by John Michael O'Leary
Braden Taylor ’19, accounting and finance, is feeling pretty good about how the summer break wrapped up. During the second week in August, Taylor and fellow USI's chapter of Beta Alpha Psi (BAP) officers took part in the society’s regional conference.
“We covered a lot,” says Taylor. “There were workshops on improving the clubs, a day of service devoted to promoting literacy, networking with other members and learning about changes coming to the organization. It was energizing for us.”
Their energy has already gone to work in the formulation of committees: marketing and advertising, community service and involvement, and travel and reporting—the last one performs tasks essential to the chapter’s perennial “superior” rating.
Perhaps the biggest news is that BAP has widened its scope beyond accounting to embrace finance and computer information systems. Which means the chapter has the potential to draw from a whole new pool of students—and will tailor educational events accordingly.
“We created a vice president of technology to complement CIS majors,” says Taylor. “We are improving our information systems with automated processes. And we launched a redesigned website shortly after returning from the conference. We want to avoid putting the president in overload mode. Sharing responsibility keeps the burden from falling on just one person. It lets members take ownership—and they can broaden their skills with real-world experience outside accounting.”
Chapter members have an added incentive to perform at their best this year. It is the centennial of Beta Alpha Psi—and Dr. Brian McGuire, professor of accounting and associate dean of the College is serving as BAP’s global president. As McGuire has stated, growth is a prime objective.
“Some chapters have 200 members or more,” says Taylor. “It would be awesome to get to that one day. I think we’re taking steps in the right direction.”
Conferences North and South
A week before Taylor and company traveled to Chicago, Brooke Kocher ’19, management, led USI’s student delegation at the Alpha Kappa Psi biannual convention in Dallas, Texas. As the “Professional Business Fraternity,” AKPsi numbers about 264,000 living members and 263 active chapters. Kocher is president of USI’s Theta Phi chapter.
“We’re not strictly business, membership is open to students in all majors,” says Kocher. “But our focus tends to be on the business side of getting professional advancement.”
The 2019 national conference (the next will happen in 2021) brought members from all over the globe to conduct the organization’s business and shape its future. It also allowed attendees to grow their professional knowledge and networks.
“Ours is a relatively small chapter, so it was helpful to hear what larger chapters do and get ideas,” says Kocher. “It was neat to see chapters from all over the world and to meet some of our brothers from overseas.” (Although the fraternity is co-ed, explains Kocher, members refer to one another as brothers—a tradition carried from the organization’s history as an all-male organization.)
“I noticed a strong connection with alumni at the convention,” says Mattie Ryder ’19, marketing. “Some have been active in the fraternity for 40-plus years. There are advantages to staying involved, including volunteer opportunities.”
“Growth is a goal for us,” says Kocher. “We’re restructuring our rush process this year to strengthen recruitment. And we’re conducting a resume review and a LinkedIn workshop—teaching fellow students how to set up and use their professional profile.”
“AKPsi is here to help students professionally prepare for a career once they’ve graduated.”
- President Brooke Kocher '19, management
About the logo (from AKPsi brand standards): “This design represents people reaching their unlimited potential, brotherhood, support, encouragement, progression, cooperation and growth towards one's goal in life.”
USI student representatives enjoy a moment of levity at the Alpha Kappa Psi Conference in Dallas, Texas. From left: Brooke Kocher ’19, management; Lauryn Thompson ’21, accounting; and Mattie Ryder ’19, marketing.