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Youth Conduct Billion-Dollar Merger Simulations in YAB's Summer Camp

On Friday, June 6, 2014, Youth About Business's (YAB) high school students completed their complex mergers and acquisitions and presented their strategies to a panel of judges at the King & Spalding law firm office in Midtown.YAB's fast-track career training for minority youths is providing high school students in Atlanta a blueprint for business success.

YAB, in its 22nd year, originated this weeklong executive business training summer camp. With national and global corporations’ (Ernst & Young, J.P. Morgan, Deutsche Bank, etc.) support, it has established a stellar record of successful graduates and increased corporate funding. Columbia University, Emory University and Vanderbilt University are also partners.

About Youth About Business

The Nashville-based nonprofit's mission is to teach youth about corporate finance and professional skills development by immersing them into an intensive program led by industry leaders. Sam Kirk is the executive director whose 17-year business experience inspired the YAB Summer Business Camp. Southeast Market Director Belinda Campbell has recruited hundreds of students for this program. Previously, her daughter graduated from the program and is one of YAB's numerous success stories.

Executive Business Training Model of Success

Every year, 500 students participate in the YAB programs. The YAB Summer Business Camp includes a visit to Wall Street. The YAB Entrepreneurial Training Program entails business management and is conducted in the Southeast. Kevin Grady, managing director, Beecher Carlson and six-year board member of YAB said, "When you go to college and get into your careers, this will be an experience that will make you that much better than the person next to you."

As students assumed the roles of CEOs, COOs and CFOs, they discussed IPOs, calculated expected revenues, assessed shareholder value as well as learned the integral functions of human resources, information technology, etc.

At the Goizueta Business School located on Emory University's campus, John Gregg, CEO, SunTrust Robinson Humphrey was a guest speaker. He said, "In business, the best thing you can do is honestly attract and retain positive people with high integrity."

Dawn Mitchell, regional marketing manager, Nissan, was another notable guest speaker. Northeast Market Director Mark Braithwaite is also a Summer Business Camp graduate. He said, "High school students across the country don't do this kind of thing. They don't meet with executives and they don't take selfies with John Gregg."

Business Training Contributes to College Preparation

But not every student is excited about the program initially. Ruchi Rohra said, "I did not like speaking in front of a group but the program gave me so much confidence." Today she is a YAB intern and a student at Emory.

Spencer Rivera, a New York native, is also a camp graduate and intern. Currently, he is a student at Babson College, a private, top ranked business college.

Aalok Patel is an 18-year-old senior who will be attending the University of Georgia. Regarding the camp's schedule, he said, "I get up at 6:00 a.m., eat breakfast. . . then attend classes . . . the day ends at midnight."

However, students continued to work on their projects until dawn. Patel also said, "I like it [the rigorous schedule]. It's what it takes to succeed." Kendra Rankins, 15, said, "Networking is one big aspect."

As Kirk said, "Business training is life training. It's not what you do on the day of competition but how you practice everyday." YAB gives youths the opportunity to cultivate their entrepreneurial talents now so their laserlike focus and business prowess will culminate in success tomorrow. With this kind of mindset, a seat at the C-suite table is guaranteed.

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