Nearly 200 high school students from across South Carolina participated in the 30th annual South Carolina Chamber of Commerce Business Week from July 14th through the 19th. This year marked the 27th year the event has been held on the PC campus.
“I’ve had the privilege of working with SC Business Week since its first year, and it is a first-class program run by a dedicated team of professionals who make sure that students have an engaging and fun learning experience at PC,” said Norman Scarborough, William Henry Scott III Associate Professor of Entrepreneurship.
During the week, Business Week students prepared for the business environment by focusing on principles of leadership, teamwork, and the American free enterprise system. They had the opportunity to see how a manufacturing operation runs by touring a local Caterpillar factory.
One of the main components of the week-long program is the computer simulation, in which the teams of students manage their own simulated retail clothing store as they compete with one another. Through the simulation, students learn about calculating costs, setting prices, investing in marketing and promotion, understanding financial statements, and making ethical decisions.
“As you can imagine, the competition is quite intense, but the principle goal is for the students to get a taste of the complexity of running a business,” Scarborough said. “They quickly learn that most of the decisions that business owners make are interconnected. The lessons that many students learn at SC Business Week help them decide on a career path and last a lifetime.”
Further, more than 30 business executives taught business topics and leadership skills throughout the week. The real-world executives served as Company Advisors during the event, managing a “company” of students. Executives collaborated with students in an effort to learn about free enterprise.
“The Company Advisors who work with the teams of students come from diverse backgrounds,” Scarborough said, “and they graciously give up a week of their time to work with and develop the next generation of business leaders.”
The Company Advisors ranged from businesses as diverse as BMW, United Way of the Midlands, Verizon, and more. By interacting with real professionals, students were able to begin to consider college majors and possible careers.
Business Week students also had the fortunate opportunity to learn from talented speakers, including SC Superintendent of Education Dr. Mick Zais and those from several local and national businesses.