Business student finalists win People’s Choice awards

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Two finalist teams of Principles of Business students each won People’s Choice awards at the WT Enterprise Center’s Reverse Pitch Competition Dec. 13.

The two finalist groups included Jake Neill and Bryce Ware as a duo and Brayleigh Leach, Aubyn Nall, Brodie Boehning and Kelsey Braudt on the “Tellerators” team. This event, sponsored by Happy State Bank, initially required students to submit a Business Model Canvas, or answer seven questions concerning future bank branches.

“I think the idea is that students go through the process of solving the problem,” business teacher Marcie Cook said. “Having a client, analyzing the problem, just going through the process of doing it, it was more important than the end product.”

Finalists finished the competition with a five-minute pitch and five-minute Q&A session before members of Happy State Bank and the community. Neill said the competition was beneficial to students wishing to advance their business skills.

It’s opened my eyes and made me more interested in pursuing a business career. ”

— Jake Neill, 10

“I’d describe it as fun, challenging and definitely something everyone should try,” Neill said. “I think it was really beneficial. It’s opened my eyes and made me more interested in pursuing a business career. It’s made me more comfortable public speaking, working on projects and stuff like that.”

Prizes to the top three participants included $3,000, $1,500 and $500 cash rewards. Braudt said the prize was a goal but was not what was important.

“It was hard because there were a lot of adults there,” Braudt said. “My team started it as a joke, just getting a classroom project done. Once we got to the finals, I would say it was a goal to get the money, but we were just happy we were there.”

Principles of Business is an elective class. Cook said the business skills taught in the course are useful in everyday life and more common than many realize.

“It is something students can do, even at an early age,” Cook said. “We have a lot of high school students that actually have their own businesses, whether it’s lawn mowing or babysitting or taking care of someone’s home. Those are entrepreneurs, and I don’t think students realize they’re doing that and what they’re capable of.”

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