56 Students Graduate from OLAB
July 21, 2008
Fifty-six high school seniors left Wabash College Saturday after graduating from the 2008 Opportunities to Learn About Business Program. The 36th edition of OLAB featured students from seven states and Korea.
Click here for photographs from graduation.
For seven days the students were immersed in lectures and workshops covering all aspects of business, from accounting to advertising and from production to pricing. The first two days were filled with lectures and workshops to give the students, known as Labbies, the fundamentals they would need to compete in a business simulation game later in the week.
"It was a terrific group of young people," said Jim Amidon, who directed the program this year. "The faculty who work with the OLAB program understand how to connect with students at their level, so we’re able to cover several months of essentially college-level business and marketing concepts in one big week."
The students were broken up into 11 teams (pictures here), and each team had to produce, market, and sell handheld electronic devices that they customized with features aimed at a specific target market. This year products ranged from fully waterproof cell phones (marketed by a mock Michael Phelps) to virtually indestructible satellite phones (advertised on the Survivorman TV show).
Nike's JoAn Scott (pictured left) made a special appearance Friday night, teaching the Labbies about Nike's worldwide marketing strategy and advertising initiatives.
The teams made pricing, production, and dozens of other key decisions as they worked through quarterly business cycles, sometimes flying through "quarters" twice each day. The work was demanding and became competitive. Just when they got the hang of the business process, union labor lawyers descended on campus to negotiate new labor agreements, which created dozens of variables through which the students had to work. Greg Shaheen, Senior Vice President for Basketball Operations at the NCAA, served as the program's Game Master. Economics Professor Humberto Barreto taught elements related to production, finance, and labor.
Click here and here to see photos of the labor negotiations.
It wasn’t all work for the talented high school seniors. In between workshops and lectures, the students took part in a range of social activities, from basketball tournaments to scavenger hunts. Click here to see photos from OLAB. Click here to see photos of the Tie-Dye Party.
By the end of the week, Team One (Poseidon Industries, pictured right) had captured most of the top awards for OLAB, including the coveted "Best Managed Firm Award" and the "Tobey Advertising Awards." Students from Team One included John Burns (Darlington, IN), Katie Hluska (Munster, IN), Joshua Joseph (Carmel, IN), Andrew Ramos (Frankfort, IN), and Hailee Zweck (Indianapolis).
"Our sponsors make the OLAB experience possible for students regardless of their financial situations — each participant gets a full scholarship, which is really quite remarkable," said Amidon.
This year’s sponsors included the John B. Goodrich Charitable Trust, D.J. Angus-Scientech Educational Foundation, Carmel Rotary Club, Eugene and Marilyn Glick Foundation Corporation, Indiana Sports Corporation, JPMorgan Chase Bank, NA, Kiwanis Club of Crawfordsville, and the Benjamin A. Rogge Fund of Wabash College.
Receiving "Bingo Marketing Presentation Awards" were Ricardo Aguirre (Carmel, IN) and Andrew Ramos (Frankfort, IN). Logan Varner (Yorktown, IN) was awarded the "Bullthrower Award" for the best Stockholders’ Speech.
At the conclusion of the week, OLAB counselors chose a young man and young woman as Mr. and Ms. Labbie, which was awarded to the students who got the most out of the week-long experience. Chosen Mr. Labbie was Logan Varner (Yorktown, IN) and Morgan Amber (Culver, IN) was named Ms. Labbie.
The 2009 Opportunities to Learn About Business Program will be held July 12-18, 2009 on the Wabash College campus. Click here to download an application.