For Penn’s pre-professional fraternities, Super Day simulations — an activity intended to mimic the final interview process of candidates for selective firms — and beer pong are not mutually exclusive.
In addition to the over 30 traditional Greek organizations overseen by the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life, Penn is home to three co-ed business fraternities: Alpha Kappa Psi, Phi Gamma Nu and Delta Sigma Pi, an engineering fraternity, Theta Tau, a sorority for women studying technical and engineering sciences and a recently re-chartered law fraternity, Phi Alpha Delta.
Like traditional Greek organizations, freshmen can undergo recruitment for professional fraternities only in the spring, while upperclassmen can participate either semester. AKPsi, PGN and DSP hold their recruitment in the first two weeks of each semester, though freshmen can only rush in the spring.
The first week, according to College junior and AKPsi President James Wang, is called open rush, which consists of several informal events designed for anyone interested to meet and network with the brothers, along with a professional development event. PGN and DSP share similar processes.
In AKPsi and PGN, undergraduates in all four schools are welcome, but DSP is open only to economics majors in the College of Arts and Sciences and Wharton students.
Unlike Panhellenic sorority recruitment, in which potential new members must attend the open houses of all eight sororities, business fraternity recruitment lets people attend events of any of the fraternities.
“It’s a lot less structured,” said College senior Angela Pan, a member of Chi Omega and Alpha Kappa Psi.
Following open rush, interested students fill out an application to participate in closed rush — applicants invited to participate in closed rush are asked to complete various tasks, including team-based activities and interviews that help brothers assess them for their professional potential, said College and Wharton senior Bohan Wei, a member of PGN.
Key skills include the ability to collaborate and communicate effectively. Brothers then vote on which candidates to offer bids after closed rush. Acceptance quotas aren’t as rigidly defined as they are in regular Panhellenic recruitment, and as many candidates as qualified are offered bids.
The six-week-long pledging process, which follows bid acceptance, aims to teach “professional skills you need in the workplace that you can’t really learn in class,” Wang said, namely resume checks, interview prep and a good idea of what working in certain types of businesses is really like. PAD and Theta Tau follow similar recruitment timelines involving informal social events followed by closed rush and later bid offers.
Membership in each of the fraternities promises professional development and social opportunities with enviable equality. Mixers with other business fraternities, BYOs and speaker events in which alumni coach current brothers through interview questions of major finance firms are offered. Every year, AKPsi organizes two major speaker events, Aspire to Excellence and Media and Entertainment week, Wang said.
The fraternities also employ the “big and little” system familiar to all members of traditional Greek organizations, in which older members of the fraternity are paired with new members to serve as mentors, friends and guides through the pledging process and professional development, said Wharton junior April Tan, DSP President.
PAD has a similar system, but bigs are called partners and littles are called associates. PAD also offers speaker events in which lawyers educate members on the profession and serve as a source for desired internships, said College sophomore Jackson Price, a PAD brother.
While the pre-professional fraternities do seem to offer a package deal, several members also choose to be part of traditional fraternities and sororities.
Wei, who is also a member of alpha Kappa Delta Phi, said that she joined her sorority because she wasn’t “sure if people [are in PGN] more because of the social aspect or more for the professional.” She enjoys being a part of aKDPsi because all of its members are there purely because they like spending time together. Pan and Price felt similarly. Pan said she likes the diverse group of friends she met in Chi Omega, but she was looking for a more directed group to help hone her professional skills. Price found in SigEp a supportive brotherhood and fun social events, but he uses the resources and legal expertise of PAD to help him achieve his legal aspirations.
Like traditional Greek organizations, Penn’s professional fraternities ultimately seek members who fit best with their brothers, goals and interests.
“We all have different cultures. One is definitely not better than the other. You just have to find where you fit in,” said College and Wharton sophomore Ellen Naruse.
Recruitment for each of the pre-professional and social fraternities/sororities will begin within the next few days.
Correction: This article has been updated to reflect that Angela Pan is a member of Alpha Kappa Psi, not Delta Sigma Pi, and that a quote previously attributed to April Tan is from Bohan Wei. Bohan Wei is a member, not president, of Phi Gamma Nu. The DP regrets the errors.
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