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Harbert College Beta Alpha Psi members regularly have the opportunity to meet, and be recruited by, some of the top firms in the accounting industry.
“Our professional partners – and they visit campuses all across the country – consistently compliment us as being a program that is well-structured and an easy place to recruit strong candidates who will thrive in the accounting profession. When we go to Beta Alpha Psi conferences, everyone looks for Auburn.”
The Harbert College is dedicated to providing a superior student experience with high-impact experiential opportunities that produce highly sought-after graduates and cultivates lifelong engagement.
Harbert College’s Beta Alpha Psi chapter, Epsilon Omicron, has again been recognized as one of the best among the more than 300 chapters worldwide. For the 10th-consecutive year – and 25th since its inception in 1978 – the School of Accountancy’s honor society has earned “Superior” status from the national organization.
“Superior chapters are over-achievers,” said Colby Lakas, Harbert College’s Beta Alpha Psi faculty advisor and School of Accountancy Director of Recruiting and Professional Development since 2012. “We’re not just meeting the bare minimum for existing as a Beta Alpha Psi chapter -- we go above and beyond.
“Our professional partners – and they visit campuses all across the country – consistently compliment us as being a program that is well-structured and an easy place to recruit strong candidates who will thrive in the accounting profession. When we go to Beta Alpha Psi conferences, everyone looks for Auburn. Our peers want to know what Auburn is doing, so we have really made a name for ourselves on the national platform. I have faculty advisors from across the country reach out to me and say, ‘Your chapter is an example. We want your thoughts on how to be successful.’”
How do they do it? Other than hosting eight professional meetings during each semester (facilitated by the organization’s sponsoring companies and firms), Auburn’s Beta Alpha Psi chapter is dedicated to a variety of service projects within the Auburn community and campus. For instance, Beta Alpha Psi has adopted a mile of U.S. Highway 280 in Auburn since the mid-1990s.
Beta Alpha Psi members are actively involved in a number of community service projects, including Adopt-A-Mile, tutoring opportunities, and Operation Christmas Child.
“Through Adopt-a-Mile, we go out to a part of U.S. Highway 280 for four Sundays every semester and pick up trash,” added Lakas, who earned her accounting undergraduate degree from the Harbert College in 2004 and Master of Accountancy in 2005. “That’s something I remember doing as a chapter member back in 2003. It’s a rite of passage for students and a fun way to get outside with your peers.”
Aside from Adopt-a-Mile, Auburn’s Beta Alpha Psi chapter offers several other service opportunities including: free Principles of Financial Accounting tutoring, hosting children’s activities at the annual School of Accountancy Alumni and Friends Tailgate, packing shoeboxes with toys/goods for underprivileged youth across the world for Operation Christmas Child, assisting with the School of Accountancy’s annual Tiger$ense Financial Literacy Fair, and volunteering to help with a variety of Harbert College career fairs.
“We prefer to align ourselves with service opportunities that advance the mission of Auburn University and Beta Alpha Psi,” Lakas added. “We are intentional about how we serve and prefer to have quality over quantity in terms of the number of projects we support.”
As peer accounting programs added honor societies, Dr. Wayne Alderman, longtime Harbert College accounting professor, visionary and Dean, helped charter Auburn’s chapter in 1978. “We needed a student organization and Dr. Alderman recognized that,” continued Lakas. “Other schools formed their own accounting clubs, but we chose to leverage a national office. There are tremendous resources and collaboration available from our headquarters outside of Raleigh, N.C. We’re thankful to be part of this larger organization that’s not just a home-grown club.”
How does being a part of this organization help an accounting student? Networking. Internships. Career development. It is a launching pad toward an accounting career.
Colby Lakas, BAP faculty advisor
Lakas noted that Beta Alpha Psi has always been an important vehicle for internships, regardless of the timeline. “When I was in college in the early 2000s, the recruiting process had a very different timeline and students wouldn’t even expect an internship offer until the fall semester of their senior year,” she said. “Students would get involved with Beta Alpha Psi as a junior and have that whole year to build relationships with the employers that are our professional partners.”
“Now, our recruiting process essentially concludes right after your junior year. While students should realize that Beta Alpha Psi is going to help forge relationships with potential employers, we encourage them to take a more global view of the professional development opportunities that Beta Alpha Psi has to offer.”
What happens to these graduates beyond their years at Auburn? Career success.
“We have 40 years’ worth of Beta Alpha Psi alumni,” Lakas added. “Most of our members went into public accounting to start. At our annual School of Accountancy awards banquet, I love to have our officers, the executive board – past and present – stand up. I look at the people who served as an officer when they were in college and now they are leaders of a large organization, often one of our professional partner firms.
“There’s something to be said about the kind of leadership training that BAP offers and the fact that, wherever that next step in their career is beyond their first job, our members are more informed and have greater exposure than the average graduate. This allows them to be intentional and strategic in their careers.”
Auburn’s Beta Alpha Psi chapter membership averages 130 members each year, Lakas said. To become a member of this prestigious honor society, students must carry a minimum GPA of 3.0 overall and in their major. For more information about membership, visit: http://auburnbap.com/bap-application/.