Today marked the second day of Minnesota Business Venture (MBV) at St. John’s University! After breakfast and a quick company meeting, students gathered in the auditorium to listen to Michael Keller, former CEO & President of Pearson’s Candy Company. The topic of Keller’s presentation was ‘Developing Your Personal Brand’, and Keller encouraged students to make their mark in a unique way, asking: “What makes you unique? What do you love to do? What do you stand for?” Students pondered these questions as Keller discussed the methods people use to present themselves and their personal attributes. Near the end of the presentation, Keller emphasized the importance of one’s first impression, especially on social media. “Make sure the person you’ve put out there on the digital world is someone you’re proud of,” Keller advised the students.
Next, students gathered on the lawn to participate in another one of MBV’s favorite traditions: Camp Jam. In a race against the clock, companies competed against one another to complete a list of tasks, such as untangling a human knot, juggling scarves, walking like elephants, and flipping water bottles. It was exciting to see students laughing and collaborating with one another as they worked through each silly item on the list. Company F was announced as the winner at the conclusion of Camp Jam for completing the most tasks within the time frame.
Following lunch, the students were split into two groups. Half of the students went to Guild Hall for the Career Expo, an event new to MBV this year. Students met with representatives from 3M, Wells Fargo, Ecolab, Shapco Printing, and Project Build MN. Each of these representatives explained the goals, the products, and the careers at their company. Project Build MN even allowed students an opportunity to build window frames during the Expo. The other half of the students were led by a lovely college students to take tours of the St. John’s University campus, becoming more familiar with this week’s location of MBV.
Later in the afternoon, the students split up once again to attend Career Skills Breakout Sessions. Randy Daniels of USI Insurance Services taught students about the importance of public speaking, sharing tips of what is involved in an effective presentation. Evelena Hillman of Optum explained the process of interviewing and gave advice about having a successful interview. Students also learned about emotional intelligence from Sarah Olson of Allianz Life, teamwork from Julie Hanson of RBC Wealth Management, and 21st century job skills from Michael Reeves of Next Steps 2 Success, LLC. Overall, these sessions were helpful in strengthening skills that the students will need for future careers as well as adulthood.
In the evening, everyone gathered near the volleyball courts to enjoy a picnic dinner and the lovely summer weather. Then, all MBV students and staff gathered on the steps to take a large group photo, everyone grinning and proudly sporting their purple and white MBV t-shirts.
Afterward, students split into their companies to have an important meeting about the big project of the week. Each company is given the challenge of creating an original business plan with marketing, operational, and financial details included. At the end of the week, companies will present their product to a group of ‘investors’ (volunteers from Minnesota’s business community). If their presentations are thorough and creative, companies will receive a ‘loan’ from the investors, successfully completing the challenge. Tonight, students started brainstorming product ideas and split into marketing, operational, and financial teams.
The second day of MBV has flown by quickly! We can’t wait to see what companies come up with for their product ideas. It was wonderful to see the students interested in learning more about companies, careers, and career skills. We are looking forward to another exciting day of camp tomorrow!