There’s the one-on-one method of meeting new people, and then there’s the one-on-250,000 way. Ready to make some instant friends and business contacts?
Join up. On any campus, there’s a long list of groups you can take part in. These – as opposed to sitting in your room alone – are guaranteed to help you meet people in your field and who share your interests. Here are the top five to seek out in your college years...
Your campus’ accounting club
You can most likely join as a Freshman. No GPA requirements, no special qualifications, no reason not to be a part.
The honor society for accounting, finance and information systems. You need good grades and an invite to get in, but once you do, 300,000 worldwide members are now your instant colleagues. Plus, BAP is there to “encourage and give recognition to scholastic and professional excellence,” which means you could earn some honors to brag about before you even graduate.
Your state society
Joining as a student is most likely free, and gets you invited to local events, current information on developments in your area and even resources to help you prepare for the CPA Exam. Join your local chapter, if there is one, for even more pinpointed help.
The (ahem) AICPA
Yes, we’re recommending ourselves here. Why not? We’ve been serving the profession since 1887, and we continue evolving to stay ahead of changes in the field. We’re constantly using new tools and supporting new talent (like you) to make things better in the business. You can join as a Student Affiliate as early as your freshman year in college and start getting stuff like networking and training opportunities. (You’ll also be eligible to apply for a variety of AICPA scholarships.)
Look around. You may be part of a select bunch already, and there may be an organization for you.
You can also look for programs after school
Networking possibilities don’t end with graduation. Once you’ve gotten used to expanding your circle of acquaintances, you can keep it up throughout your career. Start with these:
Your local chamber of commerce
Get to know more people in the area’s business community, and sound 200% more official as soon as you sign up. “Hi, I’m so and so. I’m in the chamber of commerce.
A boon to anyone who loves – or hates – public speaking. Find them in your area, and they’ll help you flex (or improve) your presentation skills in no time.
Find yourself a friendly, community-minded group like Kiwanis, which puts volunteers like you to work “serving the children of the world,” and apparently raises more than $100 million a year doing it. Google around to find opportunities in your area, or try services like VolunteerMatch to find your fit.
Funny how people who went to the same school always seem to like gathering afterward and finding ways to help the institution grow. Ask around for ways you can meet fellow grads and talk shop, or just reminisce over professors and cafeteria food.
It’s a good time to be getting in, because the industry is growing quickly. See why.