Students in Mr. Massimini’s business classes are discovering the real-world applications of the material they’ve been reading and latest assignments they’ve completed both inside and outside of the classroom.
Seniors in Massimini’s Capstone course recently read Benjamin Graham’s The Intelligent Investor and then worked in groups and presented to their peers what the book taught them regarding the simple principles of value investing. Massimini said he chose this particular read for his class to help change the preconceived notions students interested in business often have toward gaining immediate wealth through investments in the stock market.
“They hear of hedge fund managers who earn billions of dollars and entrepreneurs who [make initial public offerings for] their companies and become instant billionaires,” Massimini said. “The Intelligent Investor addresses these instances as anomalies from the norm and points out that even those who are lucky enough to do this once cannot usually repeat the same stroke of luck or genius. Betting on getting rich quick equates to speculation, and so Graham recommends that investors seek safety of principal and adequate — not extraordinary — returns through intelligent research and analysis.”
Students were required to present the material as if they were speaking to 5th grade students. Though this part of the assignment was challenging for most of the groups, Alex Kinsbursky said it actually benefitted them more than they initially thought it would.
“I think now we’re able to understand [the material] more because we had to simplify it,” Kinsbursky said.
The Intelligent Investor helped the students better understand the functions and performance of the economy as well as the basic principles of the stock market and making investments. What many of them discovered is that the stock market is not as complex as many people think, and the knowledge they acquired is helpful to everyone — even teenagers.
“I think it really gives us an advantage over other students,” Tiffany Chen said. “It’s not something everyone learns in high school.”
Students in Massimini’s Entrepreneurship course chose individuals in a variety of occupations to interview in order to put their communication skills into practice and allow them to speak with professionals in their fields of interest.
They were given specific questions they were required to ask and then created additional questions on their own. After conducting their interviews, students prepared three-minute presentations to share what they learned with their classmates.
Sophomore Joane Kim is interested in hotel administration and hopes to start her own hotel company eventually, so she chose to interview Sophia Han, campus assistant at Anaheim Hills, in order to gain a better understanding of interacting with customers on a day-to-day basis and always bringing a positive energy to the role one serves.
Kim said she discovered that Ms. Han considers herself fortunate to be part of such a positive environment and surrounded by people who help her and motivate her throughout the day.
“It’s important to enjoy the job that you work, but it’s equally as important to enjoy the company of everyone who’s around you, too,” Kim said.
And now Kim wants to transfer what she’s learned to reflect the way she interacts with others in her daily life and then into her future career, as well.
“I really want to be helpful to others,” she said. “If you’re not helpful, then no one is going to want to work with you or trust you or build that level of communication you need.”
Strategies for Success
Freshmen in Massimini’s Strategies for Success class started their high school years on the right foot by learning about SMART goals, growth mindsets, and understanding that, though they may not be successful at some things now, by changing their mindsets, asking for help, and devoting time to their passions, they can become successful.
“Instead of ‘I’m not good at this,’ [students learn to say] ‘I’m not good at this yet,’” Massimini explained.
The freshmen students recently put these lessons to the test by sharing with the class seven SMART goals for their lives. SMART goals are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely (dates for goal completions must be set). For their presentations, Massimini asked the students to set seven SMART goals that relate to various aspects of their lives, such as their hobbies, families, hopes for marriage and careers, and travel plans.
Students shared their long-term goals for high school GPAs, college attendances, career paths, international trips, and ages of marriage as well as their short-term goals, including learning to play a song on the piano before 2018, reading The Odyssey, and learning how to ride a motorcycle.
Freshman Ryan Roth shares some of his SMART goals.
The presentation forced the students to think about what they wanted their lives to look like in the future. By setting dates on all of their goals, they were also encouraged to think about what needed to be done in the days, months, and years leading up to the dates for those goals to be achieved.
Many of the students’ short-term goals were part of their journeys to complete their long-term aspirations, which Massimini was quick to point out.
“Short-term goals can be stepping stones to the longer ones,” he said.