17 December 2013

Beta Alpha Psi - The year that was in accounting, finance and information systems

My year as President of Beta Alpha Psi has been one of the most unique and fulfilling experiences I've had whist studying at the University of Sydney Business School. There have undoubtedly been the odd challenges and sleepless nights trying to juggle my Presidency alongside study, work and social commitments, but now as I reflect on the year that’s past, I am proud of everything the executive team has achieved. 2013 has been an exciting year for Beta Alpha Psi at the University of Sydney Business School, and we have accomplished a great deal.

The Sydney University (Lambda Omega) Chapter is one of only two in Australia, and this year I am thrilled to have witnessed a significant increase in our membership base, with only more rapid growth to come in the future. Although fraternity-style societies do not play a big role in the traditional Australian university culture, having been a part of Beta Alpha Psi has not only given me access to a global community of high-achieving students and professionals, but has also provided me with opportunities I never would have thought possible.

In addition to managing the strategic direction of the Chapter and overseeing budgeting and reporting processes, over the course of this year, my team and I worked directly with firms such as Ernst and Young, Bloomberg and the Commonwealth Bank to organise networking events for our members, held numerous technical workshops on campus (including SAP, negotiation skills and client interviewing workshops), and jointly hosted community service days with The Salvation Army. We also held our annual induction ceremony for members at the University of Sydney Business School MBA Campus in the CBD.

It was our privilege to host the Oceania Regional Conference in April. This was a three-day conference that brought together Beta Alpha Psi members and faculty advisers from the University of Sydney, UTS, the University of Auckland, Victoria University of Wellington and the University of Waikato. The Regional Conference gave members the opportunity to develop networks with neighbouring Chapters, share best practices and growth strategies and gain valuable insight into topical issues in accounting and finance through various sessions and workshops run by guest speakers.

In August, I represented the University of Sydney and our Beta Alpha Psi Chapter at the Annual Conference held at the Hyatt Regency, Orange County in Anaheim, California, along with three members of the executive team. The 2013 Annual Conference brought together over 1000 Beta Alpha Psi executives from all over the world for three days. Building on from the successes of the 2012 conference held in Baltimore, Maryland – which I also had the privilege of attending – this year’s theme was “Dreams of Tomorrow Becoming Reality Today”. My team and I attended concurrent sessions on varied topics from social enterprise to forensic accounting, participated in professional development and community service events hosted by major corporate sponsor KPMG, and listened to inspirational presentations from keynote speakers including Ralph De La Vega, CEO and President of AT&T Mobility and Clark Jones, Vice President of Finance at Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. We also had the privilege of presenting a session entitled “Surviving as a Small Chapter”, where we shared our unique successes as a chapter Down Under to an enthusiastic audience of our American colleagues. It was an amazing experience to be, once again, surrounded by so many other like-minded students as well as to witness first-hand the strength and prestige Beta Alpha Psi has in the accounting and finance industries on a global scale. One of our executives was also able to participate in the renowned Project Run With It competition. The opportunity to engage in a real-world consulting project in a team with students from other countries was unlike anything she had previously experienced.

On another note, I am excited to announce that this year we established a University of Sydney BAP Facebook page and that our new website is going to be launched early 2014. It’s amazing to see the response we have already received and how the Facebook page has improved our communication with existing and potential members, by providing them with a resource to deliver the most current event schedules and information on relevant topics on a regular basis. I look forward to further extending our online presence and engaging with more members, as this will play an important role in our quest for Gold Chapter Status, which is the highest status any Chapter can achieve.

This year has been one of the most rewarding and satisfying years of my academic career, and I am finding it hard to believe that my year as President is winding down to a close. As much as I find it difficult to leave the idyllic University lifestyle and such a fabulous organisation that has helped me to transition from student to professional in every way possible, I know that the Beta Alpha Psi Alumni community will keep me connected and involved for life. Through attending Beta Alpha Psi international conferences and regional events I've made so many lifelong connections and friendships, and the Beta Alpha Psi Connect online alumni portal will allow me to keep in touch with fellow members and alumni from around the world. It also provides access to webcasts, leadership information, information on local chapters’ activities and discussion forums. There is also a BAP Newsletter which is distributed quarterly and ensures members and alumni are aware of upcoming opportunities and the latest news.

I would highly recommend eligible students to get involved and take advantage of all the organisation has to offer.  In the coming months (March 2014) we will be holding elections for the new executive team and nominations will be distributed to existing members shortly. If you’re interested in joining Beta Alpha Psi please visit our Facebook page or our website or the Beta Alpha Psi University of Sydney Chapter website for instructions on eligibility and how to apply.

On behalf of the Beta Alpha Psi Lambda Omega Chapter, I would like to sincerely thank the University of Sydney Business School, our faculty advisor Pearl Rozenberg (Sub-Dean), and the Global Board of Directors for their ongoing support. I would also like to personally thank my executive team and our current members for their considerable commitment, enthusiasm and involvement in Beta Alpha Psi this year.

I hope that all of our valued members will continue to be involved in our organisation as it grows from strength to strength and we look forward to welcoming new members in the year going forward.

By Sumita Theagesan - President, Beta Alpha Psi, Lambda Omega Chapter, the University of Sydney Business School.

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