By STEPHANIE SUN
The chatter of people collaborating in a classroom clashes with the click-clacking of computer keyboards in a lively mechanical harmony. Figures in collared shirts, black ties and formal dresses organize themselves to be seated at tables and computers. They proceed to cut colorful papers, design banners and organize information.
The described setting is fitting of a business office. In reality, this bustling office-like gathering occurs in UHS’s Virtual Enterprise class. Here, students have the opportunity to simulate a business and negotiate with other organizations under the guidelines of the US Network of Virtual Enterprises, International.
Ms. Nora Seager (Social Sciences Dept.) and Ms. Robin Jacobsen (Social Sciences Dept.) treat students as “consultants,” so the work done by students is very independent. Students manage their simulated businesses by analyzing how their businesses function, determining which products and/or services they offer and engaging in the daily life of running a corporation. Every Wednesday, students dress up formally to become accustomed to wearing business casual clothing.
The class is one semester long, and the prerequisites to be in this class is simple: teacher permission and age criteria (juniors and seniors).
Students regulate six departments: Communications, Technology, Accounting, Sales, Marketing and Human Resources. Communications writes to other organizations and takes care of posting on social media and websites. Technology builds websites, makes sure information is available to customers and manages social media. Accounting takes care of systems such as financial projections, asset management and payroll. Sales keeps track of market trends, the elevator pitch (growth) and more. Information records important information of the company. Marketing advertises the company’s product or services, manages social media and decides the target market and audience. Fundraising/event planning is a part of Marketing, and organizes special occasions to market the company’s service or products. Human Resources addresses employee relationship management, employee behavior and salaries.
This year, the 5th period class, whose virtual company is named Life Drone, is selling a rescue drone built by UHS’s Inventeam. The 4th period class’s company is called Pack-A-Back. Students sell backpacks whose contents are catered to customers’ wishes.
These classes are separate companies. They both participate in trade shows, which are conventions that display what the virtual companies offer. Companies bring their business plans, marketing plans and HR manuals to get judged based on the booth appearance, salesmanship qualities, oral competitions, job interview competitions, business cards, billboards and more on a state or national level.
“These competitions give us the opportunity to talk to other kids from different schools, which help us to become a better company, and get us more educated about the business world, because ultimately, business is about the collaboration of ideas and making those ideas into something profitable that is useful to people,” said Matin Eshaghi (Sr.).
Virtual Enterprise is a class for anyone interested in pursuing business. “Virtual Enterprise is a class that really puts emphasis on the art of entrepreneurship. It’s a way to emerge yourself hands-on into the field of business,” said Kyle Kawaguchi (Sr.). “By taking this class, I am able to broaden my horizon and grow as an individual.”
Others have also outlined the benefits they derived from taking Virtual Enterprise. “It’s taught me how to be a better salesman and how to communicate with people through the different departments and just how business is basically made from the ground up,” said Hunter Lee (Jr.).
“Dressing up and being professional shows us what it’s like and how hard it is to dress up on a daily basis. It helps us stay focused on what we need to do,” Natallie Dunckel (Sr.) said.