Let’s get down to business: Intro to Business class learns ins and outs of working world


Emily Webb

Mr. Rich helps Zach Skowron track his social media marketing analytics.

by Emily Webb and Harry Heitzig

What fast food restaurants should be in the cafeteria? Students in Roger Rich’s Introduction to Business class determined it should be Noodles and Company, Taco Bell, Wildcat’s Den, Texas Roadhouse, and Panera.

This food court proposal was one of the first projects of the semester. The project involved creating and researching a proposal to turn the school cafeteria into a food court. Students researched 12 different restaurant chains that had potential for the project and narrowed it down to five for their proposal. In the end, they proposed their plan to a panel of adults acting as a mock Board of Education. Through this project, they learned how to study economics in business and get real life experience.

“The food court project was really interesting. It was a lot of work, but it was cool to get that experience,” said Class of 2020 member Rachel Eaves.

“Introduction to Business is a class designed to teach students that they have the ability to be successful financially and in their careers. They learn all the ins and outs of how to navigate the career and financial requirements of life,” Rich said.

Rich has joined the faculty this year after teaching the class at Oakdale for two years, and he is passionate about how important this course is.

“It’s been great. Sometimes students get really frustrated. I don’t give them a rubric. I set them up to hit obstacles and to fail and then I help them through them. It teaches them to learn, to think, and how those skills can make them successful. It’s definitely different from most classes.”

Throughout the course, students work on five long-term projects that help them navigate through different skill sets needed to be successful in the business world.

One major project the students work on is centered around the stock market. The students had to create a plan to raise money for a non-profit organization of their choice. They presented their plan in teams to their classmates, and from the presentations, the students chose which proposals to fund by buying stocks.

Eaves’s project was a fundraiser for Fellowship of Christian Athletes. She and her group sold raffle tickets to raise money to send a student to FCA camp in the summer. Overall, she raised $250 to go towards the scholarship to send a student to camp.

The students also participated in the H&R Block Budget Challenge to teach them how to engage in real world money practices. For the challenge, they had to learn how to pay bills on time, how to manage a 401K, how to balance a credit card, and how to create wealth for themselves. The competition is scored nationwide, and Rich’s class ended up securing 35th place out of 909 classes nationwide. Not only did the class do well as a whole, there were twelve students who scored in the top 5% out of 24,701 students nationally.

Class of 2020 member Josh Massey said,”The H&R Block challenge taught me how to manage my finances and prepared me for the real world.”

In addition to these projects, the class also learned about social media marketing and how their presence online can affect their business. The students meticulously tracked and analyzed the results of their social media marketing based on today’s algorithms within various social media platforms. They also learned strategies to market and sell products on social media.

“It’s all real life stuff. It’s not classroom stuff. You’re learning about how to operate in the world. It’s your life, you have to learn to think and figure it out. It’s important to know how to work through problems when you are not handed solutions,” said Rich.

Student feedback from this class has been positive: most students, although hesitant at first, highly recommend the class.

“This class has helped me prepare for my future. I want to study business in college, so this class has given me a lot of helpful skills,” said Eaves.

The main thing Rich hopes students will take away from his class is confidence.

“What I hope they go away with is an understanding of how these skills will help them in the future and the confidence to make those decisions. This class is all about learning and having the confidence to do the things they may not want to do in life.”