January 6th slipped away. I did very well keeping a written log of business that I took care of yesterday, but when it came to remembering to blog. Duh! I did, however, have a V8 today, so my brain is back on track.
With all the business I completed yesterday, I had five hours blocked off to judge a high school regional business competition. I had judged a high school business student event at Rutgers-Camden last summer, but this is the first event of this kind I judged. The teachers are all overworked and trying to coordinate hundreds of students and dozens of judges. My guess is half of them were like me and stepping up to help for the first time. Organized chaos is the best they could hope for, and that’s what happened. When I was finally taken to the area where my category of business students would be judged, we were told they already had enough judges. But the teacher in charge said he’d be happy to work two of us in so things would move along more quickly. Turns out the five judges who were already there had done this before, so they side-stepped all the preliminaries and just found their judging area, which is why our section was overstaffed.
On to the students: These hundreds of students from throughout the Camden County area (and I believe into Gloucester County) had about 30 minutes to digest a business scenario. Some of the situations were for teams of two, other scenarios were for one person to solve. I had no idea what school the students were from or what grade they are in. Every student was dressed in business attire and looking quite uncomfortable. (I did notice something I now realize my mother was ALWAYS correct about: when girls are wearing a dress or skirt you MUST wear a slip under the dress or skirt! There was a lot of static cling going on in the cool, dry venue, and a lot of skirts were very clingy – and not in a good way. No lives were lost; no blood was shed.)
The students did a very good job at coming up with marketing and promotion solutions for their scenarios. I was a little surprised as I was working with students who had a scenario about a pizza shop that needed low-cost ways to step up its profile. Of the 7 or 8 students I heard from, only ONE mentioned Facebook, Twitter and My Space as a marketing option. Not ONE student mentioned a web site for the pizza shop. I was floored. When I came home, I posed the scenario to my 15-year-old son, who is NOT a business student. Right off the bat, he said the pizza shop could create its own web site and include a coupon for customers to print out. BINGO!
Now, granted, the students had just 30-minutes to come up with innovative, creative and doable business plans; they were incredibly nervous and as judges, we were perfect strangers to these students adding to the stressful situation. The best are going on to the state competition in February. We wish them well!
It was an honor to help both the teachers and the students.