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Friday, July 05, 2013 - Business honor society paves pathway to success

For 25 years, top students in Oakland University’s School of Business have been part of an exclusive club.

Beta Gamma Sigma is an international honor society for business students and scholars and the highest honor a business student can receive. The Oakland University chapter celebrates its silver anniversary this year coinciding with Beta Gamma Sigma’s 100th year as an honor society. The organization, founded in 1913, serves business programs accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) International.

Beta Gamma Sigma, which encourages and honors academic achievements in the study of business and fosters professional excellence among its members, inducted its newest Oakland University members in April. Chosen by faculty members, students are invited into the society and recognized for their business acumen.

To be eligible, students must be in the top 7 percent of the junior class, top 10 percent of the senior class, top 20 percent of the graduating master's class, or have completed all requirements to receive a doctoral degree.

“Only the best students at AACSB-accredited schools of business are invited to join, so it’s an acknowledgment of their hard work and effort,” says Seth Treptow, communications director for Beta Gamma Sigma. “It is also a signal to others that they are one of the best students at one of the world’s best business schools.”

The 2013 class will be in prestigious company. Worldwide membership to the society is comprised of more than 700,000 business professionals residing in all 50 U.S. states and 160 countries. More than 1,100 Oakland University School of Business Administration graduates are included among this elite group.

One of them is Chris Valmassoi, Finance ’09, of Royal Oak, Mich., who graduated with two minors -- one in economics and another in international management. He is a senior treasury analyst at La-Z-Boy Inc. in Monroe, Mich., where he has worked for nearly three years.

Opening doors

He credits his induction into Beta Gamma Sigma in his junior year at Oakland University as a pivotal point in his college experience.

“Beta Gamma Sigma really helped launch me into the business world,” Valmassoi says. “Shortly after the induction ceremony at Meadow Brook Hall, I was invited to different events at Oakland that varied from dinners to special speakers and so on. It is safe to say it opened doors that no other recognition could, and I am very thankful for that.”

These and other opportunities helped build momentum and bolster his business acumen.

He soon found himself running committees and accepting leadership roles. He was chairman of the SBA Dean’s Board, an exploratory committee that led to his role as head of the SBA’s first Scholars program. He also served as vice president of the Economics Student Association and helped with the Alice Gorlin Memorial Lectures, hosting discussions on the topics presented. Even the Beta Gamma Sigma national office invited him to take part in a focus group to identify ways to improve the honor society experience.

Building credentials

He began rubbing elbows with a lot of the business school faculty, including Dr. Addington Coppin, chair, Department of Economics and long-time faculty advisor to the Economics Student Association. Coppin also taught Valmassoi’s international finance class.

The Beta Gamma Sigma designation provides students with exposure to research experts who help them build credentials. This exposure combined with the experience they gain through the business school’s curricular, co-curricular and extra-curricular programs provides them with knowledgeable and respected references.

“He was one of the best students,” Coppin says. “Chris has drive and leadership ability. I expect that he will continue to excel in all he does.”

Dr. Mark Isken, associate professor, Department of Decision and Information Sciences, agrees. “Chris was a terrific student,” he says. “Very professional, very engaged -- a great ambassador for the SBA.”

Successful start

Before joining La-Z-Boy, Valmassoi worked in Chicago as an international treasury analyst for Maritime Brokers and Consultants. Prior to that, he was a financial associate at Nationwide Insurance in Troy, Mich., where he began as an intern and started to climb the corporate ladder.

Valmassoi points to his SBA education and his involvement with Beta Gamma Sigma as the impetus to his success.

“Answering questions on the fly when the dean is curious about a presentation is not that different than answering to the CFO or CEO in the boardroom,” he says. “All of my time at Oakland University gave me a good foundation that allowed me to get where I am at today.”

 By Rene Wisely