Phi Beta Lambda sees increase in events, leadership

Despite misconceptions about the organization, Phi Beta Lambda is revived and well at Geneseo.

The business fraternity is the college extension of Future Business Leaders of America, a high school-based program that aims to promote confident leadership in pre-college students.

According to the organization’s adviser, professor of accounting Mark Mitschow, Phi Beta Lambda has been around for 20 years at Geneseo, 11 of which he advised. About eight years ago the organization was effectively “moribund,” as he put it.

Mitschow became the adviser when former Dean of the School of Business Mary Ellen Zuckerman stepped up as dean and was unable to maintain the position.

“The biggest thing about Phi Beta Lambda is, unlike the Accounting Society, where they have got a preset audience of majors, Phi Beta Lambda doesn’t have that,” Mitschow said. “You need a student who is really interested in it and who really wants to take the bull by the horns.”

Phi Beta Lambda President senior Abigail Rulison has since taken the initiative and re-energized the organization. After joining in her freshman year, Rulison wanted more out of the organization, which met infrequently.

“The club had kind of died out,” she said. “Over the summer … I emailed [Mitschow] asking, ‘Has anyone stepped up to go forward again?’ He said, ‘No, why don’t you do it?’”

Rulison suggested that the club had gone through cycles in the past because of a lack of presence, something she would like to change.

“I want to keep events coming out to get our name out,” she said. “We have had a couple of ideas – we want to do a job fair where it’s not going to be a typical job fair. It is going to be people from different areas of business; I have figured out whom I want to ask. I would like to start out small.”

Rulison is working on bringing managing partner of The Bonadio Group Thomas Bonadio to speak on campus about his career in the accounting industry on Feb. 20. The events are aimed at making members savvier in the business world and more educated about possible career paths.

“Frankly, one of the things at Geneseo is we don’t have a lot of nontraditional students. If you go to [Rochester Institute of Technology], you get a lot of 30-year-old students who have business experience,” Mitschow said. “We don’t have that here.”

“What we lack is we don’t have as many people who have ‘real world experience,’ so it’s probably more important to a place like Geneseo to have organizations that will help,” she said. “[Students] get internships, come in and explain what different professions entail. The more organizations you have doing that, the better.”