April 19, 2016
By Annie Dittberner '17
In Steve Welch's eighth year as an accounting and finance professor at the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John's University, he noticed something the two colleges were missing.
"We have the Phi Beta Kappa society for students in other departments, but business students aren't allowed to be in that society because it's not a liberal arts major," Welch said.
That's when Welch discovered Sigma Beta Delta honor society.
For the first time, CSB/SJU inducted 36 global business leadership and accounting and finance students into the Sigma Beta Delta honor society on Monday, April 18. The national society recognizes scholarship and accomplishment among students of business, management and administration.
"It's really a business-focused society," Welch said. "The goals are similar [to Phi Beta Kappa] in that it recognizes outstanding students."
Membership in Sigma Beta Delta is the highest national recognition a business student can receive at a college or university with a Sigma Beta Delta chapter. To be eligible for membership, a business student must rank in the top 20 percent of the junior or senior class and be invited to membership by the faculty officers.
According to Welch, CSB/SJU wanted to make the society more elite and instead required inductees to have a 3.75 minimum GPA. Of the 408 eligible students, CSB/SJU invited 37 students into the honor society — just under 10 percent of business students received an invitation.
"When I was looking at the departments from other business schools, I noticed several of them had some sort of honor society or something that recognized business majors," Welch said.
For Welch, Sigma Beta Delta was the obvious choice.
"I looked around to see what the best [honor society] was, and Sigma Beta Delta is a nationally recognized program that stood out to me," Welch said.
Through the society, members can apply for fellowships, utilize networking opportunities and gain access to competitive internships.
Instead of Sigma Beta Delta's standard $50 admission into the society, CSB/SJU covers nearly half of the original membership cost and requires students pay a $30 admission fee. Through this, members receive a one-year subscription to Bloomberg Businessweek.
"We want to reduce [the cost] so students feel like it's even more worth it," Welch said. "It's a one-time, lifetime membership. Once you put it on your resume, you really don't have to say much more than that. It says that you're the best of the best in business."
"The society really complements Phi Beta Kappa in the business area," Welch said. "I've looked at other schools in the country that are similar to us and have Sigma Beta Delta chapters - some of them are ranked higher than CSB and SJU. That means we will be joining an elite group of schools."