By Alex Berkman
Since the beginning of the school year, the Byram Hills administration has maintained a strict policy on student-run clubs—specifically, that most clubs must operate through a virtual platform. As a result, we saw many clubs shut down as they were unable to meet these new requirements. But while many clubs closed, a certain few also emerged. One of those is the brand new club “Talkin’ Business.”
Founded by juniors Bobby Ziff, Michael Rocco, and Brady Schlosser, the club was created to spark excitement about business among young people. The three co-founders recognized that many of their peers had a genuine interest in finance and economics. But up until this year, there was no way for these students to truly apply that passion. Thus, Talkin’ Business was designed to help students do just that. To Michael Rocco, it’s really quite simple. “Many students go on to study business in college, so why not give them a head start?” Notably, the overall focus of the club lies in two essential areas of business: networking and entrepreneurship.
To address the former, Brady, Michael, and Bobby have placed a heavy emphasis on bringing in guest speakers. After all, there’s no better way to learn business than from the people who live and breathe it each and every day. These speakers may vary in age, standing, and wealth, but all share a strong passion for business and educating young people. Speakers touch upon a variety of topics, including their business education, career path, and current prospects; additionally, they also provide valuable advice to listeners and field questions. But aside from providing key insight to club members, the hope is that these speakers will form relationships with students that may prove beneficial later on in life (fulfilling the networking aspect).
Regarding entrepreneurship, Brady, Michael, and Bobby have developed a Shark Tank-like design for the club. For the first 30 minutes of each meeting, students are randomly assigned to breakout rooms. There, they brainstorm unique product ideas and eventually hone in on one specifically. Importantly, products can be as unconventional, or even as ridiculous, as they want. The ultimate goal is to encourage creative thinking and enthusiasm for entrepreneurship. When the 30 minutes are up, each team rejoins the main Zoom room, where they pitch their idea to a panel of judges. This panel includes the three co-founders, the club advisor, Mr. Naughton, as well as the guest speaker for the day. So far, this aspect of the club has been met with overwhelming enthusiasm. Junior Jesse Wild loves the Shark Tank-like style as “it encourages us to think outside the box as well as practice our public speaking skills.”
While still in its infant stages, Talkin’ Business surely holds much promise. The next step for the club lies in recruitment, as they seek to expand their reach to an even greater audience across the school. But no matter how large the club grows, Bobby emphasizes that the club’s initial purpose, “to inspire fellow students to engage in the business world,” will always remain at its heart.