Phi Beta Lambda (PBL) hosted the American Business Competition at the Nebraska Union, February 1, welcoming 400 high school Future Business Leaders of American (FBLA) to the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. Cody McCain, a sophomore accounting and agribusiness major with a minor in finance, served as co-director for the event which allows students from around the state to measure themselves against peers in a wide-range of business-oriented activities.
McCain participated in the competition in high school and remembers the positive impression it made on him. He began managing the event as a freshman at the College of Business Administration because he wanted to Start Something by helping future business students.
“My main motivation was giving back to students in a similar place to me when I was in high school,” said McCain, who is from Aurora, Nebraska. “I served as state president of FBLA. It was an honor to serve and helped me learn what it takes to run an organization.”
He believes the competition helps high school students in many ways. This year’s event included 13 testing areas, including two levels of accounting, introduction to business, introduction to financial math, economics, global business, management decision making, business communication, personal finance, marketing, business calculations, parliamentary procedures and FBLA principles and procedures. A job interview option provided students the chance to test presentation skills with members of the UNL Career Services office.
“Students who participate in job interviews get feedback from our career coach judges. Those skills prepare students for professional interviews before entering college. The tests let students gauge knowledge they learn in the classroom, and give them a chance to be recognized. It builds their résumés and also helps them make career choices based on their best areas,” he said.
FBLA is the high school equivalent of the PBL group for college students. Both organizations strive to help students develop business and leadership skills. Six PBL members comprise the conference directors which helps teach them new skills too.
“We learn how to work as a team including planning, organizing and communication skills,” said McCain. “The amount of communication is incredible from logistics with the high schools to working with UNL Career Services, Scanning Services, Parking Services and other areas. It gives us a better understanding how to work within different systems, and prepares us to handle all the interactions the day of the competition.”
Interim Dean of the College of Business Administration, Dr. Kathy Farrell, gave the introductory address. She showed a video of the new CBA building and encouraged students to consider Nebraska for college.
“The significance of CBA is more than the new building,” said Farrell. “We are building a college funded by alumni for future alumni. We hope you consider becoming one of our future alumni. You can make a significant contribution to our college no matter what area of business you choose.”
In addition to McCain, other conference directors included:
Adam Bastian, freshman, finance major from Jordan, Minnesota
Megan Copsey, freshman, business administration major from Gering, Nebraska
Megan McCann, freshman, actuarial science major from Stillwater, Oklahoma
Katie O’Neil, sophomore, advertising and public relations major from Dunbar, Nebraska
Bekah Otten, freshman, economics and finance major from Crystal Lake, Illinois
Phi Beta Lambda webpage