Thirty-eight high-caliber junior and senior high school students from around the Metro area, outstate Minnesota, and Wisconsin came to the Carlson School July 23 to 30 to attend the summer business camp GopherBusiness.
This program, now in its second year, was created by the Carlson School to serve and support high school students from diverse backgrounds who may have encountered barriers to educational resources and opportunities.
As part of this week-long summer business camp, students were divided into six groups to compete against each other in a case competition. The students were to help Como Zoo Park and Conservatory as well as Como Friends (Como Zoo's nonprofit partner) increase participation in its membership program. The students presented their findings throughout the week to a panel of judges (Como Zoo staff included) in a case competition format.
In addition to the case competition, abbreviated core courses were given to students each morning, followed by a company site visit. Wayne Mueller taught marketing, followed by a visit to Colle + McVoy, John Malloy lectured on accounting and finance before a trip to General Mills, and Steven Hutchendorf presented on operations and supply chain management before traveling to Izzy's Ice Cream.
Students also were exposed to team building at Camp Ihduhapi in Loretto, an etiquette dinner at the McNamara Alumni Center, diversity training, and a visit to the Brave New Workshop.
"Business isn't just sitting in cubicles all day. That's the stereotype everybody thinks it to be, but it's obviously not," says Mikaela Ekblad, one of the student participants. "I've learned that I love communicating with people, I love being in the action, I love being involved, I love the creative aspect and that's just where I want to be."
GopherBusiness would not be possible without the support of Travelers. Students had the opportunity to do a service project with Travelers at the Dorothy Day Center and visit its location in St. Paul. Travelers also provided academic/case competition support during the week and also participating in case competition judging.