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The ASEAN Journal of Education ASEAN Journal of Education

Opportunities for Social Engagement of Business Student Leaders


Erika Joy M. Legaspi,


Abstract

Membership in affiliate professional organizations is a form of social engagement that has proven beneficial to students. It has an important role in their leadership and career preparation. This study was conducted to identify the opportunities for social engagement of business student leaders, specifically the accountancy students who run as officers for the Junior Philippine Institute for Accountants (JPIA). The main instrument used in this study was a survey questionnaire that was administered to 62 officers of JPIA from Region IV-A. The study found out that there were a lot of opportunities for social engagement that were made available to the JPIA officers, such as leadership seminars, regional and national seminars, conferences and conventions related to accounting, firm visits, planning sessions with accounting professionals, general assemblies, academic and non-academic competitions, and outreach activities. They were also introduced to the environment and activities of the accounting profession. The officers likewise developed the values of fellowship and solidarity with the other chapters, social awareness through the different outreach activities, as well as the moral values central to the accounting profession. It is recommended that, since membership in student or junior affiliates of a professional organization has proven beneficial to the student-members, there should be concerted efforts on the part of the faculty and school administrators to encourage their students to join these organizations.

Introduction

  College education is considered as a preparation for one’s future career. It is where the students are equipped with the necessary knowledge, skills and attitudes that they will use when they practice their profession. These knowledge, skills and attitudes should not only be developed in the four  corners  of  the  classroom but rather, they should be acquired even outside the school premises. One way to ensure this is to allow the students to engage in organizations related to their future job. This can be referred to as social engagement. Social engagement,  according  to  Millican  (in  http://arts.brighton.ac.uk/stibbe-handbook-of-sustainability/additional-chapters/social-engagement) is the ability to work constructively within and between social groups to create more resilient and sustainable communities. It can also mean one’s participation in the activities of a social group (Prohaska, Anderson and Binstock,  2012).  Membership  in  affiliate  professional  organizations  is  a  form  of  social engagement  that  has  proven  beneficial  to  the  students.  Erstad  (2015)  said  that  joining   a student chapter of a professional association is one powerful way to position the students’ future for success in their respective career fields; it also allows them to take advantage of leadership opportunities that can help them sharpen the skills they’ll need to advance their careers. It can help the students to build their skills, attend special events to network with professionals in their field,  and access hundreds of valuable resources to jumpstart their careers (in https://www.asme.org/about-asme/professional-membership/benefits-for-students).

Being part of a professional organization can be financially beneficial for students through scholarships, loan opportunities, supplemental training, news updates or free access to field-related  resources  (http://study.com/articles/The_Benefits_of_Student_Membership_to_Professional_Associations.html). It will enhance their understanding of the profession and the issues they will face, and encourage connections between the association and the students  (in http://ischool.sjsu.edu/currentstudents/ resources/ complimentary-student-memberships-professional-associations).  Balthazard  enumerated  three  reasons  why  students  should join their professional associations: (1) It could very well get the students their first job.   (2) They could learn all sorts of stuff about careers that could be of use to them in making career decisions. (3) They can get some real help in achieving professional designations   (in  https://yconic.com  /article/why-students-should-join-their-professional-associations).

Similarly,  Mata,  Latham  and  Ransome,  (2010)  mentioned  that  joining  professional organizations  and  attending  professional  conferences  can  provide  tremendous  career development, skill-building, and professional networking opportunities.   Business  students,  in  particular,  have  a  lot  of  options  in  joining  professional organizations. In the Philippines, the following professional organizations have student or junior affiliates: Philippine Institute of Certified Public Accountants (PICPA) for accountants with Junior Philippine Institute for Accountants (JPIA), Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA)  for  management accountants with Junior Philippine Association of Management Accountants (JPAMA), Financial Executives of the Philippines (FINEX) for financial  executives  with  Junior  Financial  Executives  of  the  Philippines  (JFINEX),  and Philippine Marketing Association (PMA) for marketing professionals with Junior Marketing

Association (JMA). These junior affiliates have an important role in the leadership and career preparation of the business students.

  JPIA,  in  particular,  serves  as  a  medium  of  expression  and  aspiration  for  the accountancy students. It also promotes and protects their welfare and interests in particular and  the  accountancy  profession  in  general.  It  aims  to  uphold  fellowship  and  solidarity, academic  excellence,  socio-civic  and  cultural  consciousness,  moral  integrity,  critical, analytical  and  constructive  thinking,  and  organizational  thinking.  Membership  to  this organization can prove beneficial to the budding accountants since accountancy is considered as one of the most challenging professions in the Philippines, given the usual low percentage passing in the Certified Public Accountants (CPA) board examinations.

