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Eberly Hosts Junior Achievement Titan Business Challenge

Area high school students competed in the Titan Business Challenge on March 10, 2011, at the Eberly College of Business and Information Technology (ECOBIT).

High school students working together during the Junior Achievement Titan Business Challenge.
High school students working together during the Junior Achievement Titan Business Challenge.

Junior Achievement of Western Pennsylvania held the tournament-style competition, in which nearly one hundred students from eight school districts competed by using JA Titan, an online business simulation, in two of the computer labs at Indiana University of Pennsylvania’s business college.

The districts represented were Berlin Brothersvalley, Blairsville, Connellsville, Indiana, Marion Center, Richland, Shade, and Somerset.

Eric Palmer, an instructor in IUP’s Management Department and co-director of the Excellence in Entrepreneurial Leadership Center (Excel) at IUP, coordinated the competition. Palmer is also the vice chairperson of JA of Indiana County.

“JA has worked closely with the Excel Center to give regional high school students exposure to entrepreneurial opportunities and learning experiences,” Palmer said.

Teams of two to three students, aided by business consultants, competed in two main rounds, with each round representing a business quarter. The quarters were divided into shorter five-to-ten-minute quarters, during which students acted as CEOs of real companies and collaborated to make business decisions based on real market factors, said Kelli Ruiz, director of education at Junior Achievement.

The business consultants included Jan Brocious of Indiana Junior High School, JoAlyce Kopinski and Shirley Stuby of Somerset Trust Co., Rick Pavic of CBM Business Machines, Greg Petyak of the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown, and Barbara Zuchelli of Allegheny College of Maryland-Somerset County Campus.

Competition winners Zachary Thompson (left) and Nathan Blose of Indiana
Competition winners Zachary Thompson (left) and Nathan Blose of Indiana

“Using the JA Titan program, three students are teamed with a business consultant and taught in an entertaining and engaging way about the nuances of running a global business,” Ruiz said. “The success or failure of the company depends on how well the students manage key decisions.”

The software teaches students skills such as applying business decisions, free-enterprise competition, and utilizing balance sheets, industry reports, market conditions, and profit and loss statements, as well as teamwork and leadership skills, Ruiz said.

“The purpose of this competition is to unleash student creativity, test leadership skills, and demonstrate the competitive nature of the free enterprise system,” she said.

Indiana Area Senior High School’s team of Zachary Thompson and Nathan Blose won the competition with a total of 736 points. Richland High School placed second with 676.5, and Shade Junior/Senior High School placed third with 559.

by Rose Catlos

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