Merrill Lynch Awards $25,000 Prize to Students for Best Business Plan
A four-day global business summit will bring more than 130 public high school students from 11 countries to New York City, competing in two concurrent competitions. In a conversation with Education Update Eddy Bayardelle, President of the Merrill Lynch Foundation, sponsor of this program, underscored the value that the program provides in bridging the gap from the academic world to the real world. “This program has made academics meaningful for young people; they are exposed to new ideas and role models and they see the inner workings of real business settings. The business community benefits from a larger pool of diverse young people who, for the first time, see Wall Street as an option.”
Both teachers and members of the business community serve as mentors, coaching and guiding and becoming fully engaged along with the students. Now in its third year, the program attracts students from all parts of the world who spend a week in New York City visiting many financial institutions.
A special award will also be presented by Deputy Mayor Dennis Walcott and Merryl Tisch to Martha Stark, Esq., Finance Commissioner, City of New York in honor of her tireless effort to serve the youth of the nation through the Virtual Enterprises program.
More than 400 Virtual Enterprise businesses operate in public schools in the United States, comprising more than 9,000 students. Virtual Enterprises firms buy and sell goods and services from other firms worldwide. While no physical goods or money are exchanged, financial transactions for virtual services take place through an online banking program using authentic checking and credit card operations. A Virtual Enterprise program has all the financial responsibilities of a traditional company which includes filing and paying corporate income taxes.”
Students from California, New York, New Jersey, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia will comprise the competing virtual “firms.” Last year’s winner, Edward R. Murrow High School’s, Universal Promotions—an all-inclusive products and promotional consulting simulated business—will be back to defend their 1st Place finish in the 2007 competition. The top three schools will win a combined $25,000 in cash, generously provided by Merrill Lynch.
The Merrill Lynch Global Business Challenge is a unique opportunity for students to work together in multinational teams to analyze a real business case and develop a corporate strategy. Students in both competitions will make their presentations to a panel of judges representing some of the largest corporations in the world. Students from Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, China, Finland, Italy, Lithuania, Romania, Wales, and the United States will be grouped in multinational teams to reflect the way business is being conducted in the global marketplace. The students will address a challenge that tests their business knowledge and builds skills for international relations. The challenge will take place on April 3rd, from 12:45 pm to 6:00 pm at Baruch College in the William and Anita Newman Conference Center. The winners of the Challenge will be announced that evening. Last year’s winning team consisted of students from Austria, Belgium and the United States.
This international program operating in the U.S. has made a concerted effort to maintain relationships with the program’s alumni. In proving that you can go home again and give back once you leave high school, two former students from Fort Hamilton High School, in Brooklyn, NY, who competed on teams in The National Business Plan Competition, are serving as mentors for the current students in the firm known as The Printing Depot. Adam Yafei and Samuel Wong are assisting adviser Mary Grace Alfredo in preparing this year’s team for the competition. Yafei, currently attending Baruch College where he studies Actuarial Sciences says, “the National Business Plan Competition allowed him to build on his ambition by providing the direction and business experience he would need to be successful in the future.” Taking the knowledge he learned while participating in the program, Yafei was able to earn an internship after graduation at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, which he had extensively researched as the CFO of his team.#