Summer Scholars get a feel for business world

Student group makes presentation on last day of Summer Scholars program

Miami University’s Summer Scholars program is designed to provide a rich, early college experience for academically-talented rising high school juniors and seniors from across the globe. Students live on campus and attend classes in one of a dozen academic modules over the course of two weeks.

Two of those modules, Business Academy and The Entrepreneurial Experience, take place in the Farmer School of Business. “If you think about the business core that we teach here, it introduces them to those ideas. Accounting, finance, economics, marketing, management, supply chain, entrepreneurship, ethics, writing, communications -- we cover all that over the course of this module,” Helen Koons said about the Business Academy she helps teach. “This gives them a sample of what it would be like to be a business student here without really being graded.”

The students in Koons’ group visited the Airstream RV manufacturing facility in Jackson Center, Ohio to learn more about the manufacturing process and the factors that go into making a product. The project goal for the module was for student teams to come up with a new Apple product and make a presentation about it to the rest of the students.

“I signed up for the business module because both my parents are in business, and I don't really understand a lot about it. So I really wanted to come here and learn more about what this would be,” Upper Arlington H.S. junior Madeline Fisher explained. “It's definitely made me think more about business and I definitely want to take business classes.”

David Eyman has taught one of the entrepreneurship modules for several years. “What we really want to do is get students in here and help them build some creative confidence, build some entrepreneurial confidence and basically make a couple of points,” he explained. “One of those points is ‘Stop doing work because you're told to do the work and start doing the work because you're capable of doing lots and lots of things that you never thought you were capable of doing.’”

Aurora H.S. senior Nicholas Contes came to the entrepreneurship module with some experience of his own. “At home, I actually own my own shoe business where I buy and resell shoes. So it's just been a thing I've been interested in since I was probably 12 years old,” he said. “Here, I’ve really had to wrap my head around entrepreneurship and understand how it means to be much more creative than other people because you're really the inventor of anything and everything.”

The entrepreneurship students took on an actual client, the Cincinnati Arts and Technology Studios, which works with at-risk teens to help them earn credits and build skills and self-esteem. The students visited CATS to learn more about the program. “We worked to invent interesting things that they can do with students at high schools to celebrate creativity and celebrate entrepreneurship, and recruit students for their program at the same time,” Eyman said.

“Everything is learning through projects and working with people and pushing yourself outside your comfort zone. And I see this and think, ‘This is like what the future’s supposed to be,’” Magnificat H.S. senior Bethany Eckman said. “It's led me toward wanting to go into a marketing-type career or project manager. After taking this entrepreneurship class, I'm l definitely considering having it as a minor.”

“I think they're excited. They feel very comfortable with Miami and with us, the faculty who are teaching it, I think many of them more willing than they were before to apply to Miami,” Dr. Jeff Merhout noted. “And then there's also a little bit of a bittersweetness because we kind of get to know each other pretty well, because there's been so much time together. We are a little bit sad that that it’s coming to an end.”

“I loved it. I felt right at home here. I've had a great experience,” Payton Prep senior Stephen Whitacre said. “If I do come here, I'll already have the friendships that I've made.”

See more photos from the program here

Classroom exercise in David Eyman's class
Students tour the Airstream plant
Students watch a group's presentation