Virtual Business students from the Bohlen and Sackett technical centers recently returned home from New York City where they took part in a global business simulation with students from around the world.
While it’s only the inaugural year for the Jefferson-Lewis BOCES Virtual Business program, its students excelled at the international forum bringing home two impressive recognitions.
On March 29, the Bohlen and Sackett students participated in the 15th annual Virtual Enterprises International Trade Show, which this year drew more than 2,000 students from the United States Austria, Canada, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Finland, Indonesia, Spain, Sweden, Italy and Romania. Sackett students this year brought home two prizes – an honorable mention for showmanship and one of six Outstanding Recognition Awards for their trade show booth.
With 500 schools across the world participating, Virtual Enterprises International is a business education program that allows students to apply and practice the skills they’ve gained in the classroom through competitions and extended learning opportunities.
During the event, which was held at the 69th Regiment Armory in Manhattan, the international group of students set up more than 150 booths to sell virtual products to trade show visitors and student participants. The student teams were judged on salesmanship and booth presentation.
Bohlen and Sackett students have been working all year setting up and running their virtual businesses, crafting business plans and preparing their trade show strategies. Throughout the year, the Bohlen class has been running a virtual gift basket business, Eat Your Heart Out. The Sackett virtual business, Cultural Enterprises, specializes in merchandising cultural products from Africa.
The students have set up these virtual businesses complete with all the departments of a real company––product development, sales, marketing, accounting and information technology. They buy and sell products, pay salaries, earn paychecks, pay taxes, negotiate loans and perform other business functions.
“They are learning to do business in the global economy,” Sackett Business Instructor Linda Smith said, noting the success of the program in its first year has exceeded even her expectations. “This class is an excellent experience for students who are planning to go to college for business, would like to someday run their own businesses or plan on working in a business.”
Sackett student Dylan Swiernik, a senior from South Lewis, is just one Virtual Business students who one day hopes to run his own business.
Swiernik was one of 120 students picked this year to participate in Virtual Enterprises International’s Global Business Challenge, which was held the day before the trade show competition. Swiernik was teamed with five other participants, including youth from Bulgaria, Austria, Indonesia and three others from North Carolina, California and New York City. Swiernik’s team competed against 19 other teams, facing language barriers and a time limit as they attempted to solve business problems submitted to them by the Harvard Business School.
“The challenge give me a new perspective on how people from other nations look at situations differently than I do,” Swiernik said. “It was a valuable experience for me.”
Swiernik says he intends to pursue civil engineering at Mohawk Valley Community College in the fall, eventually transferring to Clarkson University or the State University of New York at Canton.
Other Sackett students participating in this year’s trade show competition were seniors Alexis Fitzgerald and Ondraya Marks and juniors Stacey Benware and Dean Gaylord, all South Lewis students.
Bohlen students participating were adult student Kendra Bedore, Heather Klukey-Morrison, Watertown, Sarah Heaslip, Sacketts Harbor, Kayla Keenan, Watertown and Keirsten Nadelen, Watertown.