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Braden Taylor '19, accounting and finance, is the 2019-2020 president of Beta Alpha Psi (BAP). BAP is the international honor society for accounting, finance and information systems students attending universities accredited by the AACSB. 2019 also marks the 100th anniversary of the international chapter of BAPWhen he graduates in December, Braden plans to continue his education and pursue an MBA at USI.

Braden on BEC balcony

What makes USI and the Romain College of Business special to you?
I appreciate the fact that USI is a very tailored and small school. I’ve really gotten to know the professors and my classmates very well which one may not be able to do at larger schools. Romain College has a smaller, collaborative and tailored approach to learning about accounting and finance. Everyone is great and helpful.

What are some of your favorite classes at Romain College and why?
While it may have been one of the more difficult classes, probably the most rewarding has been Entrepreneurial Finance, taught by Dr. Khaled Elkhal. We created our own business plan in that class, and it’s something I hope I can act on. It was probably the largest project I’ve worked on to date. Taking class projects and turning them into real world scenarios is one of my favorite things about school. I’m in a marketing class now, and it’s similar except we are taking a ‘marketing approach’ instead of a ‘finance approach.’ Another course I enjoyed was Principals of Investing, because we did simulations with the stock market that introduced me to futures contracts as well as options among other things. If I had to choose an accounting class, it would probably be Intermediate Accounting where I really learned about financial statements which I really enjoy analyzing and creating. 

Why did you choose your current majors?
I wanted to learn everything there is about business and essentially how money works. I saw that many CFOs and CEOs had their MBAs as well as CPAs and that’s what I want to be some day. Also, learning about the stock market was a big goal for me. I had thought about being a financial advisor, but it seems to be more geared towards sales and works with lower risk, lower reward.

What has surprised you about college?
How free scheduling is! At my high school we didn’t have block scheduling; it was all-day every-day with no break. The social aspect is similar, but people are more mature, and there are more student organizations to get involved in.

What do you wish you had known as an incoming freshman?
More about all the clubs and organizations. USI does a good job with the student involvement fair and career fairs. I think it’s necessary to be involved in something as it can be really rewarding and opens doors to possibilities that one would never know about had they not joined. USI also has a lot of great fraternities, sororities, and honor societies.

What attributes make a student successful in college?
Grit. You don’t have to be the best at a subject or a perfect student, but you have to stick with it and not give up. Be well rounded and find the right balance for you between coursework and being involved in school without being overloaded. If you spend all your time studying, you miss out on a whole other part of the college experience. Be organized, don’t miss deadlines, study as much as you need to, participate and be engaged in class, and do your share when you are part of a group project.

How do you stay focused when the demands of school, work, etc. seem overwhelming?
Take a step back and take a breather. If you are at a point where it’s too much, you’re probably doing too much. Figure out a balance. I have to respect myself and my home life. I don’t want a job that’s demanding beyond where it needs to be. Set reminders in your calendar, get hobbies that aren’t work focused, try intramural sports, and go to social events.

Who is your mentor?
My grandpa has always helped me out a lot. He owned his own business, so I call him up and we talk business and I ask his advice every now and then. He’s always been there to help me. I also work with a guy at LA+D named John Manning and he has helped exponentially in increasing my knowledge on how a business should operate in every way, shape, and form.

Are there any hidden gems at USI that you think more people should know about?
The student organizations, offices like DOSO, and the administrative staff are always something that students should utilize. CinemaUSI also has some good movies that they show every week. Intramurals are always fun! Tutoring is available and it can help tremendously. There are hidden gems everywhere, you just have to look for them.

As BAP’s president, what are some things you hope to achieve?
I want BAP to be known as more than a resume builder. This is BAP’s 100th year, and I’d really like to make sure it’s set on the right track moving forward. We’re starting committees, so it will be nice to delegate some of the responsibilities and it’ll help more members get involved. We’d like our speakers to present more about skills, such as using Tableau or Quickbooks, and line up industry tours. I’d like to get more CIS and finance majors involved in BAP. We’re also reaching out to a broader area of firms, like the Indianapolis and St. Louis regions.   

What made you decide to pursue being an officer of BAP?
My involvement did start out to be kind of a resume builder, but it has evolved into something so much more rewarding. Once you are in position you really respect what you are part of and understand what the job is all about. It’s my job to see that we uphold our standards and to see things through.    

Tell us more about BAP and why USI students should get involved with it!
It’s a great networking opportunity. I’ve met a lot of people and made a lot of connections from reaching out to get speakers for our meetings, sticking around after meetings and getting business cards, and attending BAP events. BAP creates many opportunities to get students in front of professionals and create lifelong networking relationships. It really does help to know people, not only professionals but fellow students who may be your future co-workers. BAP is about friendship and fellowship, everyone is very involved in this organization. 

Where do you see yourself in ten years?
I hope to be an entrepreneur and do something involved with buying and selling houses. I’d also like to come back to USI and see where BAP is, see if I can get involved and spend time giving back to organizations that have given to me. Maybe I’ll pursue a doctorate and come back and teach.

Published September 13, 2019