Virtual enterprise goes viral

Students entering the 700 hall for the first time see something unusual. Business chairs, big screen TVs, carpet and big time offices line the room. No, the beginnings of Chatham Park have not extended to Northwood. This is Virtual Enterprise, a new class designed to give students a modern world business experience.

Virtual Enterprise is a class that takes place during first period and teaches students how a business works.  Prospective students were required to fill out an application. From the over 30 applications, 16 students were chosen (many students were eliminated due to not meeting deadlines). Students are given a certain amount of virtual money, a job and a certain living situation.  Throughout the year, students will be given situation cards such as “wreck your car.” The students have to manage their own finances based on a virtual economy. Students may also apply for a new job during this class.  An important aspect of this class is that while students are experiencing real world business, everything is done virtually, so if money is lost, no harm is done.

“This class will prepare students for real life business situations and teach them how to do certain business activities such as write a business plan,” teacher Rick Parks said. “This class teaches skills that are essential for the real world.”

Administrators Geraldine Kirk and Robin Stevens from the county office first noticed this class in other schools across the state. It was recommended to Northwood due to its successfulness when implemented in schools. Over the summer, Parks and Career Development Coordinator Delisa Cohen attended a conference where other Virtual Enterprise students competed against each other. The teachers were amazed at what these students were able to accomplish.

“It just blew me away at how these kids communicated while they were doing their presentation, whether discussing finances or business law, ” said Cohen when reflecting on the Virtual Enterprise conference. “It was like watching the show Shark Tank; the students were dressed professionally and were presenting their business plan. These students knew so much about business, and they found that knowledge through the Virtual Enterprise class.”

The class provides a challenging alternative to regular marketing classes. Virtual Enterprise provides students with hands on business experience to prepare them for the real world. Students work virtually while holding a certain title in the class. This class will hopefully prepare students for life with business skills.

“I hope to be able to become a better leader, and in the long run, I hope this class prepares me more for internships that I will have during college,” senior John Atwater said.

Students look for a variety of different things in this class. However, most every student looks to prepare for the future.

“I hope to become more business savvy through this class,” senior Justus Thompson said.

As the world becomes increasingly competitive for job opportunities, everyone is looking for an edge. Through Virtual Enterprise, students are not just learning skills for the class, but also business skills to take into the real world. Virtual Enterprise is a way Northwood students are being prepared for the future.

– By Jacob Sipe