MUSCATINE, Iowa–Though taking business classes helps students determine if a career in that field would appeal to them, a hands on experience provides young people with an unparalleled chance at exploring potential careers for themselves. As the culmination of the Junior Achievement Titan in class program for high school students, teams in Iowa can compete in the David and Agnes Palmer Junior Achievement Titan contest to put their business skills into action. In the qualifying round, held Nov. 8 at KENT Corporation headquarters in Muscatine, students from Wilton High School placed first and will continue on to the final round held at Palmer College of Chiropractic in the Quad Cities later this month.
A simulation of running a business, each team in the Junior Achievement Titan competition pretends to own a cell phone company. Over the course of 12 quarters, the students must cooperate to make decisions about what products to sell, how to price them, when to open or close factories, whether they should hire or lay off workers, and what sorts of wages and benefits they should provide. A real-time simulation that responds to what other contestants do with their businesses, students must try to get the edge on their competition and accrue the most victory currency to win.
This year, teams from five high schools, Columbus Junction, Mediapolis, Muscatine, West Liberty, and Wilton came to KENT Corporation to participate in the contest. After starting the morning with a practice round, where teachers and volunteer mentors could help the students get a feel for the contest, students went head to head without any assistance to see whose company would have the most success. In the end, students from Wilton Junior-Senior High School placed first and students from Mediapolis High School earned second. This week, the students from Wilton will continue on to the final competition where they will face off against winners from three other regions in the state. The will also have the opportunity to each win a $1,000 scholarship if they place first, a $750 scholarship if they place second, and a $250 scholarship if they place third.
A free opportunity for students to put their business skills to the test and explore a potential career field, Junior Achievement of the Heartland Senior Director of Marketing and Special Events Katie Sothmann felt pleased to offer this opportunity to area students again this year. “I think this learning experience is so beneficial–the students say so and so do the community mentors,” she observed: “Titan is one of my favorites. It’s an experience where you don’t see anything else like it. We’re happy to be able to offer this to the students,” she added.
Sothmann also welcomed the chance to partner with KENT Corporation as the host for the Titan contest for the first time ever, as it allowed students to see for themselves how a real corporate office operates. “They’re being amazing hosts,” Sothmann reported.