The BGS Blog

Your source for the latest news from Beta Gamma Sigma.

It’s not often that an organization turns 100. It’s quite an achievement – one that Beta Gamma Sigma is very proud to have reached. The Society’s Centennial Celebration provided a great opportunity for the honor society to look back on its first century – paying tribute to the Society’s origins and its many milestones along the way. But more importantly, it provided an even better opportunity to look forward.

What can Beta Gamma Sigma be in its second century? What should it be? What does the Society do well? What could it do better?

These are some tough, but very important, questions. Answering them presented quite the challenge to the BGS Board of Governors and Central Office staff. After much thought and deliberation, the answers became clear: it’s time for change.

It’s not often that an organization turns 100. It’s quite an achievement – one that Beta Gamma Sigma is very proud to have reached. The Society’s Centennial Celebration provided a great opportunity for the honor society to look back on its first century – paying tribute to the Society’s origins and its many milestones along the way. But more importantly, it provided an even better opportunity to look forward.

Now that the Centennial Celebration has come and gone, the time has arrived for Beta Gamma Sigma to plot its course for its second century and to embark on a new journey as “BGS 2.0.” As part of this new era of Beta Gamma Sigma, many changes are already underway, and many more are in the works for the near future.

From expanded programs and more member-focused communications to better connectivity between student and alumni BGS members, these developments seek to go a step beyond just recognizing those who have excelled in the study of business. BGS 2.0 hopes to meet its members where they are and provide much more value throughout their lifetime membership.

What does the Society hope to achieve with these changes? To make Beta Gamma Sigma a more dynamic and engaging organization – one that students will be more compelled to join, while at the same time provides even more value to its lifetime members.

There are a few paths BGS is taking to begin this change



Investing in Leadership

One of the steps at the foundation of BGS 2.0 is a revitalized mission statement. This new statement, which has been adjusted to include more of a focus on leadership, reads as such:

“The Mission of the International Honor Society Beta Gamma Sigma is to encourage and honor academic achievement in the study of business, to cultivate and celebrate leadership and professional excellence, to advance the values of the Society, and to serve its lifelong members.”

But what does this all mean for members?

For some time – arguably, since its founding – Beta Gamma Sigma has worked to develop business leaders. Certainly, with programs like the Student Leadership Forum and the Meet the Leaders of Business Speaker Series, as well as with efforts toward leadership in ethical business practices, BGS has made it known that this is one area that deserves the Society’s attention.

By adding “leadership” to the mission statement, BGS wants to send a clear message that leadership is not only a quality worthy of endorsement, but one that the Society has a vested interest in promoting and cultivating.

To accomplish this, the Society seeks to expand several of its existing programs, namely the Student Leadership Forum and the Meet the Leaders of Business speaker series, while also creating new offerings that will tap into the leadership potential of its lifetime members.



Campus Engagement

One of the most difficult facts that BGS officials had to come to terms with is that the value proposition of joining an honor society is not the same as it once was. Currently, many students are not aware of the benefits of joining the Society. In fact, even among those that actually become members, many are completely unaware of the Society’s existence prior to being invited.

While some business schools are quite dedicated to the Society and are active in promoting BGS around campus, for many students joining Beta Gamma Sigma has become a largely transactional arrangement. They take their certificates and keys and then move on. The Society’s engagement with that member starts and ends in the same moment.

More and more honor societies are now operating on college campuses, and as such, Beta Gamma Sigma is competing in an ever increasing field. The primary value once provided by BGS, the recognition of outstanding academic achievement, can now be presented to students in a variety of other ways.

Likewise, the propagation of social media and rise of sites like LinkedIn has made the networking component of Beta Gamma Sigma less attractive and essential to students.

Beta Gamma Sigma has, somewhat, become lost in the mix.

Further complicating the matter, BGS has only a finite amount of time and opportunity to bridge a deeper connection with its student members while they are on campus. Accepting lifetime membership in their junior or senior years, many students are focused on graduation and do not have the time or ability to connect deeply with BGS on campus.

