Last summer, as part of UCLA’s summer program for middle school and high school students from around the world, Denise Berger (EdD ‘13) launched a proprietary business course based on the premise of the reality show Shark Tank. The “Jr. Shark Tank” curriculum introduced students to various aspects of business, finance, and entrepreneurialism.
On the TV show, entrepreneurs pitch their business or product idea to a panel of potential investors, the “sharks.” Berger put the students in teams of three; each team developed a unique product and constructed pitches that touched on the lessons learned.
“The students learned about business presence and skills, leadership and management, nonprofit and for-profit business structures, and competition,” said Berger. “We also discussed market forces such as regulation, communications and marketing, product development, social responsibility and ethics, start-ups, culture and organization, passion and purpose, global corporations, and financial analysis of stock returns.”
Berger has now brought the Jr. Shark Tank course to Westside Neighborhood School and is teaching it as an elective to the middle school students.