This article was originally published in the fall 2014 Harker Quarterly.
This summer the business and entrepreneurship department focused on following up its outstanding first year with an even stronger second year.
In July, Harker’s DECA chapter’s operations team traveled to Phoenix to attend the Emerging Leader Summit. At the event, which featured DECA leadership from across the U.S. and Canada, students attended workshops aimed at helping them improve the Harker chapter. The team also showed off its plan for its upcoming DECA Launch2014 event, which won an award for the best project model.
The summer’s headline event was the University of Pennsylvania Wharton Entrepreneurship in the Classroom program. The program brought Wharton professor Keith Weigelt to Harker to teach 20 student attendees about entrepreneurship through lectures and activities that ranged from composing a business plan to running a business. The weeklong program challenged the students as they spent entire days learning from the professor and working in small groups.
For their business, the students decided to model the Harker Incubator program, which is designed to encourage young entrepreneurs to develop their ideas and build companies. The students broke into four teams that focused on finance, operations, bench- marking and marketing. After working on these four areas, the team united to present the business plan for the Harker Incubator.
The summer events finished strong with the inaugural DECA Launch2014 event. Held the week before the school year began, the event’s goal was to re-energize current DECA members￼and introduce new members to the chapter, as well as get the entire chapter’s competitive instincts ready for an intense DECA year.
The two-day event featured teaching, collaborative activities, keynote presentations, lectures and role-playing. The first teaching event, geared toward giving new students an overview of the DECA chapter’s divisions and activities, was capped off with a delicious Chipotle-catered burrito lunch. The second teaching event was an introduction to the many competitions that the DECA chapter will compete in during the 2014-15 school year.
After a number of speakers and role-playing events the second day, Launch2014 closed with a ceremony where parents could view the results of students’ hard work.
The DECA chapter and the B.E. department now look forward to the upcoming year. Highlights include the opening of the Innovation Center on the upper school campus. The center, lined with whiteboard walls, is designed to foster collaboration in a totally modular environment, with moveable tables, chairs, and a top-notch audio visual system. Students will gather in the center to discuss their ideas, akin to brain-storming sessions held at local tech companies.
In October, the B.E. department will introduce its newest event: a business and economics convention titled BECon2014. The department’s 80 students will be expected to present at the convention, alongside a number of Stanford scholars, who will present their ongoing work and lead student discussions.