Samsung Hosts Junior Achievement Students for Virtual Business Competition
Excitement was palpable as young entrepreneurs from across New Jersey gathered on Thursday at Samsung Electronics America’s U.S. headquarters, in Ridgefield Park for the regional round of the New Jersey Junior Achievement (JA) Titan Challenge.
The virtual competition challenges students to play the role of corporate business leaders by making decisions that steer their company to success. Contestants set prices, determine production levels, make capital investments, develop budgets and allocate resources to marketing and research activities, while an algorithm crunches the data using market intelligence to identify the winning teams based on a performance index.
Sixteen of the first-round winning teams arrived ready for their next set of challenging business decisions – as well as a networking opportunity to hear from Samsung executives about the real world of work.
“Don’t be afraid to make mistakes,” said Joe Stinziano, Executive Vice President Consumer Business Division for Samsung Electronics America, as he welcomed student teams to the regional Titan contest round. “Be okay with being flexible and changing your plan.”
Stinziano, who also serves on the Board of Directors for Junior Achievement of New Jersey, praised the competitors as “sophisticated” business students and encouraged them to follow their heart as much as they follow their brain when choosing their professional path.
“Where I grew up, we all knew we’d need an extra break or two to succeed in life,” Stinziano said. “Junior Achievement gives these kids not only a business framework but also a chance to think about how they want to contribute to society, to give back.”
After the students grappled with decisions affecting the profit, sales and market share of their virtual companies, other Samsung executives joined them for networking during lunch to learn more about how these skills apply to a real-world business environment.
“It was great visiting Samsung and seeing the types of jobs we might want in technology – technology that doesn’t even exist yet,” said Alex K., of team M.A.D., a Junior at Union County Vocational-Technical High School, one of two first-place winners of the challenge.
“It was so interesting to find out what Samsung is looking for when hiring – and what we might want to work on in terms of character, education and skills,” said teammate David G.
Open only to members of FBLA and DECA middle and high school business clubs, the New Jersey JA Titan competition attracted more than 200 teams for the virtual elimination round held in November. Sixty-four of them proceeded to the regionals, being held at four different corporate offices this month, including Samsung. First and Second Place winners from two groups at the Samsung-hosted round of competition now advance to the championship round in February.
“We love these regional rounds with our corporate partners, because it’s a great opportunity for our students to network with Samsung employees and really get a taste of what Samsung is like,” said New Jersey JA program manager Katelyn Serpe. “We’re able to offer all of our programs free of cost to students and schools throughout the state in part because of our awesome corporate partners, like Samsung.”
New Jersey Junior Achievement is one of more than 100 area offices of Junior Achievement USA whose programs help prepare students for the real world by showing them how to generate wealth and effectively manage it, how to create jobs that make their communities more robust and how to apply entrepreneurial thinking to the workplace.