Underrepresented Students Learn Business Skills at Haslam Summer Program

June 28, 2015

Twenty-nine high school students from across the Southeast met with corporate executives and professors from the Haslam College of Business last week. The program introduces first generation college students and ethnicities that are underrepresented at the college level to the business world.

Business Education for Talented Students (BETS) not only educates rising high school seniors on office etiquette and business career possibilities, but also exposes them to college life and campus resources aimed at helping them succeed. The program, which is free to students, is in its eighth year.

While on campus, students heard from every department in the business school. They toured Dixon Hughes Goodman in Atlanta, and Radio Systems Inc. (the owners of PetSafe) and the mayor’s office in Knoxville.

The program included two lectures on leadership from representatives of Boeing and Mike West of BPV Capital Management. Buddy Lewis, a senior executive in sales at PepsiCo, gave the closing remarks on Saturday, June 27.

The week concluded with a marketplace competition, where students applied the business skills they learned throughout the week during a team-based simulation running a company as business professionals.

The program is a great recruiting tool, said Tyvi Small, Haslam’s director of diversity and community relations. Of the 150 students who have completed BETS since its inception, 64 have matriculated at the University of Tennessee, with 42 choosing business majors.

Participants in the 2015 program have an average GPA of 3.45, have demonstrated leadership and community involvement, and were nominated by a teacher or community leader.

The 2015 BETS program was sponsored by McCormick, Dixon Hughes Goodman, PepsiCo, Boeing and Scripps Networks.