Some of the state’s best and brightest students got their first look at career opportunities during the college’s Business Careers Awareness Program (BCAP). The weeklong camp, which was held in June, aimed to peak minority students’ interest in studying business, primarily at Texas A&M.

Funded by Ernst & Young, the first-year program was modeled after a nationwide program sponsored by the National Association of Black Accounts, which exposes African American students to career opportunities in accounting. While the Mays College’s version of the program also emphasized accounting, it also gave the 36 students a firsthand look at all aspects of business.

“The goal of the week was to teach the students certain business skills, primarily putting together a business plan,” says Dr. Thomas Lopez, assistant accounting professor and BCAP coordinator.

BCAP participants attended sessions on business management, writing business plans, presentation skills and using multimedia equipment, which were taught by college faculty members. And, to give them an example of how those tools translate to the business world, they took a daylong field trip to Ernst & Young in Houston and toured a client’s facilities, which just happened to be Enron Field.

“I think the students realized there are a lot of career opportunities in accounting and business,” says Lopez. “Some they hadn’t ever thought about.”

Many of the incoming high school seniors had not considered Texas A&M as a college choice prior to coming to campus, yet they left the program with a little taste of life as an Aggie, staying in residence halls with current Mays business students.

“Overall, I think the week went well and the students enjoyed themselves,” Lopez says. “I think it left them with a favorable impression of A&M and many of them told me they were planning to apply to A&M, which was one of the goals of the program.”