Pictured: GopherBusiness participants Pankeel Shah, Gabriel Lee, Brianna Woo, and Hannon Wilson
Now in its seventh year, GopherBusiness invited 47 students this summer to visit businesses like Travelers’ and Izzy’s Ice Cream, participate in mock Carlson School courses, network with local leaders, compete in a case competition, and more.
Brianna Woo, a program participant, says GopherBusiness helped her to see that business is more than just selling products: she learned about disciplines like supply chain and operations, non-profit management, and international business.
Hannon Wilson valued the relationships he forged at GopherBusiness, mentioning his fellow campers, university staff and the camp leaders, which were comprised of current Carlson School students.
“I feel like Gopher Business has allowed me to network better and make more connections that can continually help me in college,” says Wilson. “What I really like about the leaders is that they continually assure that we can get to where we are and we can make it, and that’s just cool to have.”
GopherBusiness is designed to encourage talented high school students from diverse backgrounds to explore the many opportunities a career in business presents. This year, 85 percent of participants were students of color or underrepresented groups, and 39 percent were first-generation college students. The lessons the participants learn at the program will prepare them for success in any discipline or career path they choose.
For the first time this year, nearly a dozen GopherBusiness alumni attended a dinner where they connected with current participants and answered questions about how GopherBusiness affected their college career and beyond.
“I got to experience the campus and the staff that work here, which is not something you get to experience on the tours,” says GopherBusiness alum Zoe Lim, '19 BSB. “So even if they don't want to go to the University of Minnesota, I think it's a good intro to how college life is and what you do and what you want to look for when you go to college.”
Wenshi Zhang, another program alum, graduated from the University of Minnesota’s College of Science of Engineering this year and secured a job as a petroleum engineer. While he didn't enter a traditional business field, he still values the knowledge that GopherBusiness gave him about the business world.
“Explore both [science and business] because you're still young,” Zhang advises to potential GopherBusiness participants who were like him, unsure whether science or business was the right path. After all, he reasons, why not learn as much as you can? “If you really have a passion for it, you'll find a dream of a week in GopherBusiness.”
Pictured: GopherBusiness alumni Zoe Lim, Wenshi Zhang, and Shayla Thacker