A month in America
Pupils travel to Pennsylvania School of Global Entrepreneurship at Lehigh University, USA.
On Saturday 1 July, two members of our Class of 2017, Matt and Gemma, flew to the United States of America to take part in the Pennsylvania School of Global Entrepreneurship at Lehigh University. This prestigious month long summer course takes place every year and Matt and Gemma follow our former pupils Lauren, Ella and Ed who were delegates in 2013 and 2015 respectively. On each occasion, Deer Park pupils have been the only representatives on the programme from the UK.
Our previous pupils strongly recommend the programme which was originally brought to our attention by Professor Kanes Rajah at the Royal Agricultural University. The Pennsylvania School of Global Entrepreneurship is aimed at nurturing young talent. Former pupils have described it as life changing; they have gained in confidence and, as a consequence, have returned highly motived with ambitious goals and the drive to achieve them.
Former pupil, Lauren, now studying at the University of Oxford, reflected on her time at PSGE on her return in August 2013: ‘I was fortunate to be selected as the sole UK representative on a programme that involved 50 US students and 25 from the rest of the world. I attended business-orientated lectures and personal development sessions, and I participated in a team project that involved working with a local business as well as a community service project with a local Hispanic community which I found very humbling and rewarding. The students I met were motivated, inspirational and great fun to work with. PGSE was a once-in-a-lifetime experience – something which is difficult to convey in words! I'll carry the lessons, memories and friends I made with me for the rest of my life. I can whole-heartedly recommend it.’
After a rigorous application process, Matt and Gemma, who have both recently completed our Business Studies course, will join other international students and those from the United States with similar interests and, over the four week period, they will be attending lectures and participating in ‘Apprentice-style’ group tasks. These challenges will prepare them for their final projects when they will work in teams to respond to a client’s needs. They will then research, develop and pitch their ideas. A strong emphasis will be placed on creativity; they will be challenged to think out of the box and will receive detailed feedback. They will also learn how to make effective presentations, negotiate outcomes and draft robust business plans. All essential skills that will contribute to their future business acumen!
In her application Gemma took care to highlight her motivation: ‘When I am older my ambition is to become an entrepreneur. I feel that this programme will allow me to become more knowledgeable about business as a whole and specifically how to start a business successfully, as well as how to reduce the chance of the business failing. Taking part in this programme, will help me feel more prepared and more confident about starting my own business.’
Just a few days into the programme, Matt, has already been in touch: ‘When I first arrived, I was amazed by how welcoming and accommodating everyone was! In the first few days, they have done everything they can to help us get to know each other, including a Salsa class.’ He continued, ‘I came to PSGE not only to learn about business, but to widen my horizons and keep my options open. All the mentors seem genuinely committed, interested and excited about the programme.’
Ella, who went with Ed in 2015, loved every moment of her experience and in a testimonial, her mother reflects on the ‘truly wonderful experience’ Ella had at PSGE: ‘It is so interesting to see how mature she has become in some ways and her attitude to not only her future, but the world in general, has been shaped in a positive way by PSGE. She is full of ideas for the future and is raring to go, with a new found depth of skill and resilience to drawn upon.’
Like our former pupils who participated in previous programmes and in addition to their intensive study programme, Matt and Gemma will take part in team building activities and community service. They will also have time to make new friends, visit New York and gain some rest and relaxation at theme and water parks!
Matt has kindly agreed to keep in contact whilst there, so that he can share his experience with pupils in our current GCSE Business Studies classes. We hope this will in turn inspire them to apply to participate in future courses. Follow Matt on Twitter @CPDS_PSGE2017
Any pupils who might be interested in taking part when they are in Year 11 should talk with Business Studies teacher Mr Germaine or Ms Henson, Head. We look forward to welcoming Matt and Gemma back in August when they return to collect their GCSE results. We wish them every success at PSGE and in their futures!
"I am really pleased that we have been able to sustain this link with PSGE and I hope Cirencester Deer Park School pupils will continue to apply to take part in this challenging course. Owing to their experiences and the positive differences it makes to their learning and life chances, I am a strong advocate for the programme.
I am immensely proud of our pupils and the way in which they embrace opportunities like this, the Model United Nations Conference in The Netherlands and the Duke of Edinburgh Award." Chiquita Henson, Headteacher