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Building a Global Network of the "Best in Business"
From the Spring 2015 edition of the BGS International Exchange
You’ve probably never met Ying Chen Ciou or Abdulla Khalid Al Naama, but if you’re reading this publication, there’s a pretty good chance you share something in common with them. They, just like you, are a lifetime member of Beta Gamma Sigma. They, just like you, have earned recognition as the “Best in Business.”
Separated by more than 4,000 miles (nearly 7,000 kilometers for those who prefer metric), these two students share even more in common. They are both finance majors. They were both born in 1991. They were both inducted in March 2015 as third-year students.
More than that, they were both among the first students ever inducted into Beta Gamma Sigma from their respective universities.
Ying was part of the inaugural class of inductees from Yuan Ze University in Taiwan and Abdulla was among those reciting the BGS ritual for the first time at Qatar University.
The installation of these two chapters, along with the induction of more than 200 deserving students into the Society, are just the latest milestones in Beta Gamma Sigma’s international journey. With more than 540 Collegiate Chapters established in 28 countries on six continents, BGS has firmly established itself as the largest and fastest-growing organization of its kind globally.
As BGS expands, so does its understanding of what a global presence means to the Society, its chapters and its members.
“BGS has always been extremely supportive of our chapterand our students,” said Michelle Leece, Brock University’s Accreditations and Quality Assurance Manager and BGS Chapter Advisor. “Without which, I don’t know where we’d be."
Yuan Ze University welcomed with open arms the establishment of its new BGS chapter. The school saw Beta Gamma Sigma not only as a valuable way to provide recognition to their top students, but also an opportunity to better connect them with the global business community.
“We believe that our students, as BGS members, can have benefits in the future when they want to join the student exchange program, to study abroad, or to find a job in other countries,” said Assistant Professor at Yuan Ze, Hua-Hung “Robin” Weng.
Beyond the advantages Beta Gamma Sigma provides tomembers, Weng also saw the value the Society could provide to the school.
“Our school has a three-year goal of Global Mobility, and we think participating in BGS can also help achieve part of that goal,” he said.
But this growth has not come without its own set of challenges and obstacles.Some of the challenges – like expanding the Society’s program and benefit offerings – have been fairly logistic. Other challenges, such as confusing the honor society with a social fraternity, have been more cultural in nature.
“We did have to learn about each culture though because I know business schools in different cultures did things differently,” explained George Stevens, a Kent State University professor and BGS President from 2008-2010. Stevens, who also works closely with four separate college accreditation firms, recalled a dean in Europe who, just before an induction ceremony began, announced there’d be no BGS pledge for students to recite.
At another international college, Stevens attempted to shake a female student’s hand but quickly realized, after she refused, that her culture didn’t allow male and female interaction in that manner.
Another chief cultural struggle that Stevens cited was a general lack of understanding of what, specifically, an honor society is. For example, in Europe, honor societies are a fairlynew concept, interpreted differently than in the States.
“We found that, whereas folks in the U.S. were quite familiar with honor societies and were accustomed to individual recognition, as well as taking an oath at induction, that wasnot the rule abroad,” he said.
To help bridge these cultural divides, Beta Gamma Sigma has adopted the use of “champions” – individuals who carry a deep understanding and appreciation of the Society’s value – to spread the word about BGS. These champions serve as a conduit for BGS, providing potential schools with valuable insight into what BGS is, and what the Society can offer the school and its students.
“I’d say that’s much more appealing than an email,” saidAmber Nicholson, Collegiate Relations Director for BetaGamma Sigma.But beyond benefits and programs, the greatest value that Beta Gamma Sigma can provide to its members and chapters is access to the Society’s global network of the “Best in Business.”
And, of course, the networking opportunities do not end with the on-campus experience. Mirroring the Society’s international growth of its Collegiate
Chapters, Beta Gamma Sigma has also been expanding the global footprint of its Alumni Chapters. The Society has established nine official Alumni Chapters outside the U.S. and has several more in the works.
Established in 2015, the Peru Alumni Chapter already boasts more than 400 members, representing roughly 35 percent of all BGS members residing in the country. Victor Torres, a founding member of the chapter, said strong participation in the Alumni Chapter allows for effective networking.
“Moreover, members are able to contact each other through our LinkedIn group, and share business articles, industry news, etc.,” he added.
In addition to the chapter’s LinkedIn group, members from Peru – or anywhere else, for that matter – can connect to the BGS group on LinkedIn. With 57,000 members, it’s a valuable resource to connect with members around the world.
One Brock University graduate and BGS member, Massine Bouzerar, has taken every opportunity to connect to fellow society colleagues.
“Representing the ‘Best in Business,’ BGS has given me accessto a network of individuals like no others,” he said. “WhenI look through my LinkedIn homepage, it’s not unusual forme to see updates about my fellow BGS’ers moving into impressive roles at Fortune 500 companies.
“No matter how intelligent you are, you’re only as good as your network – and accepting your BGS invitation allows you to grow your network both in terms of quantity and quality,” he added.
Associate Dean and BGS Advisor at Singapore Management University, Tom Estad, agreed that the organization offersserious networking capabilities.“You get to know others who are also doing well in school, aswell as alumni from your university, as well as alumni from other universities,” Estad said. “For me, it’s a privilege,” said Estad. “I get to interact with individuals who are truly remarkable in a variety of ways. AndI get to work with those who will play key parts in our world’s future.”
As BGS continues its ever-expanding global reach, its members will remain the key to the Society’s international success. The future is bright for Ying and Abdulla. Beta Gamma Sigma looks very much forward to supporting them, and all of its members, in their future success.