High school business management classes provide students with the opportunity to discover business careers, prepare for college-level work and become involved in project-based learning. Activities bring coursework alive and help students practice their skills. You can use role-plays, case studies and special projects to deepen understanding of basic management principles. If you root activities in business fundamentals of planning, organizing, staffing, leading and controlling, your students will gain important management skills.
Learning the basics of starting a new business exposes high school students to a wide variety of business principles. Group students and ask them to create a new business that is needed in the community. Have them conduct basic market research and create a budget and an outline that includes some of the things they would need to do for their new startup. Have each group present its proposed business to the class. The class will vote on the best new business venture. As an added incentive, invite business leaders to hear the proposals and provide feedback.
Expose students to potential ethical dilemmas by providing realistic scenarios that can be examined in a small- or large-group format. Scenarios can range from unauthorized expenses to questionable use of office equipment. For example, you could pose a hypothetical situation for discussion involving an employee who submitted an expense form for a business dinner that included the cost of his spouse’s meal. Or you could present a written case study for the students to analyze involving an employee who used a company laptop to run a personal business on the side. Once students are familiar with sample ethical dilemmas, have them make up their own scenarios to share with the class.
High school is an ideal time to expose beginning business students to career possibilities. Invite business leaders from the community to share their career journeys with the class. If possible, take the class on a field trip to a local business to experience an actual employment setting. Ask students to draft a position description of their ideal job. Ask them to write a resume that would make them marketable for the position. Hold a mock interview session to teach students the basics of selling themselves to an employer. Finally, ask students to create a career plan that includes education and experience requirements and will serve as a career map for their future.
Explore social responsibility and business practices by using an informal research project with your class. Ask your students to create a poster showcasing a company that contributes to the community, uses environmental sustainability practices or engages in company-wide community services. Hold a social responsibility fair to showcase the poster projects. Ask local business leaders to serve as judges and reward the top three student winners with a certificate.
Dr. Kelly Meier earned her doctorate from Minnesota State Mankato in Educational Leadership. She is the author and co-author of 12 books and serves as a consultant in K-12 and higher education. Dr. Meier is is a regular contributor for The Equity Network and has worked in education for more than 30 years. She has numerous publications with Talico, Inc., DynaTEAM Consulting, Inc. and Kinect Education Group.