business@school is an educational initiative of the international company Boston Consulting Group. The goal is to give senior high school students a closer, hands-on look at business over the course of one school year. In the process, participating students acquire and hone soft skills that prepare them for life after school.
Over three phases, students try their hand at business: First by analyzing a large and then a small company, and then by developing their own business idea, including a business plan.
At the end of each phase, student teams present their results to audiences at competitions where judges select the best business idea—in the third phase, at events on the regional and European level.
Volunteers provide practical support
Volunteers from over 20 partner companies provide local practical support. Participants thus benefit from the knowledge and experience of business experts, who meet regularly with students and also communicate with them by telephone and e-mail. Their role is not that of a teacher, but a coach.
Students work in teams of four to six, and each participating school has at least three teams. The business@school project is integrated either in classes or in extracurricular activities.
Students gain much from the initiative. They find out what everyday reality at large and small companies looks like, learn how business works, and develop an understanding of related topics. In addition, they practice so-called soft skills—teamwork, self-initiative, communication, and time management. Many of these skills can be put to use in their oral exams and their later education and careers.
Dedicated teachers as project leaders
Teachers are at the heart of the project, performing local project management and organizing the collaboration between schools, partner companies, and the business@school project office. They also teach students business basics.
Teachers do not need a business background to get involved in business@school. Much more important is commitment to the project and a basic interest in business questions. Teachers can improve their business knowledge in seminars provided by business@school.