Where do you go for a taste of what college life and a business degree are like?
For the high school students attending the first-ever GopherBusiness camp at the Carlson School of Management, one of the stops was Izzy's Ice Cream in St. Paul.
The field trip to Izzy's was one of several 36 high-potential high school juniors and seniors made while attending the weeklong business camp. Designed to serve and support talented students from diverse background across the state who may have encountered barriers to educational resources and opportunities, GopherBusiness is a vital piece of the Carlson School's diversity recruitment efforts and supports its institutional commitment and value for equity and diversity.
At Izzy's, the students received a behind-the-scenes tour and got the scoop on how the local ice cream maker overcame obstacles to achieve success. Other site visits included a trip to Travelers Insurance, where the students were introduced to the world of finance, and a stop Colle McVoy for some marketing advice from the experts.
In addition to hearing from Twin Cities' business professionals, the campers received daily classroom instruction at the Carlson School on a variety of topics including finance and accounting, marketing, and the supply chain.
The campers were then given the task of putting their classroom and experiential learning to practice by creating recommendations that could help improve the operations of The Cookie Cart, a nonprofit bakery that offers North Minneapolis youth the opportunity to develop life, leadership, and employment skills.
"Your project for us is going to be incredibly helpful for the cookie cart," said Matt Halley, executive director, Cookie Cart, when speaking to the students on their site visit.
Business and wasn't the only thing the campers learned while at the Carlson School. When not at the Cookie Cart or Izzy's, the time spent on campus provided a flavor for what the future could look like and in doing so changed more than a couple of plans.
"It gave me a better understanding of what business actually is," said Vonnick Boyogueno, a junior at Shakopee High School.
"Before I came to camp I knew business and I knew there was an aspect called finance. But now I learned that there's finance, accounting, marketing, supply and operations, and a bunch of different fields as well as nonprofits. So I guess it really changed my perspective on business and how many opportunities there are in business," said Kush Patel, a Mounds View High School junior.
"I thought I was set on going to a medium sized school nowhere in Minnesota," said Chloe Edwards, a senior at Bloomington Jefferson. "But this camp really brought out the plus sides of Carlson and the U of M and what a large college can give to me."
Mindy Deardurff, director of marketing and recruitment for the Carlson School's Undergraduate Program, described GopherBusiness as a huge success. And it appears the Cookie Cart agrees.
"They are very excited about the recommendations our students gave to them," said Deardurff. "Of the eight student groups that presented, they are thinking of taking pieces of every single one and utilizing them in the operations of The Cookie Cart on a daily basis."
GopherBusiness was made possible through a generous gift from the Travelers Foundation. Travelers has already renewed their grant and planning is currently underway for next summer. Deardurff expects the camp's second year will be even bigger and expand the role of its nonprofit partner.
"One of the things we think that's really unique about our Undergraduate Program is our focus on nonprofits," added Deardurff. "We have a nonprofit major and we really want to show students that nonprofit and corporate America can work together and this case was an opportunity for them to take the business skills they learned and make a difference in the community."