Author Topic: Tau Beta Pi and Professional Societies  (Read 6267 times)


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Tau Beta Pi and Professional Societies
« on: January 23, 2016, 09:38:32 AM »
Looking for opinions and good anecdotes.

I was recently nominated to become a member of Tau Beta Pi, the National Engineering Honor Society, due to my standing in the top 1/8 of the junior class at my university. Since a lot of the members of this forum are engineers, I figured it would be a good place to ask questions.

I'm mainly worried about the cost and if it's really worth it. It's a $75 initiation fee but I think it's good for life after that? I'm not sure but there is an informational meeting next week. People always say it's good to put organizations on your resume but I don't see the point in just saying you're a member of this or that. If HR people really think it's good that someone was a member of a professional organization, then they need to reexamine their approach.

Without inflating myself too much, I think I'm a little above saying I'm a member of a society. Maybe it helps students who haven't done much in the way of engineering, but for me I don't think it helps much. By the end of summer 2016, I will have 4 internships (2 full time summer and 2 part time during the school year) under my belt and I will only be halfway through my degree. I can't help but think that having 3 fortune 500 aerospace companies on my resume is better than blindly noting that I'm a member of this 3 or 4 letter society.

I'm already a member of:
ASME. I think it was $25 once when I was a freshman and it's good for 4 years. I can't remember exactly though. I've gotten some free pizza out of it.
AIAA. Joined my sophomore year for $25/yr. Still not entirely sure what the point is. I've been to one meeting this year and I haven't heard of any others. They don't seem to be very active.
SME. Got a free membership with a scholarship that I won through SME. It's a new chapter on campus. I wasn't able to make the first meeting and I'm not planning on being a manufacturing engineer anyway. Free pizza is nice though.

I'm worried that I'm blindly throwing money at these organizations so that I can hear a boring lecture once a month. The campus organization that I'm most active with is free to join and we actually do things that look good on a resume. 50% of my resume is from my activities in this club which designs, builds, and flies aerospace hardware at intercollegiate competitions. I'm the treasurer and my activities building real hardware in this club are the only reasons I've been able to get the internships that I have gotten.

So what does everyone think? Should I join Tau Beta Pi or not?

Paul | pdgessler

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Re: Tau Beta Pi and Professional Societies
« Reply #1 on: January 23, 2016, 11:59:10 AM »
I'm still early on in my career, but from my experience, what you actually did in those 3 or 4 letter societies is far more important to hiring managers and decision-makers than being in a whole bunch of them.

So focus on making a real impact (officer in student chapter, work on a student project team, etc; sounds like you've already done some of this) in one or a few organizations, not just trying to fill a seat at the meetings of a laundry list of orgs. Quality over quantity.

I decided not to join TBP, so others may have better comments on this one in particular.

I will say that one other benefit of being in several of these organizations is a broader exposure to networking opportunities. Sure, you can always network outside of societies you participate in, but having something in common always makes the relationship easier to initiate and maintain.


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Re: Tau Beta Pi and Professional Societies
« Reply #2 on: January 23, 2016, 12:45:58 PM »
Yeah, membership alone in these organizations in pretty worthless. Actual leadership experience in them can be useful, but I'd rather take a leadership position in a more "fun" club that was more in line with my interests.


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Re: Tau Beta Pi and Professional Societies
« Reply #3 on: January 23, 2016, 08:17:36 PM »
It is definitely not worth it if all it's going to be is a line on your resume. Your internships are much more important for that. If you actually plan on being active within the organization, then maybe it's worth it. Based on what youre already doing and what youve done with other honors organizations, I'd say don't waste your time/money.

I got an invitation to join tau beta pi every single year of college. I always ignored it.


  • Bristles
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Re: Tau Beta Pi and Professional Societies
« Reply #4 on: January 24, 2016, 10:59:06 AM »
I think these guys are running the most profitable scam in college.  As others mentioned, what you did in them is way more important than just being a member.  I would venture to say that most people I know don't really care if you're a member because they recognize that all you had to do was pay the fee.

I make hiring decisions at the company I work for.  Solely being a member of something like this would not affect my view of the candidate.


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Re: Tau Beta Pi and Professional Societies
« Reply #5 on: January 24, 2016, 12:17:58 PM »
I say it's worth to pay the 75$. I am a member, that one liner helped me secure a job which led me to a high paying salary. I thought it was well worth it. I know that I had an outstanding resume which didn't require being a member and there may be a slight chance that my outcome would be the same but what if it does make a difference? Or if other hiring engineering managers looking at your resume who were also Tau Beta Pi, I'll bet the chances of hiring you over someone who isn't a member are higher. Just my thought.