BYU CIBER Hosts High School Business Language Competition

May 24 2011


Seven teams of students from Utah high schools put their marketing and Spanish skills to the test as they competed in the second High School Business Language Competition. The event, sponsored by the Whitmore Global Management Center/BYU CIBER, the Center for the Study of Europe and Nu Skin Enterprises, was held at Brigham Young University's Marriott School of Management on April 29.

Bruce Money, an international business professor, says the competition offers high school students a unique chance to improve their language and business skills.

"A young person with a second language in America is a rare and a very marketable commodity," he says. "I believe that events like this turbo charge students' careers with bilingualism. It's a very powerful thing."

The participating high schools organized teams that included heritage and non-heritage Spanish-speaking students. These teams had about four months to prepare a business plan marketing a Nu Skin product to the Utah Hispanic community. Within that time, students created their strategies and honed their presentations while learning business terms in Spanish.

A panel of Spanish-speaking professionals, including Nu Skin managers and BYU employees, judged the presentations — given in Spanish — and awarded Bingham High School first place. Skyline High School and Orem High School came in second and third place, respectively. Other participants included Spanish Fork High School, Timpview High School, Wasatch High School and Lone Peak High School.

Second-time participant Alan Tovar, a senior from Skyline High School, says his experiences competing taught him what is important in a business strategy: teamwork and focusing on consumer wants.

In addition, he says he was able to apply the language he grew up speaking — Spanish — to business.

"It's fun because I can see how to use the language in a different way," he says. "I'm planning on going into international business, so this will help my career."

Non-heritage Spanish-speaker Vanessa Wall, a junior from Bingham High School, overcame the challenge of presenting in a relatively new language.

"I was a little nervous presenting in Spanish, but the whole experience was great," she says. "It opened my eyes to the business world."

The Marriott School is located at Brigham Young University, the largest privately owned, church-sponsored university in the United States. The school has nationally recognized programs in accounting, business management, public management, information systems and entrepreneurship. The school's mission is to prepare men and women of faith, character and professional ability for positions of leadership throughout the world. Approximately 3,000 students are enrolled in the Marriott School's graduate and undergraduate programs.

Contact Joseph Ogden (801) 422-8938
Writer: Angela Marler