Beyond the Books: Beta Alpha Psi Creates Out-of-Classroom Opportunities

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Tuesday, February 4, 2020
By Joyeeta Bhakta, Keddy Shen
Photo by iStock
Recent graduates from the University of Auckland share how their experiences serving as executive members of Beta Alpha Psi impacted and expanded on their business education.

Beta Alpha Psi (BAP) is the international honor organization for financial information students and professionals. BAP encourages the study of and practice of accountancy, finance, and information systems. In February 2019, BAP celebrated the organization’s 100th anniversary. More than 300,000 members from over 300 chapters have been initiated into the honor society since its formation.

Recent graduates Joyeeta Bhakta and Keddy Shen served on the student executive team of the University of Auckland’s BAP chapter. Bhakta served as administrative vice president, ensuring that the chapter ran smoothly and efficiently. Shen served as events vice president and supported the chapter’s event portfolio, including professional, social, and service activities.

Bhakta and Shen share how their involvement in BAP has shaped their current roles as business students, as well as how it will impact their future as business professionals.

1. Why did you choose to study business? If a specific concentration, why that particular area of business?

Bhakta: I was drawn to the business world because of its dynamic nature and breadth - it underpins every aspect of modern society and is constantly changing, disrupted by political landscapes, technology, innovation, the climate, consumer trends, and everything in between. I chose to study accounting because understanding and navigating financial figures also complements qualitative analysis and adds to my ability to analyze and understand the world. This ability to think on both a macro and micro level will be a valuable skill no matter what future career I pursue.

Shen: Accounting and economics were strong departments at my high school, and I did reasonably well in them. It made sense to continue my education at the business school. I chose accounting as my first major and selected a second major in computer science to pursue my passion for technology. Information systems made sense as a third major to tie the previous two together—intertwining business and technology.

2. How has your membership in Beta Alpha Psi enhanced your business education?

Shen: Generally, being around like-minded people has definitely had an impact on my success at the business school. There is a lot to learn outside of lectures that contributes to a successful education and preparation for your chosen career path. BAP has helped me navigate these aspects of a quality education.

Bhakta: BAP ensured that I had a well-rounded business education, supplementing my classes with skills that can really only be learned through practice. With the opportunity to meet and learn from like-minded peers, interact directly with professionals from the industry, and develop essential soft skills, the greatest thing I gained was confidence.

3. What is the most impactful experience you have had in Beta Alpha Psi so far?

Bhakta: I have really cherished the ability to use my own skill set to positively impact the Auckland chapter. When I first joined the student executive team as the communications officer, I used my design and marketing background to refresh our chapter's brand, which was received very positively by members and professional partners alike. Serving as the administrative vice president enabled me to use my detail-oriented mindset to evaluate how we do things and find ways to do them better.

Ultimately, both of these contributions have given me great joy because I know I have played my part in helping to make the chapter, and ultimately our mission, much more effective.

Shen: Being part of the student executive team has opened so many opportunities, like developing soft skills and leadership skills while simultaneously building a professional network, including BAP's professional partners and members, and organizing events behind the scenes, such as meetings with professional firms prior to the event, as well as running the event on the day .

4. What was a university course that you feel will have the biggest impact on your career?

Shen: My future career is in software development. Business Systems Analysis was probably the course most applicable to software development, but plenty of other courses will also be useful in this career path. Some of my favorite courses have been Law in a Business Environment, Discrete Structures in Mathematics and Computer Science, and Computational Science, because I found the content genuinely interesting; the latter two happen to also be the hardest courses I've taken.

Bhakta: One of the most impactful courses I have studied was Taxation. Although I don't intend to commence a career directly within tax, the course opened my eyes to how omnipresent tax is in all aspects of modern life. Whether in relation to private actors or state activity, I became fascinated by tax policy and how it can shape the future of a country's prosperity. This foundational knowledge, supplemented with work experience within tax, means that I am able to analyze private business and public decisions with another critical perspective.

5. What does attending an AACSB-accredited institution mean to you?

Bhakta: I am extremely grateful to attend an AACSB-accredited institution, as it means my qualifications reflect a high level of quality and learning and teaching excellence. Furthermore, no matter where I progress in the world with my career, I know the global recognition of a degree from an AACSB-accredited school will carry great value for me as a future professional.

Joyeeta Bhakta
Alumna, University of Auckland
Keddy Shen
Alumnus, University of Auckland
The views expressed by contributors to AACSB Insights do not represent an official position of AACSB, unless clearly stated.
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