BBYO and Summer Discovery, a pre-college enrichment program, have partnered to initiate a business-oriented program for Jewish high school students at the University of Michigan this summer.
The two-week program, titled BBYO Michigan Business and Entrepreneurship Institute, was formed to create a program tailored to all Jewish high school students across the country, whether they’re in BBYO or not. The program looks to give them lessons on how to be a successful entrepreneur and teach them about Jewish values that can guide business leaders.
Through field trips, classroom activities and meetings with Jewish business leaders, students who attend will get the opportunity to learn about marketing, finance, ownership, competitive advantage, opportunity recognition and product development.
Robyn Judelsohn, BBYO’s senior director of immersive experiences, says BBYO and Summer Discovery had many conversations about starting a program like this, and eventually chose University of Michigan as an outlet.
“I think it has a great reputation,” Judelsohn says. “Teens are interested in the campus. I think they’ll get an opportunity to look at college life.”
For the two weeks, attendees will live in college dorms and use college facilities, and will have resident counselors on hand to give support to the students and ensure positive campus living. For students who are attending the Ann Arbor-based school in the fall or who won’t get the opportunity to attend a school like University of Michigan, Judelsohn says the two weeks will give them a chance for an immersive college experience.
While the learning aspect is the main part of the program, students will also have the opportunity to have fun during afternoon and nighttime activities. These include trips to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio, Cedar Point Amusement Park in Sandusky, Ohio, and a Detroit Tigers baseball game.
BBYO also will offer meaningful content from a Jewish perspective during the program, where attendees will celebrate Shabbat, learn about the Jewish values that relate to business and about entrepreneurship in Israel.
The program, which is supported by the international nonprofit organization Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship, finishes with a competition where participants will present original business plans to a panel of judges from the local business community. Winners will receive cash prizes to be used to fund their business plan.
Judelsohn can’t say if the program will give students a better chance of getting into a school like University of Michigan, but she assumes it would be a good addition for well-rounded teens that universities are searching for. She also hopes the program will be implemented every summer.
“More than half the program is already full,” she says. “Hopefully we can continue it each summer and bring it to other colleges as well. I think it’s a great opportunity to understand about business and business leadership.”
BBYO Michigan Business and Entrepreneurship Institute runs from July 20-Aug. 1. For information on pricing, deadlines and how to register, go to bbyo.org.