CFOs and Financial Leadership

Calling all future CFO’s! High performing Accounting majors seeking high-impact learning experiences may be interested in taking CFOs and Financial Leadership, a course offered by the James Benjamin Department of Accounting. This course covers current financial topics that the world’s largest companies face. It is uniquely different from any other course at Mays because the course is taught by sitting CFOs of these companies! The opportunity to engage and network with individuals at this stage in their career sets it apart.

Come to our CFO informational to learn more about the course and meet one of the CFOs, Raja Akram.  See details below:

Date: Wednesday, 10/19

Time: 2:00 pm – 2:45 pm

Location: Master’s Lounge (Wehner 284).


This course is offered each spring in a minimester format during the second half of the spring semester starting after spring break. Class will meet in person and for a longer length of time each class meeting than a traditional course. Applications are accepted each Fall for the following Spring semester.

Watch this video to hear the experiences of students who have taken the course:

What to expect

Students who take the course should expect:

  • Small class size
  • Numerous case readings due weekly
  • Group project and presentations
  • High level of in-class participation
  • Business casual dress code

Because this course is taught in a minimester format, expect that this course will move at an intense pace.

Meet the CFOs

Raja Akram `95
Deputy Chief Financial Officer, Chief Accounting Officer, Controller
Morgan Stanley
New York, NY
2019 Recipient of the PPA Lifetime Achievement Award and James Benjamin Department of Accounting Advisory Council


Raja Akram recently joined Morgan Stanley in mid-2021 as Deputy Chief Financial Officer, Chief Accounting Officer, and Controller.  He was previously the Controller and Chief Accounting Officer (CAO) of Citigroup. As Controller and CAO, Raja was responsible for the integrity and accuracy of Citi’s financial books and records as well as the process by which reports are generated.  This includes corporate/regulatory reporting, booking model, balance sheet integrity and ensuring that franchise needs remain in focus. Raja joined Citi in 2006 and held a number of roles in Citi Finance including head of the Corporate Accounting Policy team supporting M&A activities, Brazil Country Financial Controller, Brazil Country Finance Officer, and Lead Finance Officer for Treasury & Trade Solutions (TTS).

Prior to joining Citi, Raja worked in the credit policy group at Fitch Ratings in New York as a Senior Director and head of accounting policy and research.  He started his career at KPMG LLP, where he also worked as a Senior Manager in the National Office, focusing on providing audit and advisory services to clients in the financial services industry.

Raja is fluent in Urdu and English with a working knowledge of Portuguese. He holds a Bachelor of Business Administration and a Master´s degree from Texas A&M University, and she was a member of PPA Group 4.  He is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) in Texas and California.

Devina Rankin `98
Executive VP and CFO
Waste Management
Houston, TX
2020 Recipient of the PPA Lifetime Achievement Award and James Benjamin Department of Accounting Advisory Council


Devina Rankin is the Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Waste Management (WM), a Fortune 250 environmental services company with ∼$15B in annual revenue and $22B in assets. As CFO, Devina is responsible for all aspects of accounting, financial planning, investor relations, cash and investment management, capital markets, tax, supply chain and core business M&A.  She also has executive responsibility for the company’s internal audit function.  Devina joined WM in 2002, and prior to being named CFO, she held key roles in accounting, where she specialized in SEC reporting and technical accounting, and was the company’s Assistant Treasurer and Treasurer.

As a CFO who grew up as a member of the Waste Management Finance team, Devina has been uniquely positioned to understand the opportunities available to better position and leverage the finance function.  During her first three years in the CFO role, she has prioritized building a Finance function that is an instrumental and insightful business partner to the rest of the organization. Together with the other members of the WM executive leadership team, she is instrumental to development of the company’s strategy to drive growth and maximize shareholder value and communication of that strategy to the investment community.

Devina started her career in public accounting at Arthur Andersen and Ernst & Young, where she provided professional services to public and privately held companies in various industries, including medical research, insurance, telecommunications and oil-field services.  Devina received both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in accounting from Texas A&M University, and she was a member of PPA Group 6. She is a Certified Public Accountant in Texas.

How to take this course

Students interested in taking this course must first apply to express interest. Depending on demand for the course, additional steps (such as an interview) may be required of interested students. See information about how to apply here.