Huntsman Post

USU hosts high school students for business competition

By Megan Starley, contributor

It may be difficult to get high school students to invest their spare time in studying more, taking tests and volunteering to do extra work. However, more than 300 teenagers from 20 high schools were on the USU campus in December 2009 to do exactly that.

Stephen Allred and Whitney Dastrup help distribute written tests to Aggie Invitational participants.

Photo by Megan Starley

The students were welcomed to Utah State’s campus to take part in the annual Aggie Invitational business competition. Participants in the all-day event took written tests and practiced their budding-business skills while participating in competitions in areas such as impromptu speaking, job interviewing, public speaking and desktop publishing.

The Aggie Invitational gives students a chance to practice for regional and national competitions coming up in spring 2010, said Donna Crow, executive director of career services and one of the judges for the competition.

“They are impressive students,” Ms. Crow said. “The work they’re doing at the high school level, the leadership in the community they’re involved in and their preparation for this competition is really outstanding.”

The event, carried out almost completely by volunteers, is put on annually by the USU chapter of the Phi Beta Lambda club, which is part of the same organization as the Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA), but is established especially for college students. Many members of PBL at Utah State were involved with FBLA in high school and wanted to continue at the university level. The Aggie Invitational is a fundraiser for the PBL club to help finance club members’ participation in regional and state competitions.

Vikki Ballard, now Utah State’s PBL club president, was a member of FBLA in high school and placed first at the national competition in business law. She had such a great experience that she got involved with PBL at USU and has helped coordinate the Aggie Invitational for the past four years.

“It’s more than just a competitive event for the students,” said Ms. Ballard. “It’s also very beneficial to the university and the school of business. All of these students are business students. They are all on campus to see our clubs, to see the campus, to see the opportunities available for them. It’s a great way to showcase USU and the Huntsman School of Business.”

While on campus, students also took a tour of the Utah State campus, learned about Huntsman international programs and were treated to Aggie ice cream in the George S. Eccles Business Building.

Many participating students are seniors in high school making important decisions about where to attend college.

“One of the questions we ask them is ‘what are your career plans?’” Ms. Crow said. “It’s great how many of them have career plans to come to Utah State.”