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Preparing for a Business major in High School

Preparing for a Business major in High School

Have you ever envisioned yourself in the hustle and bustle of Wall Street, analyzing data to make impactful business decisions? If yes, keep reading this article to discover ways to get a head start on your business major and dive deeper into the area you’re passionate about. Start preparing now to experience success in your future endeavors!
1. What are the career paths from doing a business major?

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the business field has been growing rapidly and is projected to grow up to 8 percent from 2020 to 2030, adding about 750,800 new jobs. Entering the era of data, companies are always seeking more business professionals to help them understand customers and product demands, create marketing campaigns, and identify important insights about customers and the industry. “The median annual wage for business and financial occupations was $72,250 in May 2020, which was higher than the median annual wage for all occupations of $41,950.” Most professions within the business field don’t require advanced degrees such as Master’s or Doctorates; many entry-level positions only require a bachelor’s degree or high school diploma, so your career possibilities in this field are almost endless.

Some examples of career paths can be:

  • Accounting is vital in any organization because it deals with financial records. Accountants must ensure that all records are accurate and up-to-date, adhering to applicable laws and regulations.
  • Consulting is a career with diverse applications. Overall, it deals with assessing a particular area of an organization and providing suggestions and actionable plans for change.
  • Entrepreneurship and small business careers mainly deal with creating new businesses and nurturing small businesses to scale and receive funding.
  • Event Planning & Hospitality careers handle the logistics of events and services– from customer service to planning and executing events and services.
  • Finance deals with the management of money, which is slightly different from accounting. Careers in finance focus more specifically on monitoring money activity– such as investing, borrowing, lending, and forecasting.
  • Human Resource careers address the administrative functions of an organization, especially concerning employees and their well-being.
  • Marketing deals with anything related to the promotion and advertising of the company’s products and services.
  • Real Estate involves organizing activities related to ownership of land and buildings, such as buying and selling.
  • Retail involves the distribution and selling of goods and services to customers.
  • Sales careers work more broadly with the promotion of goods and services.

And so many more!

2. Academics

Business is a perpetually expanding field that can be integrated with other technical fields for a rewarding career. Depending on your interests, you can explore business through technical, historical, or modern lenses during high school. To better visualize the requirements and recommended courses, we will refer to the curriculum for Middlesex School, one of the most prestigious boarding schools in the United States.

If you want to pursue a future career that will require you to be skilled with numbers, we recommend taking advanced mathematics courses, such as calculus and AP calculus. Middlesex offers a variety of mathematics courses with different difficulty levels; however, students are not required to take all available advanced classes. Mathematics guides students to approach problems with a quantitative approach and trains students in logic and problem-solving, which can be critical for many careers in business like consulting and accounting.

Training in English and Public Speaking is also beneficial for careers in Business and a wide array of other disciplines. Students will gain a competitive advantage if they are articulate and persuasive with verbal and written words. Middlesex also offers a wide variety of speaking-related courses through different English, History, or any courses that require presentations and debate. In addition, you can always join the Debate Club or Public Speaking Club, which we will discuss later in this article.

In addition to Math and Speech courses, you should also consider taking Economics (Microeconomics and Macroeconomics), Business Law/General Law, and Computer Science to learn about the industry’s fundamentals, the technical side of business analysis, or the legal side of the business.

To discover which aspects of the business you’re most passionate about, take advantage of your high school years and explore various industries! We understand that the variety of subjects can be overwhelming, so we recommend you talk to a school counselor or advisor to see which classes you could most benefit from.

3. Extracurricular activities

Extracurricular activities can range from academics, sports, and speech to creative pursuits; in this article, however, we will only mention clubs and activities related to business.
The availability of clubs depends on whether you are studying at a private or public school. There are 5 entrepreneurship clubs on the national and international level you can participate in. These organizations’ benefits include opportunities like professional training, business competitions, and networking sessions. They provide various opportunities to enhance your learning and equip you with essential tools and knowledge, such as leadership skills, networking skills, and knowledge about the many fields of business such as finances and accounting, etc. These organizations are:

  • DECA – International Entrepreneur Organization
  • FBLA-PBL (Future Business Leaders of America – Phi Beta Lambda)
  • BPA (Business Professionals of America)
  • National Business Honor Society
  • National Beta Club (focuses on leadership development)
  • Business Club

In addition to business-focused clubs, you have the freedom and opportunity to join any other clubs that will help you hone your technical, soft, and leadership skills; these skills will benefit you in the long run when pursuing a business-focused career. Some good examples of applicable clubs are the Public Speaking/Debate Club, community-service-focused clubs, and mentorship programs.

