Wright State’s Professional Business Institute receives donation

Mark Romito, right, director of external and legislative affairs at AT&T, presents a check to Thomas L. Traynor, dean of the Raj Soin College of Business. Also pictured are Wright State business students Holley Mapel and Kaleigh Bennett. (Photo by Chris Snyder)

Local high school students received a glimpse into the business world and career options, thanks to a generous gift from AT&T to the Wright State University Foundation.

“AT&T supports Wright State University’s efforts to provide programming that helps students graduate and prepares them to meet future workforce needs,” said Mark Romito, director of external and legislative affairs at AT&T.

The Professional Business Institute (PBI), established in 2013, brings high school students to the Wright State Raj Soin College of Business (RSCOB) for a weeklong summer camp that gives them a unique experience in the world of business.

“By introducing students to higher learning through an onsite college experience, the Professional Business Institute complements AT&T’s philanthropic emphasis on college readiness and workforce development,” said Romito.

Students learn basic concepts in each of the fields of business, and work in teams to tackle challenges created by Scene 75 Entertainment Center, the hosting business sponsor for the experiential learning program. Students then make professional presentations to a panel of judges. The members of the winning team who decide to enroll at Wright State University receive a $500 scholarship.

“The generous contribution made by AT&T to the Wright State University Foundation enables the Raj Soin College of Business to recruit underrepresented students by offering tuition-free enrollment-providing access to the PBI that they otherwise might not have,” said Thomas L. Traynor, RSCOB dean. “In so doing, AT&T helps inspire students to complete their secondary education and pursue a college degree.”

The five-day residential experience introduces junior and senior high school students to the disciplines of economics, accounting, marketing, finance, management and information systems management. Students are engaged in real-world business simulations that help them learn about local business and entrepreneurs through research and collaborative activities, showing them the connection between their academic studies and real-world applications.

The program is available to high schools throughout Raider Country, the contiguous 16-county region in southwest Ohio anchored by Wright State’s campuses in Dayton and Celina, with a focus on high schools with greater numbers of at-risk students.

High school students learned about the power of data in Wright State’s Data Analytics and Visualization Environment (DAVE) lab during the college immersion experience.

High schools selected into the program are partnered with College of Business faculty and staff, local business executives and current college business students in an experiential learning environment to help define, discover and support the students’ interests in pursuing a business discipline upon successful high school graduation.

Student teams are led and mentored by former PBI alumni who are current RSCOB students. Each team collaborates with a local company and competes in a business challenge comprised of a series of interactive simulations.

Program content includes education and experiences around critical thinking, creative development, communication and presentation skills, applied business skills and real-life business challenges. Students also learn about core business disciplines the college offers to help shape their post-secondary educational goals after high school graduation.

High school students also receive a “college primer” immersion experience by staying on campus, interacting with peers and participating in social activities that stress leadership and team building, designed to facilitate their entrance into college.

“The college goal to recruit and prepare students to enter the workforce is epitomized by the PBI, and corporate engagement is a big part of our success,” said Traynor.

The Professional Business Institute will resume in the summer of 2019. For more information, visit wright.edu/event/professional-business-institute or contact the Raj Soin College of Business Dean’s Office at 937-775-2812 or rscob-pbi@wright.edu.

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