The students beat business schools in California, Hawaii and Nevada in a regional competition in March in order to qualify for the national round. They are all members of the Cal Poly Pomona chapter of Beta Alpha Psi, an honorary society for financial management and information students.
“During my time at Cal Poly Pomona, I’ve come to appreciate the benefits of a learn-by-doing education,” says Beta Alpha Psi President Gelton Morada. “I’m happy that our win will help show other universities and students how special we are.”
Beta Alpha Psi members will present in the Best Practices Competition sponsored by Deloitte. In their presentation they will show how their outreach to high school students broadened people’s perspectives of the accounting and financial services professions.
Throughout fall and winter quarters, club members taught the basic concepts of the financial market to Chino’s Don Lugo High School and Rosemead High School. Using candy as currency, students were given a bag of chocolate candy and asked to invest in one of four companies. For every good thing that happened to their company, their candy was upgraded to a king size candy bar. When something negatively affected their company, they were given hard candy.
While the students were having fun vying for the king size candy bar they were also learning about the nature of the stock market, cause and effect and the role financial information specialists play in the economy.
It was the type of presentation that Nicole Patino, who serves as Beta Alpha Psi membership director, wished she had received in high school.
“Accounting is almost never shown in a fun light – people think accountants just sit in a room by themselves all day,” Patino says. “There’s a part of accounting that requires a lot of interaction. It’s really a profession that a people person like me enjoys.”
Patino studied accounting almost by accident. When she enrolled at Cal Poly Pomona she had to declare a concentration within her business major so Patino selected her grandparents’ profession — accounting. Patino didn’t know at the time how much she would come to enjoy it.
Patino says students often approach Beta Alpha Psi members and tell them their presentation inspired them to consider accounting and finance careers.
“In school the mentality can be ‘pass this test, pass that test’ and it’s easy to forget about the long run,” Patino says. “I’m glad we can give information about different career options.”
The members of the winning team are: Kurihi Chargualaf, Dean Hsu, Gelton Morada, Nicole Patino and Tina Tien.
(Photo: Competition team members, Beta Alphi Psi members and their faculty advisor pose for a photo.)