The Terry Business Academy is a highly selective, pre-collegiate program for high school students who demonstrate a strong interest in business and entrepreneurship. In its inaugural year, TBA attracted more than 20 Georgia high school students to campus this spring for an up-close-and-personal look at what the Terry College has to offer prospective business school majors.
Randy Groomes (BBA '92), Terry College's director of diversity relations and recruitment, says the weeklong program is designed to bring outstanding high school juniors and seniors to campus for a crash course in what the entire college experience — the Terry College, the University of Georgia, and the city of Athens — can mean to college students.
"The program gives students an intensive preview of all major business areas, such as accounting, finance, marketing, and economics, as well as opportunities for leadership and presentations," says Groomes. "We also offer tips on how students can become more well-rounded — etiquette classes, golf lessons, a ropes course. This year's program also included a team-building marketing exercise for an AT&T product rollout, which gives them real-world experience in collaborating with other students."
Kymberly Graham, curriculum director for TBA, says the program's success depends on the participation of Terry professors who donate their time and expertise to help visiting students visualize and understand what it means to major in business at UGA.
"The students were exposed to many of the top professors at Terry," says Graham, "and they gained a realistic picture of what classes entail for both undergraduate and graduate students at Terry."
Groomes notes says the Terry Business Academy also serves as a useful recruiting tool.
"We want to get to these exceptional students early and expose them to a great opportunity," he says. "Hopefully, when college decision time comes, they'll want to attend UGA."
Business academy week began on Sunday, when the students arrived on campus and began getting to know one another through navigating UGA's ropes course. To be considered for the program, students must carry a minimum GPA of 3.7 (rising juniors) and 3.5 (rising seniors).
Subsequent days featured classes in accounting, economics, and finance, a lesson in business etiquette, a field trip to Atlanta to visit several companies — including a stop at Chick-fil-A headquarters — and an opportunity to try out their new-found etiquette skills during a luncheon at the prestigious One Ninety One Club. A highlight of that event was a keynote address by Milford McGuirt, a partner at KPMG.
"It was an amazing experience watching the transition the students made being immersed in business and seeing the lights go on as they began to understand how the wheels of private enterprise work," says Groomes. "We had the students attend three accounting classes, and on Friday they did a group exam. Accounting professor Andy Call really challenged them. For them to really begin to understand the nuts and bolts of business was fascinating to watch."