Preparing tomorrow’s leaders…today!
More than 30% of recent Marist graduates have gone on to major in business in college. To better prepare our graduates for post-secondary education and the business world beyond, Marist High School Chicago has developed a unique business curriculum offering not just theory, but hands-on experience, industry leader connections, internship opportunities and entrepreneurial mentoring. The classroom has been transformed into a “boardroom,” where students learn to research, develop, present and collaborate in order to become business leaders of the future.
A hallmark of the curriculum is the Innovative Design for Entrepreneurial Applications (IDEA) course. Developed to inspire the entrepreneurial spirit in Marist students, students were divided into teams to create a business plan around a product and develop a prototype.
The course culminated with its inaugural pitch night on Tuesday, May 12.
Students pitched their companies to a crowd of nearly 250, including the IDEA executive board, a group made up of successful businessmen and women from a variety of industries. Potential companies included items for pet care, food storage, sports gear, and more.
“The variety of products and services reflected the students’ personalities well,” said teacher and former McDonald’s vice-president Dan Gorsky ’79. “They were challenged to come up with something that was new or would improve an existing idea. They definitely stepped up and impressed not only me, but everyone involved.”
The first place team, named Candoo, received $10,000 to develop a web application that will connect students on college campuses who are seeking services or recommendations. For example, a student who needs his iPad fixed could find a fellow student on campus that knows how to do it.
In second place, with a $6,000 prize, was Drive Us, another web application that will offer a network for high school students and parents to coordinate rides to school and related activities.
In third place, with a $4,000 prize, was a team that created Hold, a uniquely designed and manufactured phone and wallet product.
Over the next six months, the funded teams will continue to develop their companies, and work with Marist to oversee their finances. All three teams are committed to seeing their ideas come to fruition even as they move on to college.
Marist Chicago officially opened its entrepreneurial center on Thursday, December 4, 2014. In addition to the Think Tank, the business initiative program includes core classes along with:
IDEA (Innovative Design for Entrepreneurial Applications) —Designed to get students excited about becoming true entrepreneurs, this class gives students the opportunity to create and fully develop their own product or service. Student teams work through the process of ideation, market research and business plan development and learn about marketing, accounting, human resources, as well as the legal aspects of running a business. The hands-on course is structured to allow students to imagine, design, construct, market and refine their own business ventures.
The Portfolio — Students enrolled in personal finance class get real a world experience by working in teams and investing real money in the stock market. Students are challenged to research the company, graph data, complete trend analysis and more. All dividends are reinvested in the program.
Collaborative Classroom — Engaged learning requires more than one-dimensional classroom. Students benefit from a flexible room set‐up that allows for collaboration, ease of movement and quick changes from task to task. New desks on wheels allow students to move quickly from lecture to team work. Portable display boards are available so students can complete work in small groups and prepare presentations about their findings.
Enrollment for the course this year was 48 students, but will nearly double for the 2015-2016 school year. “We’re going to continue to grow not only this class, but other opportunities like this for our students in a number of departments,” said Principal Larry Tucker ’79. “It’s an exciting time at Marist.”
Learn more about Marist High School Chicago entrepreneurial center here.