Stonehill senior leads winning team at international conference

December 1, 2017


The leadership skills Ryan Peck ’18 developed at Stonehill College helped propel his team to a major victory at the international business honor society Beta Gamma Sigma Leadership Summit in Orlando, Florida, this month.

One of the exercises at the conference split participants into 35 teams. Each team had five hours to work together to solve a problem for a hypothetical company, a concept put in practice in Stonehill classrooms. Teams then had to pitch their solution to a panel of judges the next morning. Although originally worried his skills wouldn’t match up with those of other students, Peck found himself emerging as a team leader.

“The Team Case Competition put my leadership skills to the test,” Peck said. “I used the presentation, critical thinking and teamwork skills I learned at Stonehill to actively contribute to our project. Ultimately, our combined leadership abilities won us first place. It is a wonderful feeling to know you are prepared for the real world.”

Exclusive Opportunity Emerges from Program Success

Beta Gamma Sigma, or ΒΓΣ was founded in 1913 at the University of Wisconsin. It has more than 800,000 members in more than 540 collegiate chapters in business schools accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) International. Stonehill is among the 6 percent of business programs in the world to have earned the accreditation.

In August, Stonehill’s chapter, inducting the top 10 percent of students in the Meehan School of Business, was awarded the Honor Roll Scholarship after the chapter received a High Honors ranking. The scholarship pays for the registration, cost of lodging, program materials and most meals for one student to attend the summit.

“Being part of Beta Gamma Sigma is an honor in itself,” said Peck. “Getting the chance to attend the conference took that feeling of honor to the next level. It was surreal to be surrounded by the top 10 percent of business majors around the globe.”

Virginia Cortijo, an associate professor of accounting and Beta Gamma Sigma advisor, encouraged Peck to take advantage of this opportunity and he was selected to be the first student from Stonehill to attend.

“I am involved on campus, I excel in my classes, I have professional accounting experience, and I am highly regarded as a genuine and caring individual by my peers,” said Peck, an accounting major. “All these embody what it means to be an excellent Stonehill student. [Professor Cortijo] strongly felt that going to this conference would set a precedent for other Stonehill students and encourage them to attend events like this in the future.”

A Global Perspective on Leadership

The conference hosted students from business schools across the globe. Peck met students from places such as Ohio, Hawaii, Turkey and Hungary. They spent time at the summit networking and attending presentations meant to help them become better business professionals.

“Some of the most important qualities businesses look for are being personable; being compassionate and caring; being an exceptional oral presenter and writer; being a good leader, teammate and mentor; and being ethical. At Stonehill, professors focus on building all these qualities in their students so we stand out. At the Global Leadership Summit, there were presentations on all these qualities, deepening my knowledge of the soft skills or intangibles.”

While at the conference, Peck was reassured by how well Stonehill has prepared him to enter into the workforce.

Although originally uneasy about traveling alone, rooming with a complete stranger and working among the top tier of business students, Peck is grateful he stepped outside his comfort zone. He hopes he can inspire other Stonehill students to follow in his footsteps.

“As said by one of the speakers at the conference, leaders are born when you step outside of your comfort zone,” said Peck. “Leaders often have to make a tough or uncomfortable decision. It is in taking that courageous step of faith that we learn to embrace our true talents and set an example for others so that they too can step outside their comfort zone.”

When Peck graduates in May, he will continue his education and get his master’s in accountancy from Northeastern University. After finishing his MSA in December 2018, he plans to take the CPA exam and begin working full time with PricewaterhouseCoopers as an assurance associate in January 2019.