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Friday, January 30, 2009

The Future of Business

Tim Salaver of the Golden Gate Chapter of APICS (San Francisco) posted a comment on the APICS Officers Listserve about his serving as a judge for his high school alma mater's Senior Projects. One category that the students could choose is business, and a few of them did (18 in fact). He has some valid questions about the future of business and how we educate and prepare our young people for careers in business.

When I was in high school (I won't say "I remember when I was in high school", because I mostly don't), I don't think there were any business classes at all, unless you count typing. Even though many of the students in my school were the sons and daughters of business owners (your typical small, mom-and-pop business that make up small towns), the emphasis was either on college prep, meaning math and sciences, or the trades (think wood shop).

Apparently some other schools are different, but is business part of the curriculum in high schools? From what I read in the news it's all about No Child Left Behind and test scores, which it seems are focused on reading/writing and math/science. Please let me know if I'm wrong. If that's the case, when do we start preparing people for careers in business? In college? That's good, but that's a late start.

World class musicians start learning and training when they're very young. Athletes start learning and training almost as soon as they can walk. Artists are artists because that's what they have to do. And we start teaching and training in math and the sciences as soon as the kids start school. But we mostly don't start teaching and training people for business until college.

How can we expect to compete in today's global marketplace with this lack of emphasis on business. Sure, many kids start working when they're in high school, or even sooner, but that's work, that's not learning and training. Yes, you do learn a lot, but mostly you learn how to do your job in that particular business.

Something to think about.

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