NYC teens take on business bootcamp

August 6, 2010 3:18:54 PM PDT
One summer camp is keeping teens active in a way you wouldn't think. There is no swimming, no hiking, and no tennis, just mergers, acquisitions and management 101.

Teenagers at a summer business camp at Columbia University are getting a dose of the real world, corporate style.

Students of the Youth About Business summer camp spent a week learning a crash course in mergers and acquisitions.

"Things I could never imagine knowing, I got to know," said Reggie Frederick's, a summer camp student.

Led by volunteer mentors from the business world, the students are divided into teams that are required to research and present plans for imaginary mergers between real corporations. They need to convince camp volunteers, posing as shareholders, that the mergers are a good idea.

Sam Kirk, Founder and Executive Director of Youth About Business, started the program 18 years ago and now it serves 700 teens in five regions of the nation.

Kirk believes the summer program exposes students to an experience they won't get during the school year.

"Some of these young people are not going to understand it, but what we find is, by introducing it to them early, it engages all of them because they are being taught things that aren't in a classroom," said Kirk.

Program administrators did a short-term study showing that 75 to 80 percent of their students improved their academic performance once they returned to school.

On the last day, the campers present their merger plans to a panel of actual business executives, as part of a national competition.

Not all the students are expected to enter the business world, but program administrators feel the skills they develop will serve them well in any career.