Back To School Tips For Future Business Majors
The new school year is about to begin! What classes and activities might increase a high school student’s later chances of admission to top college programs in business-related fields?
Choose Classes Carefully
You may think that the best way to prepare to major in business in college is to take classes in some form of business studies. If you are looking for a vocational program that might prepare you for a job straight out of high school, this may be the right path for you.
But if you have your eyes set on college and an MBA, with the eventual goal of a high-level business career, the single most important class for you is mathematics. Do not let yourself off the hook by rolling your eyes and moaning, “I’m terrible at math!”
Enter Business Plan Competitions
Looking to jump right in to solving real-world problems? Entering a business plan competition will teach you to consider all aspects of starting a business, either alone or with a team. Many programs feature mentorship by an experienced business person, who will show you how it’s done. Opportunities abound for students both inside and outside the United States.
Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA) is a national program that bridges business and education. YEA features a business plan competition complete with cash prizes and scholarships. Competition begins with mentorship at the local level. Lila Mokhtari was a ninth grader when she won the 2023 local competition in Manhattan Beach, California, with her proposal for a memorable product that motivates kids to wash. Her company’s clear soaps feature a small collectible toy inside each bar of soap. Mokhtari went on to win first prize at the 15th Annual Saunders Scholars National Competition, a pitch fest held at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT). She was named “America’s Next Top Young Entrepreneur” and awarded a $30,000 scholarship to RIT, full tuition to the Golisano Institute for Business and Entrepreneurship in Rochester and a $5,000 cash prize.
Ask your local business clubs what they might be planning for teenagers. Not only might you have a greater chance of winning, but an advantage of local competitions is that you will meet members of the business community in your area who have volunteered to help. For example, for the last 30 years, the Rotary Club of Portland, Oregon has run a weekend-long Enterprise Academy for local high school students, where students learn to write business plans under the guidance of local business people. Rotary International is a worldwide service organization offering many programs—and scholarships—for young people. There may be a program in your area!
If you’re not in the United States, look to international business organizations, such as the American German Business Clubs. The AGBC Berlin conducts a Best Business Plan Competition “to promote entrepreneurship, to help students develop valuable business planning skills, to inspire risk taking and to encourage students to think concretely about their future in business.”
The AGBC Frankfurt runs a business plan competition called Entrepreneurs of Tomorrow (EoT). EoT organizes “workshops about marketing, finance, and presentation skills held at AGBC headquarters at TechQuartier in Frankfurt.” Mentorship is a key component of both programs, as members of AGBC work closely with students to develop their ideas into marketable products or services. An added advantage is the chance to practice English writing and presentation skills in a business context.