Alpha Kappa Psi:
The Premier Co-Ed Business Fraternity
Some people come into college knowing exactly what they want to do, whether it’s the culmination of a dream fostered from childhood or a strategic path to attain ambitions. I, however, was not one of those people. As an International Studies major, I knew what interested me, knew what I wanted to study, knew that I wanted to go to grad school, but didn’t know what exactly I ultimately wanted to do. However, I began to have a better idea by the end of my freshman year and the beginning of my sophomore year, when my burgeoning interest in business led me to join AKPsi. Alpha Kappa Psi is the co-ed professional business fraternity on campus, providing professional development and guidance, as well as community service and brotherhood.
AKPsi emphasizes enhancing business opportunities and knowledge for its brothers. This doesn’t necessarily preclude non-conventional forms of business; although we have a lot of people interested in traditional areas of finance, not everyone is interested in sales and trade or investment banking. An example of those who aren’t going into traditional business is one of our current brothers who is in the five-year graduate school program for education with an ultimate goal to open international boarding schools which requires knowledge of finance, entrepreneurship, and marketing. We also have brothers who are pre-med and want to eventually open their own practices. Regardless of your major, “business” is a broad term that encompasses aspects of every area of study, and is applicable to nearly anything.
I pledged this semester, so I’m one of the newest brothers to the fraternity, but I’ve already gained so much from my short time involved in AKPsi, through both the rushing and pledging processes. I’d heard of AKPsi from friends freshman year, and had considered rushing spring semester. However, it wasn’t really until after my summer abroad at the London School of Economics, where I took courses in Statistics and Business Management, that my interest in business was piqued. When I returned to Hopkins in the fall, I decided to rush AKPsi. Rush begins with a few networking sessions to get to know the brothers, and the final event involves an interview, thereby already exposing potential members to integral components of the business world.
Pledging takes longer than rush, but through it, I was able to get to know the other students in my pledge class, who I probably never would have met otherwise. My pledge class, made up of both freshmen and sophomores, encompasses a broad range of majors—from computer science to public health—and extracurricular activities. As a class, we met for a few hours each week. During some of these meetings, brothers with work experience and internships in various fields of business and finance gave presentations to impart a greater knowledge and understanding of their respective fields. It’s often difficult to understand what a job entails beyond statistics and formal descriptions without hearing a first-hand account of someone who has actual experience. Luckily, we had brothers to do just that.
For our class project, we organized, marketed, and executed a campaign to raise funds—ultimately raising almost $6000 through Gertrude Hawk chocolate sales. Furthermore, because service is one of the fraternity’s core values, our pledge class also completed a day of community service, which we did at Whitelock Community Farm in the nearby Reservoir Hill neighborhood. The Farm was converted from a vacant lot just a few years ago and is led by current residents of the area, who seek to improve the neighborhood’s sense of community and bring easier access to fresh food to the public. While we started out not knowing what to expect, after a day of mulching, planting, and building, we ultimately had a great time helping out a new local organization and giving back to the community.
Each pledge was also required to attend a resume workshop, in which two brothers critiqued and edited our resumes. This was beyond helpful: I went in armed with only a template from Microsoft Word and a list of every activity I’d ever done, and left with a sheet of paper completely covered in red marks. Even after I made all of the (substantial) changes that were suggested, I sent my resume back to Nicole, the brother who critiqued it and had offered to check it again, post-edit, for good measure. I can honestly say that I would not be nearly as well prepared for the summer internship hunt without this.
As brothers, we remain active, bringing in professional speakers, organizing interview and networking workshops with alumni, and participating in events on-campus. For example, AKPsi sponsors the Elevator Pitch Contest, which gives students an opportunity to sell their business ideas to faculty judges and industry professionals. The Contest awards over $1,000 in cash prizes, and, along with the Business Plan Competition, encourages entrepreneurship and innovation within the student body. AKPsi members also participate in brotherhood events such as laser tag outings or brother dinners.
Professional assistance, as well as networking benefits, were what prompted me to rush AKPsi, but the quality of the help I’ve already received from it and the people in it are what make me so glad I did.
AKPsi holds informational sessions near the beginning of each semester, so make sure you check them out! My name is Stephany Bai and you can contact me and other AKPsi brothers with any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org. Learn more about us at www.jhu.edu/akpsi.