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Op-Ed: Sigma Beta Delta is Good Choice for Students

Last summer I was truly honored to join the Board of Sigma Beta Delta (SBD), a collegiate student honor society that I have long admired. Now that I've attended my first board meeting, I'm more excited to be part of an organization that is dedicated to preparing students for the next phase of their lives.

Sullivan University has been a member of SBD since 2008, so I was well aware of the benefits students receive by becoming a member of an organization that has a laudable mission of recognizing scholarship and accomplishment while promoting aspirations toward personal and professional improvement.

Sigma Beta Delta was established to honor students who have attained superior records in business programs in schools and colleges with regional accreditation. Students with a 3.5 cumulative grand-point average (GPA) and who have displayed scholastic achievement, teamwork and leadership skills are encouraged to join.

Today's SBD students are extraordinary individuals, not only reaching a certain level of achievement at graduation but continuing that through their careers. For them to couple that achievement with a genuine passion to improve the lives of others sets them apart and I am honored to play a role in making that possible.

SBD members benefit through the various fellowship and other programs that can be critical for preparing students for when they are in front of an employer seeking a job. On campus, we bring in business leaders from different disciplines to speak to and meet with the students, which also helps prepare them for the business world and life after graduation.

One of the greatest benefits students and recent graduates receive through their SBD membership is the opportunity to join a network of successful, driven business people who can provide valuable advice, mentoring and networking.

I sometimes wonder if the millennial generation understands the value of  networking. I think many believe it as an outdated "old school" way to making connections, and that social media can fill that void.

Frankly, while social media is important to making connections, trading information and staying connected , there is still no replacement for personal interaction, meeting and getting to know people in the business world. It is through those relationships that students can find the successful and knowledgeable business people who can truly impact their careers and lives.

Other benefits of SBD include scholarships. Since 1994, SBD has donated more than $100,000 in Fellowship awards. The awards are typically $1,000 to $1,500, which as any college student and their parents can attest to, when tuition bills are due every little bit helps.

SBD is very vigilant about providing members with information that not only keeps them up with the organization and its members, but also helps them stay informed about the business world. Members receive a regular SBD newsletter as well as a subscription to Bloomberg Businessweek, one of the top and most popular business publications in the country.

And members can also learn about potential internships, which are so valuable as graduates begin their job searches, as well as opportunities to attend leadership academies.  

Through my years in the classroom and working with business students, I've tried to always implore to students to do all they can to prepare themselves for the best career opportunities they can find. Membership in Sigma Beta Delta is a high honor that is recognized by business people all over the country. I highly recommend it.

James Maxwell is a professor of business management at Sullivan University in Lexington and a member of the Sigma Beta Delta board of directors.