, and professional development activities for accounting majors.

        Harbert Dean and School of Accountancy faculty member Jennifer Mueller-Phillips is pleased that Lakas is being recognized by her peers.

        “Colby is a true visionary, who is exceptionally committed to both student professional development and the accounting profession’s talent needs,” Mueller-Phillips said. “Her creativity, passion and energy for student engagement and success are unparalleled.”

        During her 11-year advising tenure, Lakas has worked closely with the seven-member BAP executive student team to implement programming that addresses the needs of the Auburn BAP students and the overall accounting profession.

        For example, in 2015, she helped launch the School of Accountancy’s Stars Banquet, a BAP-sponsored networking event and dinner held each semester for the top 10 percent of sophomores enrolled in the principles of financial accounting course. These pre-business students interact with junior and senior accounting majors and faculty and learn about opportunities in accounting.

        "As an alumna, it’s easy to pour your heart and soul into making this program even better than you found it."      - Colby Lakas

        “We have great students, and they make great ambassadors for this degree,” said Lakas. “This is our number one recruiting tool with 60 percent of the Stars Banquet attendees choosing to major in accounting.”

        The Auburn BAP chapter, which has consistently received a superior chapter/gold designation from the national organization for the quality of its programming, has about 200 student members every year.

        She also launched the RISE mentoring program, where junior and senior BAP members share insights and advice with first- and second-year students on topics like recruiting, internships, study habits, and etiquette. And she oversees BAP’s annual CPA Day outreach event for high school students on campus, allowing them to interact with BAP members and professionals and learn more about college and careers in the field.

        Other initiatives she has led such as Resu-Mania (speed dating-style resume reviews) and the semi-annual Meet the Firms career fair have focused on helping students secure internships and career opportunities.

        “My passion is talent acquisition,” said Lakas, who initially worked as an auditor before becoming a campus recruiter and campus recruiting manager at Deloitte in Atlanta earlier in her career. “That’s life-giving work for all involved. As an alumna, it’s easy to pour your heart and soul into making this program even better than you found it. (The late) Amy Murphy was a huge role model for me and shaped this mentality when I joined the faculty.”

        Lakas will receive the advising award at Beta Alpha Psi’s annual meeting on July 25-27 in Orlando, Florida—a meeting she regularly attends with her student leaders and where they share best practices with the other collegiate chapters.

        Ultimately, Lakas said, she’d like to see other campus chapters adopt some of the programs that Auburn has implemented.

        “We need more young people to see the versatility of an accounting degree,” Lakas said. “We need to showcase the nobility of this career path and the amazing people involved.”