Skip to Main Content

46th OLAB Program Underway

Rising high school seniors from around the world arrived on the Wabash College campus Sunday, marking the 46th consecutive year of the Opportunities to Learn About Business Program. OLAB is one of the most highly regarded summer business program targeted at high school students in the United States.

“The OLAB program continues to be a pretty well-kept secret, but students find us through a variety of online sources and word-of-mouth from nearly 3,000 OLAB graduates over the years,” said OLAB Director Jim Amidon. “Business is truly global, so bringing students together from all across the United States and three foreign countries will help these talented young people understand just how small our world really is.”

Forty-seven students attending OLAB come from eight states and three foreign countries. The students will race through a schedule that is fast-paced and full of fun, but this year includes significant changes over prior years. 

Rhetoric Professor Todd McDorman“Labbies,” as participants are known, got started immediately with a Sunday afternoon workshop led by Wabash Rhetoric Professor Todd McDorman, before diving headlong into production and marketing games led by Econ Prof Barreto and Shaheen. OLAB and Wabash alumnus Davey Neal will lead a workshop on business ethics, and Steve Stapleton will give a guest lecture on the stock market.

Participants in OLAB are immersed in the study of effective group decision making, speech making, accounting, production, marketing, advertising, and they will even negotiate a labor agreement on Wednesday. A crew of labor lawyers, attorneys, bankers, and trust officers, mostly Wabash alumni led by Jon Pactor ’71, will arrive Wednesday to teach the students the intricacies of labor negotiations.

Greg Shaheen“Even though the formula has worked for over four decades, Game Master Greg Shaheen, Professor Humberto Barreto, and I decided to switch up several academic modules to maximize the impact of the classroom work and the business simulation,” Amidon said. “In addition to significant changes to marketing presentations and labor negotiations, we’ve moved an exciting workshop on business ethics earlier in the week. We felt that in today’s sometimes questionable business world, that our students would be well served to get a dose of ethics right out of the gate.”

When not in class or trying to master the business simulation, students are kept busy during recreation periods and with nightly programming led by a strong counseling staff. Counselors include Deans of Students Brittany Craft (13 years of experience) and Seth Gunderman (7 years), along with Kojo Manu (7 years), Caroline Payne (2 years), and first-year counselors Jacob Cooley, Madi Gourley, and Joel Gunderman. All of the counselors are past OLAB participants. 

“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. And, of course, they are keys to their success as high school seniors and in the future as they head off to college. Everything we teach in OLAB is applicable to everyday life, whether they enter business or some other academic or professional discipline.”

The Goodrich Trust continues to be the anchoring sponsor of the OLAB program. The program also receives significant contributions from the D.J. Angus Scientech Foundation and the Rotary Club of Carmel, Indiana, as well private individuals.

Graduation is set for Saturday, July 14 at 2:00 p.m. in the Fine Arts Center.