  Since the researcher is an accountancy student and the president of JPIA of De La Salle  University-Dasmariñas  (DLSUD)  and  the  Cavite  chapter,  she  made  this  paper  to determine the opportunities for social engagement of business student leaders, specifically the accountancy students who run as officers of JPIA.

  The following questions were answered in this study:

  1)  What are the students’ reasons in choosing to be an officer of JPIA?

  2)  Who influenced or invited them to be an officer of JPIA?

  3)  What activities have they participated in as officers of JPIA?

  4)  What activities have they initiated and managed as officers of JPIA?

  5)  What benefits did they get from these activities?

  6)  What  recommendations  can  they  give  to  JPIA  to  improve  this  student organization?

  This study was based on the concept forwarded by Willms (2000) that engagement is the extent to which students identify with and value schooling outcomes, and participate in academic  and  non-academic  school  activities.  Students  join  the  junior  affiliates  of professional organizations and some become officers because doing so can provide them with opportunities for leadership and skill building that they will be able to use in their future careers. In that way, their learning will be more productive and functional.

  Another basis of the paper was the experiential learning theory used by Munoz, Miller and Poole (2016). They asserted that this theory has been referenced as a possible method for attracting  and  retaining  members  in  student  organizations.  In  fact,  they  found  out  that students  value  activities  that  involve  professional  development  and  contact  with professionals. These activities are made possible if the students belong to the junior affiliates of professional organizations.

 

Methodology

  This study was a descriptive research that tried to identify the opportunities for social engagement of business student leaders, specifically the accountancy students who run as officers of JPIA. The main instrument used in this study was a survey questionnaire that was administered to the JPIA officers to determine their reasons for joining this organization, the activities that they initiated and participated in, and the benefits they derived from these activities.

  The respondents were 62 officers of the JPIA from Region IV-A representing the following schools: De La Salle University–Dasmariñas (26), San Sebastian College Recoletos de Cavite (6), Cavite State University (6), Saint Dominic College of Asia (4), De La Salle Lipa (3), University of Perpetual Help System Dalta–Molino (3), Lyceum of the Philippines University–Cavite (2), Rogationist College (1), National College of Science and Technology (1), Polytechnic University of the Philippines–Alfonso (1), Malayan Colleges (1), Divine Word College of San Jose (1), Colegio de San Juan de Letran (1), and Tanauan Institute   (1). There were 5 respondents who did not specify their school affiliation.

  Out of the 62 respondents, six were second year students, 19 were third year, 27 were fourth year, and nine were fifth year. There was one respondent who did not specify his/her year level.   From these respondents, 11 were presidents, 20 were vice presidents, three were assistant vice presidents, two were secretary generals, one was an assistant secretary general, one was a consul general, one was a coordinator for outreach activities, 15 were members of the Board of Directors, and three were members of the Standing Committees. Five did not indicate their positions.   In terms of the length of their service to the association, 33 served for 1-2 years, 24 served  for  2-3  years,  and  4  served  for  4-5  years.  One  did  not  indicate  his/her  length  of service. The data were statistically treated using frequency count and percentage.

 

Results and Discussion

Problem 1  What are the students’ reasons in choosing to be an officer of JPIA?

 

Table 1  Students’ Reasons in Choosing to be an Officer of JPIA

 

 

  Table 1 shows that the main reason why students ran as officers of JPIA was to develop  their  leadership  and  communication  skills,  as  attested  by  55  or  88.71%  of  the respondents. This is similar with the findings of Phillips, McLaughlin, Gettig, Fajiculay and Adevincula, (2015) that the students’ interest in developing leadership skills had a large impact on 57% of the students that were surveyed. Leadership and communication were also included in the list of skills that involvement in organizations affected.

  The other reasons were: to serve the other members of JPIA by 49 respondents or 79.03%, to get acquainted with people in the industry by 25 respondents or 40.32%, and to increase chances of internship by 24 respondents or 38.71%.

Problem 2  Who influenced or invited them to be an officer of JPIA?

 

Table 2  People Who Influenced or Invited the Students to Become Officers

 

  It can be noted from Table 2 that the majority of the respondents were influenced or invited by the current officers of the association, as answered by 41 respondents or 66.13%. Also  a  big  number,  24  or  38.71%,  were  influenced  or  invited  by  the  members  of  the association themselves. This shows that both the current officers and members of JPIA were scouting for people with leadership potential, hence the invitation given to certain people to run for office.

  It is unfortunate that in spite of the tremendous career development, skill-building, and professional networking opportunities that are made available by joining professional organizations as mentioned by Mata, Latham and Ransome, (2010). there were only a few department chairs/deans (8 or 12.90%) and faculty advisers (6 or 9.68%) who influenced these students to become JPIA officers.

