In late March, Youngstown State University’s Beta Alpha Psi team earned a first place finish at the BAP Midwest Region competition in Indianapolis, which featured 38 different colleges.
However, the workings of YSU’s award — which came in the Best Practices category that included 13 colleges — began in the fall of 2013.
A professor from the American University of Sharjah, located in the United Arab Emirates, visited YSU’s campus last fall at the invitation of a faculty member and stayed for two weeks.
“He attended some of our Beta Alpha Psi student meetings and was interested in trying to start a BAP chapter at his university,” said Ray Shaffer, faculty adviser and director of the Lariccia School of Accounting and Finance at YSU’s Williamson College of Business Administration. “So since the topic of one of our categories was collaboration, we thought that was a natural fit.”
In turn, the YSU BAP team — represented at the Regional meeting by accounting students Steven Wright, Andrew Pizzulo, Mike McKinney and Christopher Trucksis —began working with the AUS professor and students to create their own BAP chapter.
Beta Alpha Psi is a professional organization for students majoring in accounting, finance, and information systems.
While the process is still ongoing, YSU’s project and presentation of helping develop a BAP chapter for AUS resulted in a first place award.
“They summarized what they’ve been doing and what they plan to do,” Shaffer said. “It turned out very well.”
This marked the first time in the past two years that YSU’s BAP team earned first place at Regional competition. It finished in second place at previous competitions, but overall, YSU has placed either first or second for the past seven years.
Pizullo called it a great experience.
“We really learned a lot,” he said. “It really helped each of our teammates with public speaking and it was a great opportunity for us to experience with professionals as well as our peers.”
Pizullo added that the team put in approximately 70 hours of preparation for the meeting. The prep time included gathering information, contacting AUS and putting together the presentation.
“We practiced our presentation numerous times in front of our Beta Alpha Psi members so they could critique us and give us advice,” Pizullo said. “Things like what we’re doing wrong and how our PowerPoint can be fixed. So it took a lot of dedication to get everything right.”
Shaffer said the team experienced a few problems throughout the process of helping AUS create a BAP chapter petition. The hurdles involved communication, meeting times and technical difficulties.
“The time difference was a challenge in itself,” he said. “Plus they’re on a different academic calendar than we are — not extremely different, but they’re different by two or three weeks.”
Still, Shaffer said he is proud of the way his team handled the challenges.
“We even recorded some of our meetings and then posted them on YouTube so their students could observe us and how we conduct ourselves,” he said.
With the award, the YSU squad qualified for the BAP National Conference, which takes place in Atlanta in August.
“We’re super excited and hope we can bring first place back to YSU,” Pizzulo said. “As far as getting out and presenting our project, it reflects back not just on our team, but it puts YSU on the map for future leadership opportunities.”