Greenfield Junior Achievement teams lead in area competition
Teams take first, second places in simulated business world event
Greenfield - March Madness is coming, but Greenfield High School has already swept to victory in the simulated business world competition put on by Junior Achievement of Wisconsin.
Two teams from Greenfield High captured first and second places against competition from Brookfield East High school, Catholic Memorial, Homestead, Cedarburg, Sussex Hamilton and Greendale.
A total of 32 teams from 17 high schools in the four-county metro area set up virtual businesses to make a fictional product called a holo generator. It's like a smart phone except that it projects 3-D images. Each team made their own business decisions regarding price, production, marketing, capital investment, payroll management and research and development.
The success or failure of the company depended on how well the students managed these key decisions.
That was measured by a computer program called the JA Titan that judged the wisdom of the students' decisions, based on business models, said Ericka Gehrke, development coordinator for Junior Achievement of Wisconsin. Titan gave scores to each team.
Teams advance to state
The Greenfield High School team that captured first place consisted of Phillip Yang, Hamzah Mirza and Philips Nguyen.
Nailing down second for a Greenfield sweep of the top spots was the team of Annie Chan, Touger Vang and Srinidhi Emkay.
Both teams will go on to the statewide Junior Achievement Business Challenge in Sheboygan on April 25.
Hamzah, a junior at Greenfield High, now a veteran of two Business Challenges, said he has observed an important but sad fact that mistakes made at the beginning, when entrepreneurs are least experienced, can cost them dearly.
"If you mess up in the beginning, you have to work your way up for a while," Hamzah said.
His team came in with a strategy, but because he hopes to win the competition next year, too, Hamzah said he likes to keep marketing low in the beginning and R&D high. Capital investment is key. The more money you put back into the company, the more product it can make and the more profits, he said.
Competing head to head
But the virtual companies didn't operate in a vacuum. They competed head to head with each other. In the second round, the teams had to make adjustments, depending on what the competition was doing.
Competing with just 32 teams/companies making the same product was tough enough, but it gave Hamzah a new appreciation of what companies that have to take on both foreign and domestic competition have to face, he said.
It was eye-opening to see what business owners have to go through, Hamzah said.
That doesn't deter him, however, from wanting to get into the game for real.
He has his eye on the international business area, where he said he would like to first learn the ropes and then start his own manufacturing company.
At Greenfield High, he is gaining experience as president of the Future Business Leaders of America, which buys all sorts of products from various manufacturers and markets them to students, staff and parents. The products have included T-shirts, gym uniforms and water bottles.
Last year, Hamzah's team came in third. His sister's team, also from Greenfield High, captured first. He acknowledged getting some good tips from his sister, who has now graduated.
Business teacher Lee Kleszczynski coached the teams for the competition.
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