As an elementary school principal, Nikki Ward sees the impact of positive educational experiences every day. Yet, even she was surprised by the increase in energy and passion her high school son, Chris, came home with after attending Utah Business Week (UBW) last summer.
"We talked about him going as a unique way to learn more about career opportunities in business," said Ward. "But the impact of UBW has continued to drive his path today. In addition to considering majoring in business, the skills Chris learned at Utah Business Week can be seen in both his academic and athletic endeavors. UBW will have a positive impact on his long term educational and professional goals. I would encourage all parents to talk to their high school students about attending."
Chris Ward was just one of 135 high school students last year to give up a week of his summer vacation and take a week-long crash course on business. He along with students from 52 other high schools gathered at Utah State University for the six-day camp. During the week students created companies, developed products, established marketing plans, and made new friends.
"I would encourage other students to attend UBW," said Chris Ward. "I know the name Utah Business Week may seem boring and nerdy, but it is bunch of fun and I met lots of amazing people. It also gave me the chance to learn more about business in a unique learning environment. My school doesn't offer any business courses, so attending UBW was very informative and fun!"
This summer marks the 34th year UBW has been working to promote the future of business and leadership. Each day of this intensive program begins with breakfast at 7 a.m. and ends with lights out at 11 p.m. During the hours between, students are organized into groups or "companies" of 12 with an advisor from the Utah business community. Each company decides on a product to market and goes through a business-simulation program that puts students in real-world situations, giving them the opportunity to make real-world decisions. Students also attend lectures and presentations that address how the experiences they are going through are handled in business today.
For many of students, it's empowering to meet and learn from CEOs, business professionals and young entrepreneurs from around Utah.
"UBW gave me the courage to know that I can start a business," said Jacob Alder from Olympus High School. "I started a small bow tie business after I came home and want to more involved in business as I get older. UBW absolutely has helped me plan for my future."
The program benefits not only the students who attend, but also Utah's workforce. Corporations across Utah sponsor a majority of the $600 cost per student because of their support of the program. Students are responsible for only $100. Included in the cost of enrollment is room and board at USU dorms, plus all activities. Sponsors include the George S. and Dolores Eccles Foundation, Workers Compensation Fund, Questar, Rocky Mountain Power, Merit Medical, Wasatch Property Management, Mountain America and others. Many of the supporting companies also provide an employee who takes on the role of advisor to a group of 10 to 12 students during the week.
"Succeeding in business is all about making the right decisions," said Ron Jibson, chairman, president and CEO of Questar Corporation. "When Utah's top businesses and executives pass along their expertise to the next generation, they're helping to ensure a healthier economy for Utah's future. For more than 30 years, we've been helping Utah high school students cover tuition to attend Utah Business Week on the beautiful campus of Utah State University. Students learn how to start and run a business, they tour Cache Valley companies, hear from entrepreneurs, understand the importance of giving back, and there are several fun activities and a few dances for networking, of course. We're proud to support Utah's students."
Registration for UBW opened this month. Information about applying to the program can be found at utahbusinessweek.com.