How to Choose Your Smeal Organization

No matter what grade you’re in, if you are looking for a new Smeal organization to join, you can feel overwhelmed by all of the choices. Should you join a club focused on your major? Or one that organizes a business conference? Or a business fraternity? There are so many more questions that can go through your head, but hopefully, by the end of this post, you will have a better idea of what to look for in your organization. Before we start looking at Smeal organizations more closely, I feel it is crucial to tell you that every organization has a THON component that helps fundraise for the Four Diamonds Foundation; so, if you are looking to get involved in both Smeal and THON, any of these organizations will give you the chance.

On Smeal’s Business Career Center’s website, there is a list of every club students can get involved in. We have broken up the organizations by category: Service-Oriented, Diversity, Business Fraternities, Major-Related, and General Interest. Looking at this list is pretty daunting so here are a few tips of what to consider when looking at this list. It really comes down to what you want to achieve at your time at Penn State and who you want to surround yourself with.

First, you have to consider what you want to get out of an organization and in turn, what you want to give to it. If you are extremely passionate about female representation in business then the Multicultural Women’s Forum or Women in Business would be a great place for you to engage with recruiters and take part in events that have the same goals. On the other hand, if you want to find out more about what people in your major can do after college, an organization like the Accounting Society or Penn State PRIME might be a better fit. Remember to also be intentional with what you choose so that you choose an organization that one day you would like to lead. This way, not only are you learning from your involvements, but you are also making them better.

Next, surround yourself with people who encourage you to be a better person, whether that be socially, professionally, philanthropically, or all of the above. If you need help creating a resume and improving your interview skills, then a Business Fraternity can prove you with a whole community of people who can help you. Or if you want to give back to the community with likeminded people, then organizations like Smeal Student Mentors or Global Business Brigades would be great places to look. Overall, in this process, you have to remember your own values and how you want to apply them here at Smeal and Penn State.

The organizations I chose to get involved with inside of Smeal are a direct result of the advice above. The second I was able to apply to Smeal Student Mentors I knew I had to be a part of the organization. I remember how much my mentor helped me during my freshman year and I knew I wanted to give back in the same way by helping new students learn how to schedule, build a resume, etc. Even though I have not applied for a leadership role and have kept the role of a mentor within the organization, the leadership skills I have gained through communicating with the incoming freshman are ones I will take with me into my career. Likewise, towards the end of my sophomore year, I knew I was missing the professional development I needed to achieve my career goals. That’s why I joined the business fraternity Alpha Kappa Psi that surrounded me with likeminded individuals who gave me the advice I needed to pursue my passions. In conclusion, I think the key to choosing a Smeal organization is truly taking a moment to acknowledge your goals and values and actively looking for the people that can help you achieve them.

By Christine Kovell
Christine Kovell Career Service Intern