The BEAM (Business, Entrepreneurship, and Math) Program is a private-public partnership that replicates real-life business environments, which require application of mathematical principles. During the program, high school students choose a project from a large or small business, a start-up venture, or a non-profit organization, while learning entrepreneurship, finance, and quantitative marketing from customized curricula created in partnership with Ernst&Young and PricewaterhouseCoopers. The students design and develop self-driven solutions to solve these assignments, while being mentored by their employer, a designated mentor, and the teacher overseeing the course. With multiple locations around the world, BEAM is an international social network of business education and business opportunities, as well as vehicle for worldwide collaboration between students, teachers, cities, and businesses.
BEAM’s journey started a few years ago, after Cristina Cismas Florea, a teacher at Gunn High School’s Mathematics Department, talked with students and parents and heard that they wanted hands-on business experience at the high school level, as well as practical applications of mathematics. Having degrees in both Mathematics and Marketing, Cristina believed and related to the needs and wants of the Gunn community. She finished coursework at The Wharton School of Business and, with the guidance of a former professor, Cristina launched the business program at Gunn High School in 2014. The program started as weekly, half-hour lunch meetings, where students brought homemade brownies to share while voluntarily learning business concepts and applying them to help a Palo Alto non-profit organization. In a matter of weeks, the small team of five students grew to almost fifty enthusiastic opportunists and invested workers. The response from students, parents, companies, and community members was overwhelmingly positive.
BEAM’s organic growth has continued with nominal promotion. Today, the BEAM Program is a fully accredited course and a global program with multiple locations around the world. The BEAM works with each school, successfully integrating the course to fit school’s needs and wants. The program is non-traditional and project based. First semester uses an entrepreneurial model, where students develop their own start-ups in teams and learn the customized curriculum in design thinking, business strategy, quantitative marketing, and finance as they see its relevance to develop their businesses. Second semester uses a consulting model, where students give back to the community and apply their knowledge from BEAM’s curriculum to solve real life business problems. Throughout the BEAM program, students from around the world collaborate with one another, share, discuss, analyze and provide recommendations for each other’s projects. To further mimic the real world business environment, BEAM also offers student exchange programs. BEAM fosters innovative education and interconnectedness as a global community by creating an international social network of business education and business opportunities that allow our students to begin their career development before they enter college.
Provide real life, hands-on business mathematics experience in finance, quantitative marketing, and business strategy, as well as entrepreneurship.
Support teen well-being, self-advocacy, self-confidence, self-esteem, and community engagement.
Provide an opportunity for the youth to connect with the innovation community of the city in which their school is located and beyond.
Enable students to build their networks, receive business mentorship opportunities, and give back to their community.
Engage the private sector to participate and create a true public-private partnership model in the community.
Provide a worldwide learning opportunity for students.