The Student Enterprises of Berry College, located just north of Rome on Martha Berry Hwy in Floyd County, is a hands-on approach to business education in the area; but really it is much more than that. I only found this out last week when I went to visit their operation on the Berry College campus.
After scheduling a meeting with the corporate team, BEST, that organizes the 13 individual student lead businesses I fully expected them to be composed of non-student staff or business professors employed by the college. It turns out this assumption couldn’t not have been more wrong. The corporate head of the student enterprises were students themselves. These rare student-business specimens were all on the ball and eagerly waiting for my entry into their offices located on the bottom floor of the college’s business school.
“Why should I be disappointed that they are students? These people seem to know what they are doing” I said to myself as I shook the hand of the assertive female team leader. The BEST team showed me the fruits of their labor: charts and numbers of a seemingly successful business venture.
The spirit in which these students peruse their jobs seemed to have permeated into the rest of the 90 or so members of Berry’s Student Enterprises. Whether through osmosis or some other factor the work ethic of these young people was never fully explained to me. Somehow they are able to run their individual companies on their own with the exception of a single faculty/staff advisor assigned to each team.
Before I was able to fully digest this fact, I was introduced to the seriously competent student CEO of the Berry Rocking Chair wing of student enterprises. While not furry mammals, these rocking chairs are fairly popular amongst the Mount Berry community (Mount Berry is the name given to the community of the college’s 26,000 acre campus). The CEO showed off his team’s Berry emblem emblazed wooden chairs. They were sturdy, and rocked with ease as I tried one of them inside an old barn that has since been converted into a work space for the chair making business.
As it turns out, the entire operation was run from this little space. They all worked, strategized, and perfected their product inside an ex-barn; and judging from their demeanor they didn’t mind it one bit. If anything they took pride in the circumstances that surrounded them. I guess that is the jist of business -to sell a reliable product in an organized manner, and somehow make money from the operation in an honorable way. If this isn’t it, then whatever it is these students know better than most, and the opportunity given to them by Berry is not being squandered. This all makes me wonder, do these students even need school? Let us all hope they decide to keep their talent in northwest Georgia.
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