Rutgers University Business for Youth (RUBY) is a pre-university program for high school students in underserved communities that exist to introduce them to college and different career paths in business through various activities and guidance.
Ronald Richter, assistant professor of professional practice in the Department of Finance and Economics and director of RUBY’s summer program, said the program’s curriculum is designed to enhance students’ business acumen skills as well as general skills such as resume writing and public speaking.
Students can enroll in RUBY during their second year of high school and stay in the program until their final year, he said.
“The aim is to get students to think about their long-term life rather than their short-term life, both from a business point of view … but also from a soft skills point of view”, Richter said. “We try to bring people in so that students have interactions with more than their college mentor, but with other people outside of the real world role… we also bring in professors to talk to them about different disciplines.”
Riya Sheth, senior at Rutgers Business School and co-chair of RUBY, said the program is designed in such a way that the skills students learn can be applied to whatever they want to do, whether in the field of business. . One of the most important aspects of the program is the connections students make with mentors and professionals at Rutgers, she said.
During their first year in the program, students receive business plan writing classes, participate in a business plan competition, and participate in at least one trip to a company, according to the program’s webpage.
In their second year, students go on field trips, listen to speakers and recruiters, learn about the Educational Opportunity Fund and how to prepare for the SAT, according to the webpage. Students focus on applying to Rutgers Business School and other colleges in their third year, as well as working and mentoring current students.
RUBY was started nine years ago by Martin Markowitz, senior associate dean of Rutgers Business School, who first started the program in the Elizabeth, New Jersey area, Richter said. It was then revitalized seven years later by Rutgers alumnus Ankita Kodali, who was able to expand the program to six schools in total.
“The idea was not just to go for these underrepresented communities, but let’s see if we can get the schools involved – let’s get the program going,” Richter said. “It has been difficult to involve some schools – not so much from the perspective of the students, but more from the perspective of the adults. “
Last year the program had around 200 students, said Ajay Pandya, senior at Rutgers Business School and co-chair of RUBY. This year, the total number of participants will increase to around 250 students from towns and villages such as Jackson Township, North Brunswick, East Orange, Asbury Park, Piscataway, South River and Sayreville.
“When you first enter college, things start to move really quickly,” Pandya said. “In high school you don’t have the same exposure, especially to the business world that I think our program helps provide to high school students… It’s very important to be ready a little earlier, I think. “
Through RUBY, Sheth said students can determine if they are genuinely interested in business and what career path they would like to take in business. She said that due to the fast and demanding pace of campus recruiting, it is beneficial to understand these aspects earlier.
Sheth said it would be interesting to see how many students in the program will be enrolled in Rutgers Business School and continue to participate in the program as college mentors.
“On the side of a college mentor, there is a lot to learn and a lot to gain from the program,” she said. “We are always here to be peers and to be useful to everyone… There is an environment that we try to cultivate where there is a place for everyone, and there is something you can take away from it. ”