Students get real-world global lessons from FedEx
The International Business Academy is a unique program, tailored for students who are interested in pursuing a career in business. This year, we were looking for a company who would be willing to work with, assist, educate, and inspire our students. We found that, and more, in FedEx.
One of the key benefits in this relationship was the hands-on, real-world application that the students received. This was such an invaluable lesson that we, the teachers, would never have been able to do alone. It is easy for us to explain the business world, give examples, and talk about it, but it’s another thing entirely to be able to participate in it first hand. It took our curriculum to a level that our students have never experienced.
One of the most impressionable events was having Erika Tolar and Rick Siciliano walk the students through an actual earnings call. This activity had a true lasting impression, as it spurred many questions and conversations about the impact that one company can have on the global economy. For ninth graders, their world is still very small, and this started to broaden it for them.
Another great experience was our field trip to the airport, where the students were able to actually step on the planes, see how packages are shipped, and consult with employees. The students talked about this trip for weeks afterwards, and were able to refer back to that experience in other projects that followed.
Since 14-15 year olds have such a limited view of the world, I am often faced with the question “Why do we have to learn this?” or “When will I ever use this again?” The Diverse Appeal, Access Magazine, and FedEx Annual Report allowed the students to peruse different types of expository writings, and see how they apply to the business world. These are periodicals that they would normally not pick up to read, but has opened their eyes to a more mature, practical use. Now, if I ever get those questions, all I have to say is “Remember FedEx?” and they get it.
Finally, the most impressive, meaningful experience was the Personal Branding seminar from Laurie Tucker. The teachers were inspired by the speech, but more importantly the kids were captivated. As a follow up, we had the students complete the Personal Branding Exercise. It was an eye-opening, humbling, and confirming experience for many to find out what the people in their lives really thought about them. In fact, for the weeks that followed, the kids would catch one another doing or saying something inappropriate and say, “Is that really the brand you want?” Or they would see a classmate do something positive, and I’d hear them say “Nice branding!” It is truly amazing what an excellent character building exercise that was.
All in all, our experience with FedEx was an invaluable one that continues to impact the students. Even though the project has wrapped itself up, the knowledge they have gained is something that will continue to enrich their education. I see bright futures for these kids, and perhaps even future FedEx team members!