High school students learn about business majors, Penn State

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- At the end of June, more than 20 high school students — some from as far away as California and Texas — gathered at Penn State for the Business Opportunities Summer Session (BOSS) at the Smeal College of Business.

The two-week program, focused on giving under-represented students a close-up look at Penn State and business education, brought students to campus to live in dorms, take real classes and meet students, faculty and staff in Smeal and across the University.

“Students come to BOSS because they’re interested in business and trying to decide if it’s the path for them,” said Jamie Campbell, Smeal’s assistant dean of diversity enhancement programs. “While they’re here, we educate them on what business majors are available and give them the opportunity to see diverse populations in administrative, faculty and student roles here at Smeal and in the University as a whole.”

While here, students actually get to try out business curriculum. They attend sessions in subjects like business writing, finance, marketing, business law, actuarial science, ethics and supply chain.

Participants also had the opportunity to visit Ernst and Young, one of the corporate partners supporting the BOSS program, to network with executives there and get a behind-the-scenes look at what it’s like to work at a Big Four accounting firm.

“One of the great benefits of this program is that students get to spend time on campus and really see what it’s like, not just to take classes but to be a part of the Penn State community.”

Throughout the two weeks, students work in teams to create and design their own businesses. They give a final presentation at the end, demonstrating their creativity and the things they’ve learned in their classes.

“The participants create and develop their own ideas, and in the six years we’ve run this program, we’ve still never seen the same business idea presented twice,” said Campbell.

But the program isn’t all classes and homework. Led by four Smeal student chaperones, the participants were introduced to the University and the surrounding town as real college students. They attended a State College Spikes baseball game, used the White Building for recreation and even took a trip to nearby DelGrosso’s Amusement Park, all while learning the complexities of running a state-of-the-art baseball stadium and amusement park.

“One of the great benefits of this program is that students get to spend time on campus and really see what it’s like, not just to take classes but to be a part of the Penn State community,” said Campbell. “Even if they don’t end up choosing a business major, we would still love to see these students choose Penn State.”

Contacts: 
Last Updated September 10, 2013