Student Spotlight: Vibe, the Official Student Store
Adapted from the original blog post here on NCPA’s site, we’re excited to share the student-run business pursuits thriving at Nansha College Preparatory Academy. Special thanks to Deanna Zinger, sponsor of the school store, for her additional details and insight into the hard work and innovation of these NCPA entrepreneurs. As Michael Cyrus, Director of NCPA, notes, “I am really proud of the work Deanna has done! She is a CPA and the spouse of one of our PE teachers and she has taken on this project with aplomb. Not only has she rallied a group of students to open and manage the store, but she has also founded a chapter of FBLA on our campus. As we don’t offer business as part of our curriculum, this is an amazing opportunity for our kids to learn more and learn deeply about a topic that many of them want to pursue in college.“
Founding a New Chapter
Where are the boundaries of your abilities? At Nansha College Preparatory Academy in Guangzhou, China, students are encouraged to push theirs every day through hands-on experiences. A long-time proponent of implemented Project Based Learning, NCPA encourages innovation through programs like engaging STEM courses, their Inno-Hub maker space, and most recently, through their very own chapter of Future Business Leaders of America, FBLA-China.
The afterschool club invites students of all experience to learn more about business, plus opens eligibility to compete in global FBLA business competitions. 51 NCPA students participated in this year’s competition, choosing to compete in marketing, global business, banking & financial, or entrepreneurship. After the students took a written test on the NCPA campus in December, three of the teams were invited to the China Finals in Shanghai. There, they took another test and gave a live case analysis and presentation to a panel of judges.
“There was over 150 teams in China that took part in this competition,” Deanna Zinger shared. “Many of these teams come from high schools with extensive business programs and previous FBLA competition experience. We were thrilled with our results for our first year! All of our teams placed within the top 20 of their respective divisions. The students are already excited for next year’s competition and have started preparing.”
Welcome to Vibe
In the meantime, the students are ready to take their business experience and interest beyond the competition and into their daily school life. From the group of 51 students that participated in the FBLA competition, a team of about 20 students gathered to try something new: they launched Vibe, the first campus store, officially ready for business at the beginning of the year with an opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony.
“This opportunity has given the students real-life business experience,” Deanna said. “My role as an advisor for this group is to provide guidance and support. The students take the lead in all aspects of this business. They continue to impress me with their leadership skills and their commitment to making the store a continued success.”
In order to create a successful store, the students have created an effective structure of leadership, accountability, and specialization. As Deanna explained, “Our CFO leads our finance team. These students are in charge of recording all business activity in our accounting software. They also prepare monthly financial reports for our management team to review. Our CMO leads our marketing and design teams. These students are in charge of running our official WeChat account. They post articles about our upcoming seasonal promotions and events as well as our new products. This team also designs our promotional posters and designs our new clothing and products for the store. Our COO oversees all aspects of our team. He is also actively involved with our inventory team who sources our products from local vendors.”
Opening and running a store doesn’t come without its challenges, such as navigating budget balances and sourcing supplies for the store. Those kinds of obstacles also opportunities for these business owners to tackle real economic problems, own their work, and grow all the more empowered to take on tests beyond their textbooks.
At the end of this month, the COO, CMO, and CFO will have their first presentation to NCPA Board of Directors that includes Michael Cyrus, Lila Leung, and several other school leaders. The students will provide a summary of operations so far, as well as full financial report and discussion for next school year’s strategic plan. We’re cheering on the students presenting at the end of this month, and congratulating them all on an amazing initiative. Vibe, and any other ventures these entrepreneurs pursue are in good hands!