University of Southern California

Making Financial Literacy Fun for Kids
MBA Students Team with Junior Achievement at Local Elementary Schools
November 11, 2011 • by News at Marshall

On a rainy November morning, two busloads of USC Marshall School of Business MBA students pulled up in front of Charles Barrett Elementary School in South Los Angeles. Ninety-two students filed into the auditorium with Junior Achievement briefcase kits — and more than a few coffee cups — to take on the challenge of teaching 46 classrooms of K-5 children about financial literacy. In her welcome announcement, Principal Prescious Robinson, a USC Trojans fan sporting an L.A. Lakers jersey, said Junior Achievement in a Day is an event the kids get excited about every year.

"The goal is to teach all of the curriculum for Junior Achievement in one day," explained Angie Gilliam '12, who served as relationship manager with the educational nonprofit. That means those JA briefcase kits contained five lesson plans tailored to each grade level, covering topics from personal finances to city government and taxes.

Gilliam found her teaching experience at last year's JA in a Day highly rewarding. "All of the stress of school doesn’t seem as stressful when you participate in an event like this and see the kids. They’re so excited that students from USC are here,” she said. “It’s a great opportunity for Marshall and USC to give back to the community."

Organized by Challenge for Charity (C4C), Marshall’s largest student organization dedicated to fundraising and volunteering, the event attracted participation from about 40% of the full-time MBA student body, as another 93 Marshall MBA students were covering 46 K-6 classrooms at nearby 93rd Street Elementary School.

Eric Bogin ’13 and Aaron Hirschi ’13 were nervous about teaching 29 fourth-graders — but the kids never knew it. Bogin kept the pace quick and the interaction constant as he engaged students in discovering the natural, capital and human resources that small businesses require. Children excitedly waved their hands to answer his rapid-fire questions.

"They’re all smart and eager to learn and excited about the idea of starting a business," Bogin said. "I’m excited about that."

Hirschi led the next lesson in which students were asked to come up with their own business idea, identify the resources necessary to run it and finally determine where to locate it. Video game stores were popular with the boys.

"What business did you come up with, Ilana?" Hirschi asked a girl with long curly hair.

"A beauty salon," Ilana responded.

"And where did you decide to locate your business?"

"New Jersey."

"Why New Jersey?"

"Because there are a lot of people there that want their hair and nails done."

"How do you know that?"

"Because I watch' Jersey Shore.'"

"I thought so," Hirschi said with a smile.

About the USC Marshall School of Business
Consistently ranked among the nation's premier schools, USC Marshall is internationally recognized for its emphasis on entrepreneurship and innovation, social responsibility and path-breaking research. Located in the heart of Los Angeles, one of the world's leading business centers and the U.S. gateway to the Pacific Rim, Marshall offers its 5,700-plus undergraduate and graduate students a unique world view and impressive global experiential opportunities. With an alumni community spanning 123 countries, USC Marshall students join a worldwide community of thought leaders who are redefining the way business works.