Forty-six high school seniors from all across the country — and around the world — have arrived on the Wabash College campus, marking the 38th consecutive year of the Opportunities to Learn About Business Program.
The students will be on the campus through the week learning about the fundamentals of production, finance, marketing, and advertising.
OLAB Director Jim Amidon said that the long record of the program’s success — and the World Wide Web — have helped bring to campus a truly diverse group of students.
“I’m really excited about this year’s group of OLAB students,” Amidon said. “Managing the logistics of a program that has become national — even international — in scope is difficult, but I think students from across the country has made the program even stronger.”
Students in OLAB this year come from 11 states — Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, Tennessee, Florida, California, Missouri, Georgia, California, and Maryland — and Seoul, South Korea.
“I think having students from 11 states and two countries makes this the most diverse year in the history of the program,” said Amidon. “And that’s important because we know that to operate a successful business in 2010, you must compete in a global market.”
The OLAB schedule in 2010 is once again fast-paced and full of fun. Labbies, as participants are known, start immediately Sunday afternoon with a workshop led by Wabash Rhetoric Professor Todd McDorman, before diving headlong into production and marketing games led by economics professor Humberto “Bert” Barreto and Game-Master Greg Shaheen. Wabash economics professor Frank Howland will lead a session on stocks and the stock market.
The program, which is largely funded by a grant from the Goodrich Trust, enters its 38th year with the same instructional staff as last year, and with a veteran counseling group headed by Dean of Students Davey Neal. Neal is in his 15th year with the program.
“Most of the students coming to OLAB know very little about it or what they’re getting into,” said Amidon. “They don’t realize at this point that one of their teachers (Shaheen) brokers the biggest business deals in collegiate athletics as the vice president of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. They don’t know that they’ll learn from people like Todd McDorman, Bert Barreto, and Frank Howland, who have combined for more than 60 years in college classrooms.”
Through the first 36 hours of OLAB, the students will study effective group decision-making, speech making, production accounting, and marketing. By Tuesday, the Labbies will be immersed in production decisions, marketing, advertising, and labor negotiations.
Labor negotiations are the closest the students will come to life in the real business world when Wabash alumni lawyers, many of whom are labor contract negotiators, come to campus to teach the students — and work hard to get the best deal possible for their fictional employees.
“Alumni who come for labor negotiations demonstrate their love of Wabash and their commitment to OLAB,” added Amidon. “Once again this year, Jon Pactor will lead the effort, and we’ll welcome back Brad Johnson ’71, Rick Cavanaugh ’76, Greg Estell ’85, and Tim Oliver ’91 — alumni who take part in OLAB almost every year. And it’s also exciting to have Kyle Coffey ’06 coming for the first time, and we are thrilled that Eric Lindley of the Goodrich Trust will return for a second year of negotiations. Also new to the program is Rick Dennerline, a Duke University graduate, who is a union labor negotiator.”
Wabash alumnus Chris Cotterill ’99, who serves as Chief of Staff to Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard, will lead a workshop on ethics in business. JoAn Scott, an executive with Nike and based in Colorado, conducts a workshop on marketing and advertising.
Later in the week, students will form into companies to compete in a computer simulated business world. All will produce, market, and attempt to sell handheld personal organizers in a competitive marketplace. The teams will be charged to differentiate themselves from competing firms, and build marketing strategies and advertising campaigns to drive sales growth.
“It’s a very full week,” said Amidon. “We try to instill in the students from day one that they need to pay attention, get involved, have fun, and think both critically, and creatively. Those are the keys to success and fun at OLAB.”
Graduation is set for Saturday, July 17 at 2:00 p.m. in the Fine Arts Center.
Participants in the 2010 OLAB program from Indiana include: Matthew Adsit of Indianapolis; Jonah Barreto of Plainfield; Daniel Burkett of Terre Haute; Robbie Covington of Evansville; Jack Cumming of Indianapolis; Brant Fettig of Cicero; Ben Finley of Westfield; Christian Frink of Merrillville; Cassandra Gelov of Carmel; David Gunderman of Zionsville; Tyler Hardcastle of Carmel; Lydia Harris of Crawfordsville; Emma Hatcher of Crawfordsville; Madison Hill of Indianapolis; Samantha Hou of Carmel; Trent Houghton of Rensselaer; Patrick Jones of Indianapolis; Adam Krueger of Indianapolis; Shravani Merugureddy of West Lafayette; Grant Miller of Indianapolis; David Odle of Linden; Kaitlin Payne of Carmel; Matt Renie of Indianapolis; Evan Rhea of Carmel; Michael Rice of Zionsville; Nick Smith of Carmel; Hannah Springer of Indianapolis; Greg Timm of Indianapolis; Tyler VanLul of Griffith; Luke Walker of Wingate; and Brandon Wright of Crawfordsville.
Out-of-state participants are: Daniel Akinkoye of Gaithersburg, Maryland; Megan Baer of Geneva, Illinois; Anqi Chen of Mason, Ohio; George Eason of Memphis, Tennessee; Nicole Feinberg of Huntington Woods, Michigan; Eunmin Kim of Seoul, South Korea; Ervin Meneses of Santa Ana, California; Jinsoo Na of Seoul, South Korea; Sushmitha Radhakrishnan of Duluth, Georgia; Rachel Robin of Hazewood, Missouri; Susan Santoyo of Chicago, Illinois; Alison Szykowny of Palos Heights, Illinois; Steven Wang of Hagerstown, Maryland; Alice Zhang of Tampa, Florida; and Simei Zhao of Ellicott City, Maryland.