High School Students Explore Business World through Summer Program

BETS Program Twenty-nine high school students from across Tennessee recently were on the UT Knoxville campus for a weeklong program that allowed them to learn about the world of business and potential business careers. This is the fourth year for Business Education for Talented Students (BETS), a program that allows students from communities underrepresented in the business world to explore business career opportunities. Over the past four years, 89 high school students have participated in this program, at no cost to them.

The students attended presentations by UT Knoxville faculty members and business experts to learn about the various business majors offered in UT Knoxville's College of Business Administration, including accounting, finance, marketing, economics, human resource management, public administration, enterprise management, logistics, and statistics. The students also attended presentations on topics such as dressing for success, office etiquette, funding a college education, personal finance, and enhanced writing skills. They engaged in team-building activities such as a ropes course and took field trips to (accounting firm) Dixon Hughes, Alcoa, PepsiCo, and the Knoxville mayor's office. The week concluded with the "Marketplace" competition, a team-based, business-simulation game that allowed students to "run" a company as business professionals. 

"We view the BETS program as a perfect opportunity to introduce high school students to all of what our college has to offer and allow them to get a sneak peak of what college life is like," said Tyvi Small, the college's coordinator of diversity initiatives. "In fact, many of the students end up enrolling here."

This year's participants were rising seniors from Tennessee, representing 17 high schools and nine cities, with an average GPA of 3.74 (out of 4.0) who were nominated by counselors or community members.  

Funding for the 2011 BETS program was provided by the PepsiCo Foundation as part of its $350,000 five-year grant to the college's diversity efforts.

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