Over the summer, several members of the IMSA FBLA (Future Business Leaders of America) Chapter qualified and competed nationally at the 2022 National Leadership Conference (NLC) hosted in Chicago this year. With a chapter of about 50 members, 19 chapter competitors went on to represent IMSA at nationals, with one team advancing as Finalists and placing in the Top 15 across the entire nation in their competitive event. This is quite the achievement, and one to certainly be proud of.
Experiences like these serve more than to just work towards placing and receiving (regional, state, or national) recognition for. In fact, they can offer much more.
As students of an accelerated STEM institution, it wouldn’t be an unfounded statement to say that the vast majority of students do not look towards business-related opportunities. This may be because there isn’t enough conversation around the interconnectedness between STEM and business disciplines across diverse fields and professions, causing students to lack interest in exploring business because they are more intrigued by the STEM itself and not in the business concepts that allow these STEM industries to operate.
One of the greatest advantages of the field of business is the freedom and ability to pursue all kinds of interests. In support of this idea, consider the competitive events FBLA offers. FBLA offers the opportunity to develop new skills and be recognized and rewarded in competitive events like UX Design, Health Care Administration, Data Analysis, Coding and Programming, Mobile Application Development, and much more. Many of these STEM-aligned competitive events involve submitting a project demonstrating the competencies of the event topic, being tested on these competencies through an objective test, and showcasing and presenting your project to judges for a complete evaluation. This structure effectively delivers relevant career preparation opportunities by simulating real-world careers and processes.
This is valuable because it allows you to explore different areas of interests and could help you define your career path through experience over assumption. Additionally, work produced for competitions (if it applies) can also be put towards developing your personal digital portfolio.
Beyond the value of career exploration, involvement in an organization like FBLA also means attending competitive conferences. Aside from the competition aspect of the conferences, there are endless opportunities to attend professional development workshops, network, and learn from others. Attending these conferences makes it easily accessible to absorb the carefully curated information being presented because each and every aspect of planning these conferences is intentional towards its audience. At these conferences, you can engage with your like-minded peers, gain inspiration from each other, and contribute to the supportive environment.
There is also a significant opportunity for leadership development by running for leadership positions. These are available at a local, regional, state, and national level. It involves applying for the position and, if approved, running for candidacy and then an election. It’s an experience worth going for if interested. Whether you win or lose the election, the experience itself helps you refine your character and leadership abilities.
Youth business organizations offer students valuable insight into real-world careers, opportunities to elevate their skillset, recognition for their excellence, and help to grow and gain confidence as leaders.