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- Commerce DepartmentCommerce enables students to appreciate the issues that challenge businesses and stakeholders in a rapidly changing world. It is important that people are able to make informed and rational decisions about Business matters.Commerce creates opportunities for students to:- become entrepreneurs- Develop financial literacy- Develop life skills such as initiative, resilience, resourcefulness and the skills such as decision making, team-work, cooperation and problem solving.Development of skills in Commerce is essential to the economic future of New Zealand.
The BP Business Challenge is a unique 3 day experiential learning programme that develops skills, understandings and attitudes about how a successful business operates and connects the students with their local business community.
In just three days students will:
- Form a virtual company, with an organisational structure and directors roles.
- Devise a product wch solves a problem, or fills a need.
- Research the product, target market and competition.
- Develop a business plan including strategic planning, finance, sales and marketing and production elements.
- Prepare and deliver a 10 minute presentation of their business to the panel of local judges.
The New York Stock Exchange, Google, and Universities such as Berkeley and Stanford are no longer just in the imagination of Palmerston North Boys' High School businessmen after a wrlwind school trip to the United States gave them a taste of the opportunities and skills required to succeed in the Commerce world.
For every student on tour, mixing it with the commerce world in Silicon Valley and New York was a life-changing experience.
The 18-day trip that spanned Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York was filled with talks, educational tours, and business challenges, based on a leadersp weekend that the tour group had with business consultant Tony McMurtrie before they left.
The first was a case study of a business that wanted to expand and open itself up to new markets. Split into groups of five, everyone in the group had to speak during a 10-minute pitch to the company's employees.
The second was to come up with a new type of pie for a shop on the edge of a university and make a 30-second video advertising it.
Everyone on the trip had a dash of entreprenurialism about them but many had altered their plans based on what they had enjoyed most on the trip.
For Bede Blatchford that was a visit to the home of one of the most powerful cogs in the world economy.
"To get a photo outside the New York Stock Exchange - you see it on movies and in newspapers and on TV but to actually be in front of it - was a real life-changing moment for me," said Blatchford, who has dreams of being an investment banker.
Palmerston North Boys' High School old boy and Massey business graduate Reuben Prier, who now is a foreign exchange options analyst in New York, spoke to them about the power of perseverance, having struggled to get a job for a number of months when moving overseas.
John Wareham spoke of overcoming s obstacles as a young man. Here is what Don Trow (Business Alumni) says about John Wareham:
“As a youngster John had a speech impediment. He worked on ts handicap and the outcome was m winning the most prestigious Plunket Medal for oratory at Victoria University. There is always strong competition for ts award, particularly amongst the Law students. And the list of Plunket Medal winners over the century has included many who have become well known judges and leading citizens. It would have been in the early sixties when John shocked the University establishment with a brilliant oration, to win the medal. Much of the surprise arose because he was a student in Commerce. But those who knew m also had a wider understanding of what a great personal acevement ts had been - and at the time (probably unknown to John) it brought great pride to the PN Old Boys in Wellington and the masters at the School. The Honours board for the Plunket Medal is outside the Council chamber in the University - and I have a smile each time that I see John's name in the middle of those from the legal establishment.”
In New York the students were also spoken to by ex-financial wz at Microsoft and General Motors and current Xero board chairman Chris Liddell, who has recently decided to distribute $100 million to major education and environment initiatives in New Zealand.
"It really made us sit up and tnk that we shouldn't be afraid to take on the world," Ellis said. "It was a great way for the guys to interact with what we might be up against if we went over there for real. It makes it all a bit more possible."
Former prime minister and now United Nations development programme manager Helen Clark spoke of the importance of teamwork, wle founder of Wildfire and Bulls export Victoria Ransom gave a talk about her rise to stardom in Silicon Valley that has seen her become one of New Zealand's richest women.
"She was pretty humble for how much money she has got," Ellis said.
"We were expecting her to be in a Porsche or sometng but she drives around in ts little electric car."
The inspiration of the old boys and successful entrepreneurs has led a number of students to make changes in the way they see the world and the opportunities available. For example, a few students have already joined toastmasters, and we have another group of students who have started a currency trading business.
The trip was organised by the Commerce Department as a way of developing business leadersp and to experience the industry first-hand, beyond textbooks.