When Mariclare McEntire, a second-year business student, stepped foot in the Darla Moore School of Business she thought she would find her niche among the over 5,000 students in the school in an existing business fraternity. Less than a year later, she was in the process of bringing a new chapter to campus.
“I was researching business fraternities, and I came across Phi Chi Theta and I looked into their missions statement, the purpose, the values and all of that, and they were all about promoting higher business education and training,” McEntire said. “And that’s what I was looking for specifically in the sense that in the Darla Moore School of Business I don’t feel like they’re teaching the soft skills.”
McEntire has a triple major: finance, risk management and insurance. After taking Finance 363, McEntire knew she wanted to study finance and how it functions in society through risk management. She hopes to own her own business some day after getting a basis in the finance world as well as in management and entrepreneurship.
“I hope to be a financial analyst working with strategic growth management, working with mergers and acquisitions, consolidations of companies, whether it’s on the research side doing all the grunt work or the investment banking, that’s really where I want to be post-graduation,” McEntire said.
McEntire started the process of bringing Phi Chi Theta to campus in June after realizing she wanted more of a community in the business school as well as a place to learn soft skills such as LinkedIn, networking and interviewing skills.
“I can read a financial statement and tell you exactly what’s happening in the company, but when it comes to just straight up how do I put my LinkedIn together, is my resume okay, how do I cater this specifically for this internship, things like that, we have classes in the Moore School that teach that but they’re half semester courses,” McEntire said.
Phi Chi Theta accepted members this semester and has grown to 29 members. According to McEntire, the fraternity does not go through the same interview process as other business fraternities on campus but did cap recruitment at 30 members starting off.
“We can’t have like 50 people starting up,” McEntire said. “We have to be a small, close-knit group before anything. So, we did have to make a few cuts, but we just told them ‘we’d love to see you rush in the spring.’”
Whitney Halley, fourth-year marketing and management student, joined Phi Chi Theta to prepare her for the business world where she hopes to do marketing for a medical company.
“I hope, honestly, to make lifelong friends that I’ll always reach out to and stay in touch with after college and obviously develop business connections, whether it be the Phi Chi Theta alumni or the members in our group or friends of those members,” Halley said. “And just more of a broad spectrum of my business intellect.”
Halley works with McEntire on the executive team as the chief marketing officer. She coordinates the tables on Greene Street and the Moore School as well as promotes events such as the spring semester rush week. Through working with the marketing team and participating in chapter events, Halley says she has grown professionally.
“Even though ... we just got started, I feel like professionally I’ve grown a lot,” Halley said. “I feel like we do ... professional business development programs and I feel like those have already helped me out with ... the things that we’ve learned about the interviewing process helped me through my interviews and basically just communicating and professionalism in the business world.”
Julius Neubig, a second-year finance and business economics student and member of the disciplinary board, isn’t sure what he hopes to do after graduation but he hopes to learn how to network in a professional landscape through chapter events.
“A lot of times people in the business school just go to class and they don’t actually interact that much with the faculty and they don’t actually use that network and that help as much as they could, so that’s something we’re trying to focus in on,” Neubig said.
Phi Chi Theta is currently working to promote for recruitment in the spring semester and build relationships and traditions with the first recruitment class. The chapter plans social events and professional events to ensure students are learning the soft business skills as well as finding a community at USC.
“We’re not gonna have you do stuff that’s not related to your career as a business student or that isn’t going to help you later on down the road when it comes to applying for jobs. So, it’s really business-oriented, but also we have that social aspect as well,” McEntire said. “We do potlucks ... probably every two weeks. We’re doing a mountain weekend, a semi and a formal, all of that. It’s still the same benefits as a social fraternity or sorority but heavily business-influenced.”
Phi Chi Theta became an official collegiate chapter after the national executive council voted, and the members will have their formal induction on Dec. 2.
“It’s 29 people who are all motivated, all working hard to see the success of the fraternity which makes me happy,” McEntire said.