Students get real-world business experience

November 16, 2009 2:53:09 PM PST
Some high schoolers are acting as CEOs, vice presidents and managers. They are running their own companies as part of a program that gives them real-world experience. Students at Edward R. Murrow High School are serious about their marketing company, called Universal Promotions.

"Universal Promotions is a business-like environment that sells promotional products to various companies and helps them to promote their own company," student Esther Mironer said.

It is part of the Virtual Enterprise System at high schools across the nation. There is no real money involved, but the experience is real.

"There's a CEO, an executive vice president, managers, vice presidents," teacher and consultant Lisa Costantino said. "And they run the entire company on their own."

Universal Promotions is not a class. Students and staff consider it to be a business, and they are expected to put what they do to good use.

In addition to the marketing department, there is accounting, purchasing and more. Most of the students are seniors, and all have taken business courses before interviewing for their virtual jobs.

"This program is a very prestigious program," student Leor Hadar said. "It gives you a lot of real experience when you look for a job in the future, and it looks good on a resume."

Nicholas Tan wants to be a professional accountant.

"This will be a very valuable experience for me, to go for that, because I actually do hands-on accounting work, not just learning it from a book," he said.

The Murrow students shared a presentation that won an award in a marketing competition. It was a print campaign on teen dating violence and cyber-bullying. The event, called Advertising Futures, is sponsored by "Advertising Week" magazine.

"Some of these kids are going to end up in this business, because of the experience they had at Advertising Futures," said Matt Scheckner, the magazine's executive director.

Students are given grades and evaluations for the Virtual Enterprise program.

"I know I want to go into the business world, but I feel like it gives me perspective of what really goes on," student Lauren Riley said.