 

Problem 3  What activities have they participated in as officers of JPIA?

 

Table 3  Activities Participated in by the Officers

 

  Table 3 indicates the activities participated in by the JPIA officers. On top of the list is  their  attendance  to  leadership  seminars,  with  46  respondents  or  74.19%. This  is  an indication that their main reason for running as officers of JPIA, to develop their leadership and communication skills, was achieved through the provision of opportunities to attend seminars  that  will  develop  their  leadership  skills,  as  emphasized  Phillips  et  al.  (2015).   This is one of the opportunities for social engagement made possible to these officers.

  Second in the list is their attendance to regional and national seminars, conferences and conventions related to accounting, as attested by 34 respondents or 54.84%. This was another opportunity for social engagement for these officers. There is a big possibility for networking  and  building  connections  because  usually,  the  invited  guest  speakers  are professionals in the field.

  The other activities participated in by the officers can also be considered as social engagement opportunities: firm visits where they get to see the environment where they will eventually work in the future and planning sessions with accounting professionals where they have  the  opportunity  to  share  ideas  with  the  professionals  in  their  chosen  career.   Some members also mentioned attending group meetings, sports fests, assemblies, and CMA seminars. All these made the officers engage in discussion, whether formally or informally, with the professionals in their field.

 

Table 4  Activities Initiated and Managed by the Officers

 

  From Table 4, it can be seen that the officers were able to initiate and manage the following activities: general assemblies, seminars and conference by 45 or 72.58% of the respondents, quiz bees and/or academic competitions by 25 or 40.32%, sports fest and/or non-academic competitions by 30 or 48.39%, and outreach activities by 17 or 27.42%.

  These  activities  initiated  and  managed  by  the  JPIA  officers  may  be  considered as opportunities for the well-rounded development of the members of the association, which also served as venues for social engagements. They were in accordance with the objectives of their  association:  developing  fellowship  and  solidarity  through  sports  fest  and  other   non-academic  competitions;  developing  academic  excellence  and  critical,  analytical  and constructive  thinking  through  quiz  bees  and  other  academic  competitions;  developing organizational thinking through general assemblies, seminars and conference; and developing socio-civic and cultural consciousness through outreach activities.

Problem 5  What benefits did they get from these activities?

 

Table 5  Benefits Derived from JPIA Activities

 

  Table  5  shows  the  benefits  derived  by  the  officers  from  the  JPIA  activities.   The highest number of the respondents, 45 or 72.58%, said that they cultivated fellowship and  solidarity  with  other  JPIA  chapters.  It  means  that  their  range  of  contacts  increased through their association with the other provincial, regional and national chapters. This was   a good opportunity for networking. There were 31 respondents or 50% who said that they developed social awareness through the different outreach activities. This is a good indication that the future accountants can readily participate in the corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities of their prospective companies. This is an indication that volunteerism was present in  these  students. There  were  39  respondents  or  62.90%  who  said  that  these  activities introduced  them  to  the  environment  and  activities  of  the  accounting  profession. This  is important for enhancing their understanding of the profession and the issues it faces (in http://ischool. sjsu.edu/current-students/ resources/complimentary-student-memberships-professional-associations). There were 36 respondents or 58.06% who said that they were able to inculcate moral values central to the accounting profession. Since the accounting profession is a delicate one dealing with money which normally tempts people, it is important that moral values be developed by the future accountants so that they will be trustworthy when they already start working.

  The other benefits given by the respondents were the development of self-confidence and the recognition of achievements inside and outside the school. Slack and Murphy (1995)concluded in their study that students’ participation in professional organizations was strongly associated with their confidence in their abilities to function as a member. This confidence will allow them to do a lot of other activities and to meet more people since they are secured in who they are as persons.

 

Problem 6  What  recommendations  can  they  give  to  JPIA  to  improve  this  student   organization?

 

Table 6  Recommendations to JPIA

 

  It  can  be  noted  from  Table  6  that  there  were  certain  recommendations  that  the officers wanted to give to JPIA to further improve their organization. First in the list is organizing more events that will allow local chapters to share best practices and learn from one another, as attested by 46 respondents or 74.19%. This will mean providing a venue for networking and learning from one another for the improvement of the management of the other local organizations. Improving the management of the organization will equate to better services  for  its  members.  There  were  41  respondents  or  66.13%  who  recommended   the conduct of more seminars, conferences and conventions pertaining to the updates and changes  in  the  accounting  profession. These  activities  will  be  important  to  the  potential accountants to be ready for the challenges of their future job. These will provide them with opportunities  to  enhance  their  classroom  learning  through  real-life  talks  about  what  is happening in the field of accountancy. There is also a need to develop programs that will help members and non-members improve their academic performance, as recommended by 43 respondents or 69.35%. It has to be noted that accountancy is one program with a very strict retention  policy  so  any  form  of  help  for  the  improvement  of  the  students’  academic performance is always welcome. It also reflects the officers’ belief in the importance of good academic standing, regardless of whether students are members of the organization or not.

