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Queens Chronicle

Job Shadow Day Gives Kids An Inside Look At Business

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Posted: Thursday, February 9, 2006 12:00 am

Academy of Enterprise and Finance students Juan Carlos Pinilla (l.) and Michael Kaczynski listen as Luis Mercado, the wireless supervisor at the Long Island City Best Buy, explains his job last week.

Some Queens high school business students got an inside look at the workings of a large retail chain last week.

Students from the Academy of Enterprise and Finance in Long Island City, got a look at inventory management, sales and more at the Northern Boulevard Best Buy last Thursday.

The day was part of a citywide program organized by Junior Achievement, a national organization that promotes business education for teens. More than 2,000 city students took part in the event.

But for the students at this academy, housed on the DeVry Institute of Technology campus, this was hardly their first time getting a close-up look at a business.

The students were all freshmen, part of the first 128-member class to study at the school, which opened in September. It is one of a number of academies the city Department of Education has started, each sponsored by an outside group or groups and specializing in a particular area of study.

At this academy, sponsored by the National Academic Foundation and Virtual Enterprises Inc., students from across Queens study business and finance. They are given a chance to run their own businesses and make mock stock market investments to give them hands-on experience in the subjects.

Student Mohammed Alam, of Queens Village, said the academy’s small size was one of it’s attractions. “You have a better chance of achieving more in a small school,” he said.

There are also frequent field trips, much like Thursday’s excursion, said Principal Gilberto Vega. “We like to show the students what things are like in the business world,” he said.

This trip seemed to have generated more interest than usual. “They’ve been so excited about the trip. It’s all they could talk about yesterday,” Vega said.

ýnd the excitement actually seemed to be about more than being surrounded by the latest electronic products. Despite the flashing screens and pounding music in the background, the students wereÐfor the most part–paying attention to Customer Service Manager Mike Friedman as he led them around the store, explaining its warehousing system and how management determined where products are displayed.

Friedman said he was glad to serve as host for the event. “It’s amazing,” he said. “It reminds me of when I first started working here.”

The attention continued after the students were split into pairs and sent to different parts of the store.

On one side of the store, sales associate Shawn Norde was explaining to students Janice Tran and Katherine Marquez, both of Elmhurst, the need for him to be knowledgeable about the details of the televisions for sale in his department. “We do a shadowing program, just like this,” he said.

Neither of the students had decided on a business career just yet, but were glad for the opportunity to learn more about it. “You get a lot of opportunities to get an idea of what life is like in business,” Marquez said.

On the other side of the store, Wireless Manager Luis Mercado was explaining to students Michael Kaczynski, of Maspeth, and Juan Carlos Pinilla, of Whitestone, the differences between various models of MP3 players. “How much profit do you make off these?” Kaczynski asked.

“None,” Mercado replied. “They’re selling them at cost. The way they make money is all of the accessories.”

Of course, the day couldn’t remain completely serious. Long before the half-hour they had been given to ask questions of the staff was up, most of the students had exhausted their store of questions, and had managed to congregate by the video game display, where they found time to try out the demos.

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