The University’s chapter of Beta Gamma Sigma (BGS), the International Business Honor Society, has been recognized as a highest honors chapter this month by its national organization.
BGS was established in 2000, shortly after the University received accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) for their business program in 1999.
Donald M. Moliver, Ph.D., Dean of the Leon Hess School of Business, recalled the moment when he received the news. “The way I was notified was [by] President [Grey] Dimenna,” explained Moliver. “He sent me an email because he was personally notified that our chapter has been recognized as a chapter of distinction and said if I hadn’t seen this I think you should know about it.”
Unlike some honors societies, Beta Gamma Sigma takes members on an invite-only basis. Students must be at least of sophomore standing and have a 3.8 GPA to receive an invitation to join. Only the top ten percent of business students are accepted as undergraduates; the eligibility for graduate students is a little more lenient, with them having to be in the top 20 percent of their class. Becoming a member is a lifelong commitment that stays with students long after they graduate.
The traditional induction ceremony is held on the night before spring commencement at the Hollywood Golf Club in Ocean, NJ. New student inductees, current student members, families, and University faculty gather around to celebrate the chapter’s accomplishments and listen to a guest speaker. Additionally, awards are distributed to both students and a faculty member who have shown exemplary work that year.
“It’s a bit of a high,” noted Moliver, when discussing the feelings experienced after induction. “The parents are proud; most of the inductees will graduate the next day, and it’s a good way to kick off commencement.”
However, because Beta Gamma Sigma only takes members by invitation, students are not always aware of what membership entails.
“When I initially got in, I didn’t even know how to get in, what it even was until I looked at the pamphlet,” commented Joseph Firetto, a graduate MBA student and President of the chapter. “Now, being on the other end of it [as a member], and going through the process, it definitely got clearer.”
Firetto commented on the expectations that a member faces when they join Beta Gamma Sigma. “Being in the organization sets you in a higher standard,” noted Firetto. “More is expected of you, especially from faculty, staff, and the board of trustees. The [University] is known for the business school, especially, and it has the accreditation.”
Celeste Leon, a senior accounting student and Relations Officer of BGS, built on Firetto’s take on the benefits of membership. “Students who want to be part of this society must have the dedication and determination needed to have high grades and have a vision of what they want to achieve,” explained Leon.
The student executive board of Beta Gamma Sigma is relatively new, with the first official student officers being elected during the fall semester of 2017. The board was created to help foster leadership and student engagement outside of the classroom.
“The formation of the Student Chapter Officers in fall 2017 has allowed us to run events and career-related workshops that served not just as the BGS inductees, but also the overall student body of the Leon Hess Business School,” commented Janeth Merkle, MBA, and Assistant Dean of the Business School and Vice President of the chapter.
Merkle believed that it is the high level of student engagement which set the University’s chapter apart from others, and helped give them the push that they needed to be receive this accomplishment. “Last year, the BGS student leaders reached out to small businesses around the area to collaborate in fundraising events,” explained Merkle. “I think those engagements had helped Monmouth University obtain one of the Highest Honor Chapters.”
Beta Gamma Sigma has a variety of programs that prepare students for life outside of the four-wall classrooms o which they have become accustomed to during their years at the University.
Student Enrichment & Engagement through Mentoring Activities (SEEMA), a professional mentoring program for members, allows students to collaborate with a professional mentor in their prospective career fields. Students benefit from this mentoring in multiple ways, from getting help with their resumes to internship placements. This program helps students foster a professional relationship with the potential for further networking.
“As an honors chapter, it is very easy to become a member, put it on your resume and never think about it again,” commented Joseph Fantozzi, a senior business administration student and Treasurer of the chapter. “The thing that makes BGS special is that we don’t stop there. Becoming a member is the first step into this whole world of opportunity for professional and personal development and growth.” explained Fantozzi.
Along with professional development, Beta Gamma Sigma has worked meticulously on programs that can pay it forward, both to the surrounding communities and the world. Recently, the chapter has created a financial literacy program to help high school students in the surrounding area. Starting with two districts, Beta Gamma Sigma now works with five urban school districts within the county, including Asbury Park, Point Pleasant, and Manasquan.
Barrie Bailey, Ph.D., Secretary of the chapter, believed that it is the level of student engagement that elevated the University’s chapter to a higher regard. “The number of students that actually accepted their personal invitations to join BGS and the addition of student officers who submerged themselves into significant engagement activities propelled our chapter to a new level of excellence,” she said.
“For the last several years, our chapter has been in the process of electing student chapter officers in order to become more engaged on campus and in the community” explained Bailey. “This became possible when BGS started allowing sophomores to be inducted into the society. Future plans include holding on-campus professional events and community service.”
Leon had some parting advice for students unsure about accepting an invitation to join BGS. “I advise these students to be willing to do what it takes to achieve your long-term goals and have the habits/priorities of a student leader,” suggested Leon. “This includes having good time management skills and always searching for more. There’s beauty and opportunity in the unknown.”