Foad Karimian and Mike OuelletteDirector Foad Karimian and team leader Mike Ouellette of the Odette High School Leadership Initiative.

Business students sharing skills with high schoolers

Until students have opportunities to apply their learning, they cannot grow, says the director of a program aimed at developing business skills in local high schools.

Foad Karimian, a fourth-year student at the Odette School of Business, developed the Odette High School Leadership Initiative as a way to benefit both university students and their secondary school charges. The program sends mentors into high school classrooms to conduct a five day workshop in case analysis. Teams compete within their schools, with the best advancing to a final, April 1 in the Odette Building.

“We give them leadership skills—critical thinking, problem-solving, teamwork and presentation,” says Karimian. “And our university mentors sharpen their own abilities to train and lead.”

Third-year Odette student Mike Ouellette, a team leader, says he has been impressed by the development of the high school protégés in just one week of training.

“The growth of the students from Monday to Friday is amazing,” he says. “It is wonderful to see so much progress.”

The program now involves 30 business students at the graduate and undergraduate level mentoring eight classes in six secondary schools.

“The program has found so much support from the schools and the faculty,” Karimian says. “People have really been buying into it.”

The champions from each high school will gather Tuesday, along with Odette students, professors, and business leaders for the competition final. It starts at 5 p.m. in room 123, south wing of the Odette Building.

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