This is something that the Society hopes to change.

In order to forge a stronger connection with its members from the get-go, while also creating a more visible presence for the Society within the business school, Beta Gamma Sigma seeks to re-imagine the experience it provides for students while they are still in school.

The Society will provide its collegiate chapters with additional resources, training and insight to create an entirely new experience for student members of Beta Gamma Sigma. Students will be provided with a variety of opportunities to take part in the organization, participate in activities and tap into their leadership skills. BGS will become more than just an honor, but a Society which they can be involved in and engage with from the moment they accept membership.

To make the shift in its operational model even more effective, and to reach and benefit even more outstanding students, Beta Gamma Sigma looks to begin inviting students earlier than in the past. This would enable undergraduate students to be able to join the Society as early as the last term of their sophomore year.

While these students will still have to meet the Society’s high standards of achievement, the opportunity to join earlier would provide a larger timeframe for those new members to learn about the Society, get involved with its programs or events on campus and, most importantly, be able to serve in leadership positions at their respective universities.



Mentoring the newest “Best in Business”

In March 2014, BGS counted 29 official alumni chapters as well as 15 existing or developing alumni networks around the world. Interest in alumni chapter membership continues to grow, and activities or events within such alumni chapters were in the hundreds during the past year alone

Some of these alumni chapters also try to connect with nearby collegiate chapters and co-host events or inform members that alumni activity exists. Still, this alumnicollegiate relationship is relatively minimal and alumni chapters and collegiate chapters remain separate entities.

Beta Gamma Sigma has designated this relationship as one of the most important areas for change within BGS 2.0 and looks to bridge new – and strengthen existing – connections between its collegiate and alumni chapters.

Beyond the membership rolls of the Society’s Alumni Network, Beta Gamma Sigma’s lifetime membership is full of highly talented and successful leaders in all areas and facets of business. Beta Gamma Sigma seeks to tap into this outstanding resource in the coming years, developing new opportunities and mechanisms to directly connect its newest members with its most established ones.

These mentoring opportunities, either through the alumni chapters or via individual members, will provide student members with points of contact within the business world. Whether seeking guidance with school or career choices, student members will be provided with the valuable assets of experience and knowledge.



Communications and the BGS Brand

Beyond all of these significant changes between members, chapters and the Society itself, BGS will also be communicating differently with its membership.

As it positions itself to become not just a point of recognition and an honor society for its members, but also a well-connected international and professional organization, Beta Gamma Sigma knows that it must also work to reach its members in a different fashion.

Over the next few months, members will begin noticing updated emails and publications, expanded efforts via social media and, perhaps most importantly, a brand-new website.

These tools are vital to BGS 2.0 and provide the framework for all of the other changes taking place. With better means of connecting and communicating, the Society hopes to keep members up-to-date with changes going forward, stay in tune with its hundreds of thousands of members around the globe, and serve as an efficient and reliable resource for all of its lifetime membership.

One big change is that we will be asking for your help with the rebranding of the Society in the next print issue of the BGS International Exchange.

With all the changes that are currently in the works with the Society, Beta Gamma Sigma has decided that it needs a new look that encapsulates not what BGS has been, but what it will be going forward. To achieve this new look, BGS launched a rebranding competition, sponsored by GEICO, which is open to all of its student members.

The finalists from that competition will be shared in an upcoming issue of this publication. Members will then have the opportunity to cast a vote for their favorite design. The Society looks forward to sharing these with you and receiving your feedback.

Between better student awareness, improved alumni-collegiate interactions, a rebranded image and much more, the Society is looking toward the future and making real steps to make Beta Gamma Sigma a more proactive and engaging organization.

These may be lofty goals, but with the continued support of lifetime members like you, there is little doubt that Beta Gamma Sigma can make its second century even better than the first.


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