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School pupils get taste of running a business

Thursday, July 10, 2008

School pupils get taste of running a business

Secondary school pupils from throughout New Zealand got a taste of the high-stakes world of business management at Massey’s Palmerston North campus on Tuesday as part of New Zealand Business Week.

Organised by the University, Palmerston North Boys' High School and Rotary New Zealand, the week – now in its 18th year – enables year-12 and year-13 pupils the opportunity to run simulated clothing businesses as well as benefit from a range of specialist business speakers.

This year’s group comprised 75 pupils from as far away as Auckland and Southland. They were split into eight teams, each supported by advisers including Massey business studies students, College of Business staff and representatives from Manawatu businesses.

The teams competed to maximise the profits and share price of their virtual businesses, making decisions on pricing, production, marketing and staffing as well as solving a few ethical and operational dilemmas presented to them.

They also had mini-lectures on leadership and goal setting from senior lecturer in management Dr Farah Palmer, learned how to draft a news release with lecturer Kane Hopkins from the Department of Communication, Journalism and Marketing, and saw first-hand some of the pioneering work in robotics at the School of Engineering and Advanced Technology in the College of Sciences.

A demonstration of robot soccer added some excitement and amazement as teams of small cubes chased a ball around a miniature pitch.

The day ended with an address on business ethics from the Ministry of Economic Development's small and medium enterprises director Dr Roger Wigglesworth.

“It was impressive and exciting” said Lauren Gibbs of Paraparaumu College. “It was great feeling part of the university for a day.” College of Business business manager Tom Quelch says the day was one of the most successful yet and feedback from the school pupils had been very positive.

"It gives students the chance to see what university life is really like, including the library, gym and dining hall meals," Mr Quelch said. " Previous experience suggests it will provide many of them with the incentive to return as students in the next year or two."


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