Teaching Biz Fundamentals to Teens

Young women aged 13 to 19 will get a taste of the B-school experience when Cornell University’s Johnson School hosts its seventh annual Camp $tart-Up from June 21 to 28, 2008. Teaming up with Independent Means and the Office of Diversity and Inclusion at the Johnson School, the camp is dedicated to exposing young women to the fundamentals of business.

According to a press release, campers learn about several key areas including marketing, finance, and research. While at the camp, the young women interact closely with current MBA students, professors, alumni, and local businesspeople to foster the campers’ capabilities in leadership and teamwork.

Five female MBA students (all class of 2008) are involved in all aspects of the camp, from coordinating leadership activities to planning the camp’s promotional materials, and working alongside campers as mentors and counselors. Each student plans to leverage her own business expertise and experiences to teach and empower the young women to become successful business leaders. A group of Johnson School students brought the Camp $tart-Up program to Cornell in 2002.

Camp $tart-Up is an important initiative to the Johnson School and its Office of Diversity and Inclusion, aimed to combat the relatively low enrollment of women in graduate business programs. Throughout most MBA programs, including the Johnson School, approximately 30 percent of students enrolled are women. The most effective way to increase the pool of qualified women for business education, and in business itself, the school says, is to reach out to them at a younger age and to teach them fundamental business and leadership skills.

During the eight day camp, girls will work in teams to develop a business idea and create a business plan to present at the end of the week. When the experience culminates, they will have learned the business, research and networking skills, as well as gained the self-confidence needed to plan their business together. For more information about this empowering venture, visit the Camp $tart-Up website.

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