Businesspeople of tomorrow get start at Molloy

University's Business Boot Camp trains 84 students


For more than a decade, Molloy University has welcomed high school students from across Long Island who are seeking to become the next generation of businessmen and businesswomen. After two years as a virtual seminar, the program returned in person on the school’s campus last week.

From June 27 to 29, 84 incoming high school seniors gathered at Molloy ready for three days of intensive seminars, group projects and real-world trading scenarios. They were guided throughout each session by a team of Molloy educators and current students.

Associate Deans Dawn DiStefano and Bruce Haller led students like Rockville Centre residents Gavin Goodlad, a South Side High School senior, and Kellenberg senior Matthew Ingram through the programs, a few of which stood out as especially rewarding for the students.

Ingram took a Molloy business course at Kellenberg this year, and jumped at the chance to take another. As part of the Lion’s den, Molloy’s version of ‘Shark Tank,’ Ingram and his team pitched edible tape to hold burritos together.

“‘Shark Tank’ was fun as a chance to be creative and do the pitching and marketing sides of business,” Ingram said.

“That was really fun to just hop in with five people I’ve never met before and create an idea within two hours,” Goodlad added.

In a “Buy, Sell, Hold” Wall Street simulation trading game, teams of students swapped candy and Monopoly money while news about each candy stock came in randomly. Students attended a Beat the Street seminar with Molloy professor and former Goldman Sachs financial analyst Dr. Steven Kent to prepare them for the real-world example.

“What we find is that the activities in boot camp need to be hands-on,” DiStefano said, “and the students need to be engaged in what they’re doing.”

Haller, Molloy’s associate dean for graduate business programs, has been a professor in the school of business since 2016. He tries to change up the program every year while keep the core of what Stephen Bier, the former associate dean for strategic business initiatives, started over 10 years ago.

“Every year we tweak the program a bit to bring in as many dynamic guest speakers and people in industry who can come and really tell them, ‘This is what we look for’ and ‘This is what happens if you go into this business,’” Haller said. “You want to contribute to the next generation that’s going to do it.”

DiStefano, the associate dean of undergraduate programs, has been a part of the boot camp since 2015, and returned to recruiting students for the in-person version this year. DiStefano showcases demos of the program at high schools all over Long Island to help recruit aspiring businesspeople. Potential boot campers go through an application process through their guidance counselors before attending the program.

“We interview the students and ask them questions about their aspirations, what they want to do, where they want to college,” DiStefano said. “They might not know what they want to do in business yet, but that’s OK, because we have different disciplines, and we get to expose them to different areas of business.”