Top Professional Associations for Business Students
Are you looking for ways to strengthen your resume and develop relevant work experience? Joining a professional organization or the student chapter of a professional association is one powerful way to position your future for success in your respective career field.
A professional organization is a non-profit organization seeking to further a particular profession and the interests of individuals employed in the field. Nearly every career field has at least one professional organization and membership is typically welcome at all points in your career.
There are several professional business organizations for individuals pursuing careers in this field. Keep reading to learn some of the benefits of becoming a member of one of these associations.
Why join a professional business organization?
Joining a group like this allows you to take advantage of student leadership opportunities that can help you sharpen the skills you’ll need to advance your business career. It also encourages networking with individuals and employers in the industry and gives your resume a little something extra. Highlighting your membership shows employers you’re dedicated to your career.
What’s more is that you’ll often have opportunities to attend prominent business conferences and conventions. Some organizations provide members with access to exclusive career resources, such as job postings, information about seminars, publications, or training and certification courses that may be suitable for your vocational path.
Now that you’re aware of the advantages of joining a professional business association, take a look at some of the options that pertain to your particular area of interest.
Professional business organizations to consider
Accounting & finance:
- American Bankers Association: Founded in 1875, the American Bankers Association represents banks of all sizes, supporting the nation’s banking industry and employees.
- The American Finance Association (AFA): The purpose of The American Finance Association is to promote the knowledge of financial economics.
- American Society of Women Accountants (ASWA): The American Society of Women Accountants (ASWA), formed in 1938, provides opportunities for women in all fields of accounting and finance.
- Association for Financial Professionals, Inc. (AFP): The Association for Financial Professionals (AFP) serves treasury and finance professionals.
- International Federation of Accountants (IFAC): IFAC is a global organization, representing 2.5 million accountants employed.
- National Association of Black Accountants: Since 1969, this group has strived to on promote and develop minority professionals in the fields of accounting and finance.
- The Professional Accounting Society of America (PASA): Since 2005, PASA has focused on entry-level and mid-level associates working at accounting firms across America.
- American Marketing Association (AMA): The American Marketing Association (AMA) is the largest marketing association in North America and is a resource that thousands of marketers utilize daily.
- eMarketing Association (eMA): The eMarketing Association (eMA) is the world's largest international association of eMarketing professionals, providing resources and services to the online marketing community.
- The National Association of Sales Professionals (NASP): Since 1991, The National Association of Sales Professionals (NASP) has been committed to developing sales professionals to become leaders in the ever-evolving sales world.
- Sales & Marketing Executives International (SMEI): Sales & Marketing Executives International (SMEI) is the worldwide organization dedicated to connecting individuals in the sales and marketing arenas.
- Social Media Club: Social Media Club is a professional organization that promotes social media literacy. They work to develop industry standards and provide members knowledge of industry trends in the cutting-edge field of social media marketing.
Business management & supply chain management:
- American Management Association: The AMA provides trainings and valuable resources to ensure business professionals stay knowledgeable in the competitive business world.
- American Production and Inventory Control Society (APICS): The American Production and Inventory Control Society (APICS) provides research and education and certification programs for supply chain and operations management professionals.
- DECA: This international, non-profit organization has been developing the business skills of college and high school students since 1946. DECA members have the opportunity to network with local business leaders and develop business skills through mock presentations and competitions.
- Entrepreneurs' Organization (EO): The Entrepreneurs' Organization (EO) is a global network working to enhance entrepreneurs’ abilities to be successful by learning and growing from each other’s knowledge and experience.
- The International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP): Founded in 1942, the International Association of Administrative Professionals provides administrative professionals opportunities for growth, networking, education and development.
- National Human Resources Association (NHRA): The National Human Resources Association (NHRA) was established in 1961 to support the professional development of human resource professionals.
- Professionals in Human Resources Association (PIHRA): Professionals in Human Resources Association, founded in 1944, provides human resources professionals the opportunity to collaborate in an effort to enhance the profession.
- The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM): SHRM is the world’s largest HR membership association and is dedicated to serving the needs of HR managers.
- American Association of Healthcare Administrative Management (AAHAM): AAHAM is the premier professional organization in healthcare administrative management. It’s become a resource for information, education and advocacy on issues and trends in healthcare management.
- The Professional Association of Health Care Office Management: This association is designed to focus on local healthcare concerns by networking with hospitals and medical organizations to help solve local problems.
Become a well-rounded business professional
Becoming a member of a professional business organization is a great step toward building your business resume. But even being a model member of one of these organizations won’t make up for a lack of knowledge and experience. Learn how a business degree can help you acquire the skills you need to succeed.
*Disclaimer: This article was originally published in Dec. 2012 by Jennifer Castaldo. It has since been updated to include information relevant to 2015.