Thomas Busche '21, accounting, is the 2020-2021 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 marked the 100th anniversary of the international chapter of BAP. When he graduates in May, Thomas plans to continue his education and pursue an MBA.
What makes USI and the Romain College of Business special to you?
What I love about USI is it's small enough that I can get to know all my professors and classmates, but large enough that it has presented great opportunities for me. The campus is beautiful and is close together which makes walking everywhere enjoyable. As for the Romain College, I appreciate the faculty and staff who do a fantastic job and take the time to get to know me and my fellow students. Being able to walk through the halls and greet past professors who haven't had me in class in two years yet still remember my name or details about me always brings a smile to my face.
What are some of your favorite classes at Romain College and why?
While the class intimidated me at first, Macroeconomics with Dr. Perry Burnett was one of my favorite classes because it not only challenged me to think in a new way, but also taught me to express those thoughts. Exploring the possible implications of financial decisions and human behavior fascinates me, and Dr. Burnett really dug into that and put his all in every single lecture. For much the same reason, I enjoyed my Elementary Statistics class with Professor Mary Ann Shifflet. Learning to look at a histogram or some other visualization and explain what it means and why it might look that way was a fun challenge in each JMP assignment and was a great mix of numbers and writing. Both classes were challenging, but enjoyable and rewarding in a special way.
Why did you choose your current major and minor?
I came into college thinking "something in business", but I wasn't really considering accounting. I job shadowed several different jobs, and an accounting friend told me that unlike other degrees, with an accounting degree I could do anything in business. That stuck in my mind, and after taking the two introductory accounting classes and hearing several times from various faculty in the Romain College that accounting was sort of the "gold standard" of business degrees, I decided to pursue it. I'm glad I did, and the fusion of numbers and people is what I love most about accounting.
What are some of your favorite spots on campus and why?
When the weather is nice, the BEC outdoor balconies are wonderful. I especially like sitting on the second floor one that looks out over Reflection Lake when the sun is setting over the trees and it's all quiet.
What advice do you have for incoming freshmen? What do you wish you had known?
Be friendly and get to know everyone, especially your professors. It will help you when you have a question and makes your college experience way more enjoyable.
Do you have a strategy for staying focused when the demands of school, work, etc. seem overwhelming?
Traditional calendars have never worked for me, so instead I make a to-do list, writing down every class I have on a single sheet and then listing under each class what is due in the next two weeks. I also write down my club, work, and social life commitments on this sheet and then I update/write a new one every weekend. Seeing everything coming up in each class all in one place helps me plan my week and checking things off helps me feel accomplished.
Who is your mentor?
Not to be cliche, but my parents. My mom is wise beyond her years and my dad has a level of diligence which I try to emulate. They both show the love of Christ to everyone they meet in their own way, and I hope to do the same and make a difference in the lives of the people that I encounter.
As BAP's president, what are some things you hope to achieve?
I hope to make it as easy as possible for younger students to learn and ask questions of upperclassmen and established professionals. It helped me a ton when I was in their shoes and I know it can be intimidating asking questions, especially when you're not even sure what to ask.
What made you decide to pursue being an officer of your organization? How has the experience been different than you expected?
Attending BAP events taught me so much, so when the chance to be an officer presented itself, I felt that helping carry on that opportunity for students to have BAP help them as it did me was important. I certainly never anticipated COVID and the challenges it has thrown at me and the club; however, the silver-lining is I also never anticipated how much the many students, faculty, staff and professionals would step up and help me keep the ship afloat during this pandemic. I am incredibly grateful to you all!
Tell us more about your student organization and why USI students should get involved with it!
BAP creates many opportunities to get students in front of professionals, learn from them and create lasting networking relationships. I've met so many people through simply attending the events, talking to speakers and asking questions. Through getting involved with BAP, I have a much better understanding of involvement and internship/job opportunities at USI, in the tri-state area and even around the US. It's built my confidence because it's built my understanding of the industry. BAP is not only a great resume builder, but also a great way to learn and grow as a person!
Where do you see yourself in five years?
I hope to find a company where hard-working collaboration, work-life balance and making a difference are as important to them as they are to me. I plan to get my MBA immediately after graduation and come ready to learn from the company that is a good fit. Outside of work, I hope to be able to help young people who were like me and are looking for direction in a career, and not to steer them towards accounting automatically, but to find what is best for them and be there if they have questions or just need someone to listen.
Published January 21, 2021