4. Internships and Competitions

Completing an internship during high school can be a great addition to your college applications and resume. Having a business internship under your belt shows admissions officers and potential employers that you have meaningful experience cooperating and collaborating with adults in a professional setting. Students who complete an internship during high school also show that they are serious about the major they have chosen to pursue, and will go above and beyond to gain more knowledge in their field. . For students interested in learning about different aspects of a business, here is a list of all available internship opportunities.

Students can also consider engaging directly with the field of business in high school by starting their own business. They can develop and execute their own ideas for an independent business, exemplifying their incredible initiative and willingness to explore.

Business competitions are mostly in entrepreneurship, with the most recognized competitions being the Diamond Challenge and the National Economics Challenge. Aralia is currently offering classes to help students prepare for these competitions. Details about these classes are below!

5. Attend a Pre-College High School Summer Program

Pre-College Summer Programs are organized by colleges, offering high school students the opportunity to take college classes, perform cutting-edge research, and connect with other students worldwide before starting college. There are various options available for students who wish to work in business or business-related fields. You can see details about business pre-college programs on our website, but here is an overview of some of the top business pre-college summer programs:

  • University of Pennsylvania Wharton School: The University of Pennsylvania Wharton Summer High School Program is a highly selective summer program for high school students in Grades 9-11. The programs, led by Wharton faculty members and instructional staff, explore topics that align with Wharton’s research and teaching. Wharton offers a variety of sub-programs for students interested in business, such as entrepreneurship, finance, sports business, data sciences, and the business of technological innovation.
  • New York University: Summer @ Stern through NYU Precollege offers rising high school juniors and seniors the opportunity to learn fundamental business concepts—including accounting, finance, economics, marketing, and psychology—from NYU Stern’s world-renowned faculty.
  • Launch X: LaunchX brings together top aspiring high school entrepreneurs from around the world each summer, supporting them through the process of launching an actual startup. Schools can’t choose to host LaunchX, but LaunchX organizers collaborate with top-ranking schools like MIT, Northwestern University, and the University of Pennsylvania for this program.
  • Babson College Introduction to the Entrepreneurial Experience: Babson Summer Study is an experiential program (currently online-only due to the pandemic) for rising high school juniors and seniors, designed to invest in their futures as entrepreneurial leaders. Students will cultivate core career skills and a sharp entrepreneurial mindset to overcome challenges in any organization and any role—all while working with peers from around the globe and earning four college credits from the top-ranked colleges in entrepreneurship.

A focus on business related classes and activities in high school are an excellent way to prepare for college and open yourself up to a range of opportunities. By leveraging resources such as internships, competitions, pre-college summer programs, and courses from reputed universities like Wharton or Babson College, you can gain valuable knowledge about the field that will make you stand out from the crowd in college applications and even future careers.

Diamond Challenge Business Competition Prep

Aspiring entrepreneurs will create, promote, and market a company to win over the Diamond Challenge Business Competition’s judges. In this intensive format, students will conduct the business ideation process, create a business plan, conduct environmental scanning, establishing the organizational mission, vision, and value statements, create marketing and promotion strategies, write the business proposal and create a pitch-deck required by the Diamond Challenge Business Competition.

National Economics Challenge

The National Economics Challenge is hosted by the Council for Economic Education, a long-standing organization committed to equipping K-12 students with knowledge and tools of personal finance and economics. National Economics Challenge is the only annual economic competition for high school students. The competition tests students on their knowledge of the world economy, specifically microeconomics, macroeconomics, and international and current events.

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