Networking Through the Pandemic

Cal State East Bay’s Epsilon Psi Chapter of Beta Alpha Psi (BAP), the honors organization for financial information college students, has been hosting an annual recruiting event, Meet the Firms (MTF) since 2011 -- and a pandemic was not going to stop them. Last Fall, Meet the Firms went virtual with 35 companies, 99 candidates, and 594 completed video chats. To help students prepare for the event, BAP hosted a series of virtual seminars on topics including Elevator Speech, Resume/Cover Letter Review, Online Interview, and LinkedIn Review. This would not have been possible without the joint efforts of Cal State East Bay’s College of Business and Economics and Beta Alpha Psi officers.

What started out as a recruiting event for just accounting students, called Meet the Accounting Professionals, evolved to Meet the Firms in 2015 to include Finance, Business Analytics, and Digital Technology students. Today, Meet the Firms is considered the premiere recruiting event for students and alumni to jump start their careers and has connected over one thousand students and alumni with 86 unique companies.

Alyssa Bonfiglio, an incoming Audit Intern at EY described how Meet the Firms worked online and how BAP set her up for success:

Why Alyssa Joined BAP:

“I am a junior at Cal State East Bay who just transferred to the college in Fall 2020. I decided to join BAP because they made strong impressions at informational meetings I attended, and I wanted to take advantage of the opportunity to network with individuals with the same mindset as me. As a first-generation college student, it was my responsibility to get involved in order to set myself up for success. 

Learning How to Interview Online

I learned that MTF (Meet the Firms) would connect students and alumni with various accounting, finance, ITM, and governmental firms to help us land internships or entry-level positions. This year was the first time it was held virtually, so I knew I needed to learn how to navigate virtual interviews and networking to succeed. I attended all the webinars hosted by BAP to help prepare for the event and to learn different soft and technical skills, and also did early networking events with local accounting firms all the way to Big 4 accounting firms to better prepare myself for the actual day. Having taken advantage of the free and educational events BAP held, studying to master my elevator speech, and practicing interview questions with members of BAP helped me reach my highest potential.

Meet the Firms 2020: Conversations Led to Interviews

At the end of the 3-hour event, I had connected with 19 different people, which is a lot considering we talked for 10+ minutes at a time! My brain was fried, but I was proud of this accomplishment especially given the virtual nature. My experience with MTF was extremely positive, and it lined me up to interview for internships with multiple firms!  I interviewed with 7 different firms and got offers from 5 of them, with 1 of them being a Big 4 Accounting firm, who I ended up signing my internship offer with for this Summer 2021. 

The Rewards

I am pleased to say that I will be an Assurance intern with Ernst and Young this summer! Other positive takeaways because of MTF was I joined AFWA (Accounting and Financial Women’s Alliance), a club for accounting and finance women that focuses on networking, leading, and making change within the financial services sector. I am the student membership chair for my chapter and I am becoming involved with AFWA’s nationally recognized LEAP committee and student membership committee to help grow our membership. I also accepted a role to become a Campus Ambassador for Becker Education and have expanded my knowledge about the CPA exam while networking with students to provide information about their review programs. Thank you BAP for hosting this wonderful event for students, and I encourage anyone in the accounting, finance, business analytics, and digital technology majors to attend to gain exceptional networking opportunities!”

BAP’s Epsilon Psi chapter will continue to help Cal State East Bay’s student body by hosting another networking event in Spring 2021. To learn more about the chapter’s events, membership, and more, visit their website at

About Beta Alpha Psi

Beta Alpha Psi (BAP) is an honorary organization for Accounting, Finance, and Information Systems students at AACSB- and EQUIS-accredited schools. Its primary purpose is to encourage and recognize scholastic and professional excellence in the financial information field. The organization is widely recognized among business professionals as a sign of both academic excellence and professional achievement.

Founded in 1979, the Epsilon Psi Chapter continues to provide networking and public service opportunities to Cal State East Bay students. The chapter also hosts community services, visits to companies, social events, and technical seminars.

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