KALAMAZOO, Mich.—Western Michigan University accountancy students recently co-hosted the regional meeting for Beta Alpha Psi, an honor organization for financial information students and professionals. The regional meeting, which took place in Cincinnati, Ohio, included professional development opportunities and a best practices competition, sponsored by Deloitte, where WMU students placed first and third.
The best practices competition focused on "Inspiring Future Leaders to Leave a Legacy of Excellence," challenging students to present what they do in their Beta Alpha Psi chapters to promote lifelong ethical, social and public responsibility among members, how they broaden outreach and use technology to engage members, and successes they have had in service.
Students presented on a variety of current projects, highlighting best practices.
"Our students demonstrated an extraordinary work ethic, the utmost professionalism and grace under pressure as they competed and volunteered," says Dr. Cari Burke, WMU assistant professor of accountancy.
First place team
The first place team was composed of Jessica Chin, Shelby Christian, Max Fiebelkorn and Veronicaa Mehta. The students presented on how the WMU Beta Alpha Psi chapter has benefited members, as well as on- and off-campus communities, discussing three main ways the chapter impacts others, through:
- Expanding the chapter's tutoring program
- Maintaining longstanding relationships with community service organizations while also participating in new service opportunities
- Growing Beta Alpha Psi's marketing efforts for nontraditional students both on and off WMU's campus
"As they were announcing the results of the competition, we were beyond ecstatic," says Christian. "Prior to the regional meeting, we met on a weekly basis and visited the college's Communications Center several times to perfect both the flow our presentation and our PowerPoint. Were it not for the support of the Communications Center and the dedication of each of our team members, we would have never achieved such a feat."
This team will now present at Beta Alpha Psi's national meeting in Chicago, which will take place in August.
Third place team
The third place team was composed of Shannon Hill, Adrian Kunina, Likun Sun and Lori Terrell. The team presented the technology used in the chapter, highlighting:
- An updated website featuring easy sign-up for community service events and training workshops, including better payment options
- The Beta Alpha Psi class on WMU's Elearning platform, which allows members to stay up-to-date on progress with their membership requirements
- The Career Fair Plus app, which complements the chapter's Meet the Firms event; WMU students can use the app to locate desired employers and job postings.
"It was great to be rewarded for the hard work we put into the presentation," says Kunina. "Our third place finish allows us to get a written review of the strong points and areas for improvement in our presentation, which we will use to improve future presentations."
Co-hosting the regional meeting
In addition to the students on the presentation teams, WMU students Olivia Langdon, Angela Middaugh, Kevin Silitonga and Norman Weber co-hosted Beta Alpha Psi's regional meeting with students from Bradley University. Students from both universities assisted with event operations and learned valuable lessons on collaboration.
"We are so proud of our students' dedication to developing themselves beyond the classroom," says Dawn Mason, WMU faculty specialist in accountancy. "It was clear to see the pride they took in representing our school, our department and our Gamma Rho chapter of Beta Alpha Psi."
Participating in the meeting was a meaningful experience, according to WMU student and event volunteer Olivia Langdon.
"Being able to attend this event allowed me to expand my professional network with peers and potential employers. I was able to participate in group activities with Beta Alpha Psi members from different schools and make connections with them. We engaged in leadership activities and learned how to work and problem solve together. I also had the opportunity to listen to keynote speakers from professional firms as well as attend breakout sessions. It was a great experience," she says.
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