As a first-time Company Advisor (CA) who never had the opportunity to attend JA Business Week as a student, I had no idea what the week would have in store for me. I’d heard the hype from veteran CAs and Junior Achievement staffers, but – as I sat in the auditorium with my Company C students listening to the Welcoming Ceremonies – I was feeling equally excited and nervous about the whole thing.
Fast forward to six days later, and I can honestly say that JA Business Week not only lived up to the hype – it surpassed it. As a CA, one of the most rewarding aspects of the week was seeing the students of Company C – all with diverse perspectives, backgrounds and levels of exposure to the business world – come together and work towards a common goal.
JA Business Week doesn’t just present students with a final project they must complete – it challenges them to push themselves outside of their comfort zones. The true value of the experience isn’t about coming up with the best product idea or strategy. It’s about learning the skills that really set you apart in the business world: working well with different personalities, navigating disagreements, and inspiring others to get on board with a unified vision.
At the end of the week, all of Company C’s hard work and all of the ups and downs of the week paid off, and the students took home first place in the Track 1 Otterbox Challenge. When the judges announced the winning company, it wasn’t just excitement I could see on the students’ faces. Thinking back to everything they had overcome to get to that point, I could see a true sense of pride and newfound belief in themselves.