Earlier this semester, VANTAGE Global Business strand students took part in the program’s annual Shark Tank competition, an opportunity for students to experience the entrepreneurial process in action and learn the ins and outs of business planning along the way.
The “Shark Tank” is a large event integrated with the Global Business curriculum, but it’s not just a one-day activity. Beginning in September, students work together in groups to ideate, plan and prepare their complete business pitches. VANTAGE teachers the collaborate with local businesses and VANTAGE mentors to create an authentic professional environment for students to present their plans each winter.
This year, students Bryce Alexander ‘23, Lucas Martin ‘23, Sawyer Booton ‘23 and Zach Peterson ‘23 took home the Shark Tank win with their pitch for VERT, an NFT marketplace.
“The Shark Tank experience is a long process that is intertwined with VANTAGE class throughout the first semester and beginning of the second. It is made up of four large assignments, each requiring a different part of the business plan,” explained Alexander.
Students’ preparation included creating a projection of consumer market capture, developing businesses financial projections, compiling a slide deck and practicing their verbal presentations many times before presenting. The teams then gathered in the Forum at the High School and presented their business to a panel of judges.
“There is a ton of excitement and energy generated by the students leading up to the event. It is a highlight of the year for many, and certainly gratifying for us as teachers to watch our students grow and perform at such a high level,” said Scott Mayerle, one of the teacher leaders for the event. “Students walk away from the Shark Tank experience confident in their abilities, and this confidence and competence is transferable to many other real life academic and professional endeavors.”
In the Global Business strand, students learn about economics, best practices, persuasive techniques, public speaking and effective communication. There is also a large focus on business technicalities, operations management, marketing and human resources.
“Coming into VANTAGE, very few people understand how to build a business plan, let alone execute it well while presenting business world expertise,” Alexander added. “Therefore, because the business plan development was integrated with class, we could apply what we learned in class immediately to the business plan. It was effective and fun, as we could immediately apply what we learned in the classroom.”
VANTAGE provides an exciting variety of opportunities for students to experience what jobs and careers may look like in their future. The Shark Tank is just one example of the many ways students can explore their career interests further and experience business in a real-life setting.