5 Essential Questions for Students Starting VE

When you attend your VE class, you’re walking into an office to become a young business professional. For students who are starting VE for the first time, the beginning of the school year marks the beginning of this transformation and for students who are returning for another year of VE, it marks a continuation.

In 2016-17, students gained a total of 2.1 million hours of work experience thanks to VE. This means each student gained 180 hours of work experience during the course of the school year. Going through this program helps prepare you for success in college and careers and we want to make sure you get the most out of these 180 hours by sharing five essential questions for starting the year successfully.

1. How can you best manage your time?
2. How do you interact with businesses in your daily life?
3. What can you learn from former VE students?
4. How can you apply your talents, interests, and skills in VE?
5. What do you hope to accomplish by the end of the year?

1. How can you best manage your time?

People often say that “time is money” but time is, in fact, an even more limited resource, especially when your attention is split among the demands of school, friends, family, work, extracurriculars, sports, and the many other parts of life. Because of this, your first days in VE should include a focus on “How can I learn how to better manage my time?” and “How can I make the most use of my time?

The tasks and projects you’ll work on in VE — from business plans to trade shows — will help you directly learn and develop your time management skills, so don’t worry if this is something you haven’t mastered yet. As a matter of fact, in 2016-17, 81% of VE students reported having developed time-management skills through the VE program. To get an idea of what to expect, take a look at the tasks and resources found within the Orientation section of the Portal. This will allow you to take a broad look at the events and activities you and your firm should be keeping up with, while giving you the opportunity to easily fit your VE tasks with the rest of your responsibilities.

Portal Tasks & Resources:

  • Orientation Task 1: Expectations and Requirements for the VE
  • Orientation Task 3: Understanding Time Management
  • Orientation Reference File: Annual Activities Map

Further Reading:

 

2. How do you interact with businesses in your daily life?

Whether you realize it or not, you interact with businesses on a daily basis. While most of these interactions happen with you as a consumer, VE allows you to learn about business from the perspective of starting, managing, and working within a business.

Actively thinking about how you interact with businesses will help guide what kind of firm you want to start and what role you want to play within this firm. Which businesses are you loyal to? What businesses were involved in how you spend your free time? Which businesses are involved in what you wear and bring to class every day? Consider these questions with your classmates to help brainstorm your new VE business or improve your existing firm.

Portal Tasks & Resources:

  • Orientation Task 11: Brainstorming a Business Model
  • Orientation Task 11 Reference File: Questions You Need to Ask Before Starting a Business
  • Orientation Task 11 Reference File: Step-by-Step Guide to Brainstorming

 

3. What can you learn from former VE students?


When you’re in VE, you’re participating in a program that has served over 100,000 students since its inception in 1996. This means students like you have gone through this transformation, facing the same challenges you’ll soon face and reaching the kind of heights you want to reach. Don’t be afraid to reach out to your school’s VE alumni as they are more than happy to help. Invite them into the classroom as mentors, show them what you’re working on, and ask them for advice. VE alumni have a first-hand understanding of how to make the most of the VE experience and are great role models.

“I am forever grateful for the opportunity to have been challenged in VE. I have a passion for mentoring students in these classes and sharing my experience to motivate them to achieve their best.” – Sally A., Class of 08, Moreno Valley HS, CA

In addition to actively working with VE alumni from your high school, you can also learn from the work they and students all around the country did by reviewing the top-rated elevator pitches, business plan presentations, video commercials, and other competition submissions from previous years. You can find many of these files on the Competition Results page, as well as the VE  YouTube, Vimeo, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram accounts.

Resources:

 

4. How can you apply your talents, interests, and skills in VE?

Which classes have you found success in? What is your role in your club or your sports team? What do your friends and family go to you for help with? These questions along with VE’s Orientation tasks and resources can help you figure out how to match your strengths with potential jobs within the VE business. A core part of the VE experience is “Assuming the Role,” which is what you’ll be doing within a particular department (ex: Marketing, Accounting, Human Resources) and at a certain level (ex: Associate, Manager, Chief-level) to become a young business professional.

Portal Tasks & Resources:

  • Orientation Task 2: Matching Abilities / Skills with Job Traits
  • Orientation Task 4: Applying For a Job
  • Orientation Task 5: Preparing For and Completing a Successful Job Interview

Further Reading:

 

5. What do you hope to accomplish by the end of the year?

VEI presents Winning Women hosted by NBC Universal. (Photo: www.JeffreyHolmes.com)

Fresh into the VE year, it may be hard to imagine where or who you’ll be by the end of the year. However, take a moment and think about the skills you want to develop, the connections you want to make, and the project(s) you want to champion. As you go through the year, VE’s tasks, activities, and events will hone your leadership, professional, functional, and core technology skills as measured by the Career Readiness Framework.

