Graduate students across MSU Denver’s graduate programs are engaged in some fascinating research projects.

Graduate Studies' 3MT Fall 2023 flyerMSU Denver Graduate Studies hosted the preliminary round of their 2023-2024 3MT (3 Minute Talk) competition on November 30, 2023 and then the final round last week on Friday, February 9, 2024. With varying presentations from science, health, and education disciplines, we were thrilled to see one of our very own Master of Professional Accountancy (MPAcc) students represent the College of Business and present her accounting research project. 

“Possessing the ability and aptitude to successfully design and complete academic/applied research projects is an essential skill for the modern accounting professional.” – Dr. Andrew Holt, Full Professor


Back in November, Marni Horan was in the midst of her final term in the MPAcc program, ready to cross the finish line and start her full-time job at Armanino LLP in the new year. In the Fall ‘23 term, she was working on an accounting research assistantship with faculty advisor, Dr. Andrew Holt. The 3MT proved to be a wonderful way to put Marni’s communication skills to the test and showcase their research so far by synthesizing it into a 3-minute presentation with 1 slide for an audience of non-accountants.  

To best captivate this audience and make the research relatable, Marni dressed up at Bilbo Baggins and compared her journey to that in The Hobbit.  

mpacc alum - Marni Horan

I’m here to share with you my 3month journey talking to Smaug about his phenomenal treasure. And when I say Smaug, I mean 82 non-profit entities across 4 states. And when I say phenomenal treasure, I mean 2022’s gross receipts.” – Marni Horan, MPAcc ’23

Marni Horan presenting at MSU Denver's 3MT Competition - Preliminary Round

Marni placed first in her round of the preliminary competition! A couple weeks later, Marni crossed the stage as she completed her Master of Professional Accountancy degree. The month after graduation, she started her full-time role as an Associate I, Trust-Assurance at Armanino LLP. Then in February 2024, as a new MSU Denver MPAcc alum, she returned to campus as a recruiter for Armanino at the Spring ‘24 Meet the Firms event. Two days later, Marni was back on campus participating in the final round of MSU Denver’s 3MT competition. It has been a busy season! 

Marni Horan and Andrew Holt at 3MT 11-30-23
Marni and faculty advisor, Dr. Andrew Holt

In her final presentation round, Marni made some tweaks and focused on the delivery. She continued with the well-received Bilbo Baggins comparison and presented eloquently within the 3-minute time limit. The competition was fierce! While Marni did an excellent job, she unfortunately was not selected to move forward to the state-wide 3MT competition. Now Marni can focus on working with Dr. Andrew Holt on a presentation at the Small Business Institute (SBI) National Conference in April 2024, titled “Reviewing Financial, Governance, and Voluntary Accountability by U.S. Non-Profits: Mere Regulatory Compliance or the Embodiment of Excellence?”  

“It was a pleasure to collaborate with Marni Horan on a research project that investigated accountability and voluntary disclosures by U.S. nonprofit entities. Marni’s work demonstrates the research potential of MSU Denver’s MPAcc students, and the research skills she developed and enhanced during the project will prove beneficial to any employer throughout her career.” – Dr. Andrew Holt, Full Professor

Thank you Marni for representing our MSU Denver MPAcc community so well, and we can’t wait to hear about the SBI conference!