Why You Should Join Beta Alpha Psi: Jody Ryan

Jodi Ryan is the Director of Student and Academic Relations at the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA), which is a professional partner of Beta Alpha Psi (BAP). Learn more about why the IMA partners with BAP and how they’re working together to ensure that accounting students learn everything they need to know to make an informed decision about their future careers in accounting.   

Tell us a little bit about the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA)

IMA is a global nonprofit association for accounting and finance professionals. IMA supports the profession through research, the CMA® (Certified Management Accountant) program, continuing education, networking and advocacy. For students, we offer a variety of scholarships, competitions and leadership development opportunities to help them prepare for career success.   

What is your experience as a Professional Partner for BAP? 

We value our partnership with BAP and see the importance of participating in the local, regional, and annual meetings through judging the best practices competitions and providing speakers for sessions to ensure that students understand the breadth and depth of the accounting profession. IMA wants to show the students that the profession is more than just public accounting and that they should explore all options and certifications available to them including management accounting careers and CMA certification.   

Why do you think BAP is a valuable organization for students to join? 

BAP provides great leadership opportunities for students. BAP also gives them the opportunity to build their network to include not only peers and faculty members, but also members of the profession. This will greatly benefit them as they enter the workforce. BAP also gives students the opportunity to sharpen their presentation and teamwork skills through the best practices competitions. These are transferable skills that will help them succeed in the future.   

Can you tell us more about the Business Information Professional of the Year Award that the IMA awards through BAP? 

BAP has been giving out this prestigious award since 1974, and the IMA has sponsored it the past few years. This award recognizes those people who are actively involved with students and giving back to the profession. We give $2,000 to the chapters who nominate the winners within the three categories: professional services, education, and industry/government. It’s amazing how many phenomenal people are nominated every year and stay connected to BAP. We’re just excited to be a part of this wonderful award.   

What is the most valuable thing your organization does with BAP to help students? 

We work with BAP to show students the full depth and breadth of the accounting profession. By exposing them to the different professional partners to learn about what career paths are available, they’re really able to see the profession from a different viewpoint, which is something they can’t learn from a textbook.  We also discuss the value of the CMA certification. Not many students know about other certifications beyond CPA or that they can take the CMA while still in school and graduate with a degree and the CMA exam completed. They would still need work experience to get the certification, but at least the test is done and out of the way. IMA also offers an annual student leadership conference each November that affords students the ability to learn more about the management accounting profession, CMA certification, networking, and more.   

What would you say is one of the most important things to know about BAP? 

BAP has an immense alumni network that they are trying to make better use of. I’m a BAP alumni. I was a BAP member at Lehigh University. I have been asked many times by BAP and IMA student chapters to speak on a panel or participate in a webinar or networking event. It’s a very rewarding feeling knowing that your story can help someone else. I urge young professionals, recent grads, and BAP alumni to stay more connected than they’ve been. I understand it’s a challenge because you do get busy and have conflicting priorities; but if you can give back to BAP to help others achieve career success, it’s a great opportunity to pay forward what BAP has done for you.  

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