Written by: Aditi Nambiar; Editor-in-Chief
Founded in 1919, Beta Alpha Psi (BAP) is an international honor organization for accounting, finance, and management information system students and professionals with more than 300 chapters on university campuses across the nation, and more than 300,000 members who have been initiated since the organization’s establishment. Here at UWB, the BAP Mu Psi chapter was first established in 2009 by Professor Ron Tilden, and is currently led by an officer team of 15 board members and faculty advisor, Professor Orchideh Raisdanai.
Danice Montalla, BAP Vice President, says that BAP mostly focuses on “connecting professionals, different firms, and students together. So we host different professional events, we do quarterly events, recruiting, [and] networking.” Angeline Ndayikeza, President of BAP, said that the UWB chapter not only encourages students to strive for academic excellence but also “prepares students who very soon are going to start their career, [and gives them] the opportunity to network with professionals, and give back [through] participating in community service.” BAP events and activities are open to all students.
These weekly professional events often involve collaborating with both small site to large site firms, including government organizations and nonprofits. VP of Professionalism, McKayla Yang adds that students being able to connect with professionals “makes it easier for recruitment in the future. You’re seeing their faces over and over again, and so that creates that familiarity.”
BAP’s primary goal is to encourage students to optimize their understanding and practice of financial literacy (including in accounting, business analytics, and digital technology) through “fostering lifelong ethical, social, and public responsibilities”, as the official BAP website states. Here at UWB, the BAP chapter is also aiming to advance diversity and inclusion in the business world, starting with their own team. The current officer team is led by a majority of women who hope to pave the way for better representation in the professional world, and take pride in motivating, guiding, and inspiring their fellow peers to succeed through their contributions and work.
BAP also works to advance this initiative through their DEISphere program, which they first started virtually in August last year. The goal of starting this program was to start a diversity conference to gather students, faculty, and professionals together to discuss the importance of diversity and inclusion in the workplace and at schools. The organization’s mission is to start the conversation on these significant topics and create space for open dialogue and discussions through lived experiences.
To become a member or candidate of BAP, students must have the minimum GPA of 3.0 and be in good academic standing. Membership is open to any students who are pursuing business analytics, accounting, finance, or digital technology. Community service is one of BAP’s main pillars of involvement and factors of eligibility, with service hours being essential to garner to even join as a member of the chapter and society.
Candidates must complete 12 hours of professional work, 12 hours of community service, and eight hours of either/or to get to the minimum requirement of 32 hours of service work to become a member. “These hours show [students’] level of commitment” says Jasmyne Pham, BAP National Reporting Officer. Some of BAP’s past community service contributions include their work in local forests to reduce the invasion of blackberries, as well as community service at senior centers.
As for what an ideal BAP candidate would be for the officer team, they highlight the great work and dedication of a current BAP student, Maksim Poklonskii. McKayla Yang, VP of Professionalism states, “he is very fun, very outgoing, has a lot of energy, but I think mainly driven. He is driven and he motivates himself to develop professionally, so that’s definitely one of the big things that I can think of.” Lyra Cho, VP of Finance adds that an ideal BAP candidate would be “someone who is punctual, someone who is eager to learn, and someone who is motivated.”
As a member of BAP, students can have the opportunity to participate in campus and community service activities, such as assisting in the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program that they have. A significant benefit that BAP students gain through attending events is how they are able to practice their communication skills to develop and advance professional relations with such opportunities.
As for this volunteer program, BAP partners up with United Way and accounting students can register to provide free tax services to low-income families. Vice President of BAP, Danice Montalla states, “We have volunteers from our organization or just students in the business schools, and it’s just a really cool way to give back to the community, and at the same time, the students earn experience on how to prepare taxes, and they also get certification… which is really cool.” BAP’s VITA program is currently open on Tuesdays (10 a.m.- 12 p.m.) and Wednesdays (3:30-5:30 p.m.) for students and the public who are looking for tax-free services. BAP VITA volunteers contribute to about 20% of the returns in the United Way King and Snohomish County programs which averages over $2M in refunds.
Ivy Hsu, VP of Community Service, explains that the community service BAP does revolves around connecting with the community we have in the school and also around [the] Bothell area. She says, “One of the things recruiters mention is that they do value student’s volunteering experience because it shows how determined and giving they can be, because these are the [factors] they cannot just see from their resume or academic records. It’s a good way for students to present themselves other than just books… it’s always a great topic to talk with them about, and bring out their interest in you.”
This year, UWB’s BAP chapter has formalized its mentorship program by connecting with students through the UWB Business School’s Mentorship Edge program to help students “connect with the professionals individually, and [have] a deeper understanding and relationship with them”, as Hsu states. They already had great success with this program to help students advance their professional skills with over 80 mentors, and over 200 mentees having signed up for the program.
Through creating unique involvement and professional development opportunities, UWB’s Mu Psi BAP chapter has helped transform students’ academic and professional journeys – which the board members can definitely attest to based on their own personal experiences. BAP’s High School and Community College Outreach Officer, Leticia Hernandez, candidly shares, “It wasn’t until I [got] involved with Beta Alpha Psi [that] things really changed for my academic experience with school… it’s kind of like a big family to me… I know that if I have questions or concerns with something, I can reach out to any one of them and you know, there will be an answer because we’re all going through the same thing: having school completed but also trying to find a job.”
Uyen Nguyen, BAP Treasurer adds, “When I first transferred to UWB, I actually didn’t know anything about accounting, and then when I started to join BAP, I learned more about [the] accounting industry, and what’s their daily tasks and what kind of exams, or any process we need to do in order to become an accountant. I learned a lot.”
BAP President, Angeline Ndayikeza’s experience with the organization will definitely be a memorable one as she was a new transfer to UWB when the pandemic hit. She states, “I connected with Beta Alpha Psi, Mu Psi chapter in that year and would definitely say I was thankful for that because I learned so much. Because everything was virtual, I didn’t know anybody, I was lost, I was like what is going on, so having that small family to get to what kind of classes should I take? What do I need to do? It was easy to have that place to go to.”
As for McKayla Yang, VP of Professionalism, getting into the School of Business was a twist in her initially planned academic journey, as she first intended majoring in economics until she found her place in Beta Alpha Psi. “Getting to know everybody was so nice… everybody was just connecting on a personal level… It really opened my eyes to see there’s a lot of things I didn’t know in accounting and finance… I didn’t know that you could actually meet firms that way! Joining Beta Alpha Psi helped me connect and get to know a lot of people outside of Beta Alpha Psi as well.
One of BAP’s greatest achievements that they take pride in is achieving Superior Status–the highest status a BAP chapter can achieve–for their work as UWB’s Mu Psi chapter. President Angeline Ndayikeza explains that the Superior Status is “based on the activities we do during the year to reach our certain goals, and by that, our National Beta Alpha Psi [does] nominate [us] for reaching our goals. So, it is a big deal for us to reach that every year, and we have been doing it since the chapter was open.”
The team also looks forward to the Best Practices competition, where they highlight activities that they do to improve the UWB chapter, and also to inspire other chapters across the nation. They have previously won the Best Practices Award nine times and, last year, placed second against many chapters across the nation. They are currently preparing to submit another one, hoping to place first this year.
In addition to these significant accomplishments, BAP takes pride in their work as part of the large organization’s Giving Back in the Next 100 Initiative, where each chapter is challenged to maximize their contributions towards optimized community impact. In the past years, they have personally delivered school supplies to elementary schools and high schools, and also donated a thousand dollars to buy books for schools.