There were 46 respondents or 74.19% who suggested having more exposure activities in accounting  firms  and  other  places  of  work  of  accounting  professionals. Aside  from  the opportunities for networking with professionals, exposure activities to places of work will orient the students to the true nature of their future profession. It will prepare these students to the demands of the profession as they see the professional accountants at work. Another recommendation given was the balance between academic and non-academic activities. The local chapters may look into the plan of activities they have and check if there is a balance between  these  activities. This  will  help  in  the  holistic  development  of  the  accountancy students.

 

Conclusions

  This study was conducted  to  identify the opportunities for social engagement of business student leaders, specifically the accountancy students who ran as officers of JPIA. The main instrument used in this study was a survey questionnaire that was administered to 62 officers of JPIA from Region IV-A.

  The study found out that there were a lot of opportunities for social engagement that were made available to the JPIA officers like leadership seminars, regional and national seminars, conferences and conventions related to accounting, firm visits, planning sessions with accounting professionals, general assemblies, academic and non-academic competitions, and outreach activities. These activities provided them with venues to network with other officers and develop contacts with the accounting professionals. They were also introduced to the environment and activities of the accounting profession. All these will be useful in their future job hunting.

  The officers likewise developed the values of fellowship and solidarity with the other chapters, social awareness  through the different outreach activities, as well as the moral values central to the accounting profession.

 

Recommendations

  From this study, it is suggested that the recommendations given by the officers be disseminated to the different chapters for their implementation. These will help in improving their organization so  that they  can  provide varied but balanced activities for the holistic development of their members.

  It is also recommended that since membership in student or junior affiliates of a professional  organization  has  proven  beneficial  to  the  student-members,  there  should  be concerted  efforts  on  the  part  of  the  faculty  and  school  administrators  to  encourage  their students to join these organizations.  Further, a similar study may be undertaken at the national level using a standardized instrument and inferential statistics to truly determine the importance of the students’ social engagement through JPIA. The other student affiliates may conduct a similar study for their own organizations.

 

References

Asmesetting the standard, (2016). Pocial enggement. Letrived from http://asme.ong/. Balthazard, C. (N.D.) Why students should join their professional associations. Retrived from https://yconic.com /article/why-students-should-join-their-professional-associations?redirect_from=studentawards

Brignton.  (2016).  Arts  and  Humanities.  Retrived  from  http://arts-brighton.ac.uk/stible-handbook-of-sustsinability/additional-chopters/social-ergagement.

Erstad, W. (2015). Top professional associations for business students. Retrived from http://www.rasmussen.edu/degrees/business/blog/top-professional-associations-for-business-students/

Mata, H., Latham, T. P. and Ransome, Y. (2010). Benefits of professional membership and participation  in  national  conferences:  Considerations  for  students  and  new professionals. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20689051

Munoz,  L.,  Miller,  R.  and  Poole,  S.  J.  (2016).  Professional  student  organizations  and experiential  learning  activities: What  drives  students’  intention  to  participate? Journal of Education for Business, 91, (1), 45-51.

Phillips, J. A., McLaughlin, M. M., Gettig, J. P., Fajiculay, J. R. and Advincula, M. R. (2015). An  analysis  of  motivation  factors  for  students’  pursuit  of  leadership  positions. American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education, 79, (1), 1-5.

Prohaska, T. R., Anderson, L. A. and Binstock, R. H. (2012). Public Health for an Aging Society.  JHU  Press.  pp.  249–252.  ISBN  978-1-4214-0535-3.  Retrieved  16 September 2012.

Slack, M. K. and Murphy, J. E. (1995). Faculty influence and other factors associated with student  membership  in  professional  organizations.  American  Journal  of Pharmaceutical Education, 59, 125-130.

Willms, J. D. (2000). Student engagement at school, a sense of belonging and participation (Results from Pisa). OECD.

 

Author

  Erika Joy M. Legaspi

    De La Salle University-Dasmarinas

    DBB-?B Dasmariñas, Cavite, Philippines 4115 West Ave, Dasmariñas, 

    Cavite, Philippines

    Email: ejmlegaspi@hotmail.com


Key words: student leaders, social engagement, professional organizations, student organiations
     
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