Before you know it, you’ll be squeezing everything you’ve done and learned on a résumé and in a portfolio, connecting with fellow VE students from across the U.S. on LinkedIn, and venturing towards a successful future!

Portal Tasks & Resources: 

  • Administration Task 9: Identifying firm goals, objectives, and strategies
  • Human Resources Reference File: Résumé Sample 1
  • Human Resources Reference File: Expectations and Requirements for VE Students Memo

Further Reading:

 

5 Essential Questions for Students Starting VE

1. How can you best manage your time?
2. How do you interact with businesses in your daily life?
3. What can you learn from former VE students?
4. How can you apply your talents, interests, and skills in VE?
5. What do you hope to accomplish by the end of the year?

Write these questions down in your notebook or planner, discuss these questions with your teacher and classmates (soon-to-be-colleagues), and consider how they can help you get started on a successful VE year. 

Featured Alumni: Robert Lenahan

robert-iv-hero

Robert Lenahan
Founder of Hospital Heroes, LLC.
Class of 2013
William Floyd High School
Queens Village, New York

What do you currently do?
I’m currently a junior at Molloy College, pursuing my bachelor’s degree in Accounting with a minor in New Media. In my time at Molloy, I co-founded the Entrepreneurship Club after discovering my passion for inventing things and building businesses. Since then, I have been developing one idea after another until my latest invention, IV Hero, a sleeve that covers an intravenous bag during treatments and is designed to make hospitals a less scary place for kids. Each sleeve is decorated with superheroes, transforming what was once an intimidating medical procedure into a creative opportunity to gain superpowers.

How did you get the inspiration for IV Hero?
I was reading an article about pediatric patients, and how they were so terrified of CAT scans and MRI machines that they actually needed to be fully sedated just to go for a scan. This was causing a number of issues, not to mention a huge deal of stress on the patients and their families. Rather than re-engineer these machines, a few folks from GE put big stickers up on the machines that made them look like submarines and pirate ships. What was once making kids cry, was now making them want to come back; they thought it was a ride at an amusement park. I thought this idea of transforming a scary experience for kids into a fun and exciting one was such an amazing way to reimagine the hospital experience, and I really wanted to focus on transforming everyday procedures that kids are put through. IV bags are a staple of the hospital room, and thus, IV Hero was born.

What first comes to mind when you think back to your VE experience?
My first thought of VE is how big of an eye-opener it was for me at such a young age. So many high schoolers just go through the motions in high school with their goals set to the future that they don’t fully utilize some of the programs at their disposal – I know because I was like that. When I began VE, it really broadened my horizons on how the business world works and I was offered the opportunity to begin building my professional persona, which gave me a huge advantage when I got to college.

What was your favorite part of VE?
By far, my favorite part of VE was being a part of the presentation team for my business. We were awarded 3rd for the region, and it felt so satisfying to put so much effort into our presentation and really have those efforts be recognized.

How does your VE experience relate to your current role? How does it relate to what you ultimately want to do in your professional life?
When I was in VE, I was the Vice President of Accounting, which ultimately helped me to form my decision on majoring in accounting. In addition, being a part of the presentation team really helped me to become a better public speaker which comprises so much of what I do today. Whether I’m speaking in front of an audience, to investors, at business competitions; being able to speak concisely and professionally is something that I have to do every day, and I can attribute that to my experience in VE.

Do you believe that your VE experience was a differentiator in helping you start with IV Hero?
VE helped me to think differently. The environment really allowed me to explore my creativity within my VE firm, and that stuck with me as I entered college and began to meet like-minded people who enjoy inventing things and building businesses. With my creativity and my background in public speaking, I began entering and winning business plan competitions which set me on this path of becoming an entrepreneur.

What advice do you have for current VE students?
Don’t let people tell you that you can’t do something, or that your ideas will never work. If you’re passionate about something – do it. You never know where that idea will take you or how it will help you grow.

Find IV Hero online:

Website: http://www.ivhero.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/HospHero
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/hospitalheroes/


If you are a VE alumni with a story to share and would like to reconnect with VE, please contact Tyler Fugazzie, Marketing and Communications Manager, at tyler@veinternational.org or visit our Alumni page.