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That’s a wrap! Junior Executive Business Program a smashing success

Thursday, September 17 2015 12:00am

Students wow staff with dedication and talent

By Brianna Wilson

It’s not easy to create a “hit” summer program several years on a row—especially when the judges are discerning high school students. Yet year after year, Beatrice Selotlegeng, with help from Ebony Porter, delivers a quality program that is both fun and challenging for high school students. This year was no exception.

The Junior Executive Business Program is an eight-day, on-campus experience for juniors from disproportionately underrepresented backgrounds who are interested in studying business.

“The Junior Executive Business Program has been in existence for more than 12 years, and it’s very important to the College of Business. It’s our most important program to recruit students of diversity,” said Hugh Sherman, dean of the College of Business.

Sponsored by KeyBank, the program allows students to learn about topics ranging from finance to IT consulting, and gives them an opportunity to explore the world of business through completion of a real-world business project.

This year’s project was based on financial literacy, particularly as it relates to college debt. “The topic is interesting to the students, so they are motivated to tell others about it – and to buy into it themselves,” said Selotlegeng.

Case in point: Late in the week, students voted whether to go see a movie as planned, or to forgo the movie and work on their projects. They opted to work late into the night. “I think that says it all in terms of their level of commitment,” Selotlegeng said. 

The students’ enthusiasm didn’t halt with their project, though. They also showed a sincere interest in learning, and soaked up all of the information they could throughout the week. At the Careers and Internships Panel with representatives from Keybank, PricewaterhouseCoopers, and the College of Business, students asked questions ranging from “Do you like it when your interns talk to you?” to “What classes did you really enjoy in college, and how did they help you in your career?”

And, if history truly does repeat itself, their zeal for learning won’t halt after the program ends, either. “Last year, I did this program as well, and I have to say, it was one of the best experiences of my life,” said Andrea De La Rosa. “Honestly, when I walked into this program, my grades weren’t the best. When I walked out [last year], I set a goal for myself. That goal was to receive a 3.8 [grade point average], and each quarter I either received a 4.1 or a 4.2. It really has changed my life academically,” she said. 

According to Porter, De La Rosa isn’t the only one who has been inspired by the program. “Our students come in and are shy and timid, and they are really transformed by the end of the week. They leave with a lot of confidence, they learn a new skill set, and they’ve actually taken college courses, so it’s a very empowering experience,” she said. 

This year’s Junior Executive Business Program is yet another for the book of success. Don’t take our word for it, though. See snippets of this year’s Junior Executive Business Program for yourself in our video, below.