To become a member of the Beta Gamma Sigma business honor society, you have to have excellent grades in your coursework.
But while that gets you in the door, it’s what you do as a member of the prestigious group that helps define your contribution to society.
That was the takeaway from the first induction of Stevens students into Beta Gamma Sigma in late April, in which the first 55 members from the School of Business were honored for their accomplishments, but also urged to use their talents to improve the world around them.
“I’m looking here at gold. You are bright, you were not given anything — you earned it — and it’s something you can give back,” said Dr. Martin Markowitz, senior associate dean of Rutgers Business School, who led the induction ceremony. “You’re the best positioned to use your skills and motivation to work with students who just don’t have the same opportunities.”
Dr. Markowitz talked about the importance of working with younger students attending schools in cities to change their perspective and help them find a path to a fulfilling career they might not know exists.
“I’ve seen programs where they bring children to a campus once,” Dr. Markowitz said. “And everybody’s happy that day, but a week later, everyone’s forgotten about it. We need to work together to find students who are interested and willing to work, and then guide them, mentor them, tutor them, work with their teachers so they have an opportunity.”
Finding an opportunity, making a difference
The idea of using honor society membership to make a difference in the world was echoed by Dr. George Korfiatis, Stevens provost.
“Selection has to do with your grades … but in our minds, that’s only an indicator that you have the work ethic, diligence and stamina to go through a very rigorous curriculum and come through successfully,” Dr. Korfiatis said. “Your impact to society is what counts, much more so than your grades.”
Membership in Beta Gamma Sigma is the highest recognition a business student anywhere in the world can receive; the society counts Alan Greenspan, Warren Buffett and Carly Fiorina among its members.
Dr. Gregory Prastacos, dean of the School of Business, noted that the school’s accreditation by AACSB International paved the way for Stevens to start a chapter of Beta Gamma Sigma. In its quest to become accredited, Stevens added programs at the graduate and undergraduate levels, doubled its research-active faculty, and saw applications and enrollments soar.
“We're excited to create a forum that allows our most accomplished students to be part of a society that both celebrates achievement and demands top students use their talents to create lasting impact.”
Those increasing enrollment numbers are coming as the quality of accepted students continues to increase, with average GPA and SAT scores continuing to climb.
“You have achieved fantastic performance,” Dr. Prastacos said. “This is a very selective process, with only 55 students being inducted from the whole school.”
The next steps, said Brian Rothschild, Beta Gamma Sigma chapter advisor for Stevens, are to install student leaders to ensure the society has an active presence on the campus and in Hoboken, NJ, just across the river from New York City. The chapter already has created a LinkedIn profile as it searches for leaders.
“Dr. Markowitz’s talk was an important reminder of the emphasis Beta Gamma Sigma puts on having a strong societal impact that makes the world a better place — much like the mission of the School of Business itself,” said Rothschild, also the director of graduate management programs at Stevens. “We’re excited to create a forum that allows our most accomplished students to be a part of a society that both celebrates achievement and demands top students use their talents to create lasting impact.”