This July, when most students were enjoying a relaxing summer break, 15 of ODA’s rising freshmen and sophomores embarked on a summer Business and Management class taught by Mr. Marc Roberts.
Driven by a passion for the subject and a desire to learn more about future career options, the students spent three weeks studying entrepreneurship and related topics during four-hour sessions each afternoon. Student interest in these topics is particularly exciting as ODA is currently developing a business track focused on financial literacy and entrepreneurial studies thanks to a $1 million gift from the Emmons family.
The course explored content which included human resource management, marketing, production management, and accounting/finance. Through these lenses, the class also delved into ethics and social responsibility as these topics relate to business ventures and development.
Students explored the course content through project-based learning. One assignment included groups researching a motivation theory and creating a presentation on their findings. In addition to teaching the students valuable information about the course material, this project also helped them explore and develop leadership traits and teamwork skills aligned with ODA’s core values.
Groups were tasked with creating social enterprise businesses with an emphasis on sustainability. The students came up with several incredibly inventive concepts, including “Fall Leaves,” a business that attempted to make paper towels from fallen leaves, and “Terra,” a business that built and sold delivery boxes of sustainable produce from Africa and Latin America. The aspiring entrepreneurs then worked to develop their creative skills utilizing Photoshop and other graphic design software. Each student was responsible for creating logos and advertisements to represent their products or services as well as the business’s brand name and image.
As a final project, each student created a business plan. Through meticulous research, students identified gaps in the market and created a product or service to fill the void. Final project examples included a high-definition sports camera that could track an athlete from a stationary stand, thereby avoiding the need to carry or wear a device; fruit-inspired food trucks; and a light to help attract fish to fishermen.
As the course wrapped up, Mr. Roberts says he was impressed with the drive and determination of his summertime students. “It is clear from this class that students at ODA have the fundamental entrepreneurial characteristics to become successful,” he said. “Each class member displayed creativity, critical thinking, collaboration skills, and excellent communication - all of the skills necessary to achieve any goal they set.”