Their business plans were sensible, yet fun. Seven teams of the state’s top high school students put their newfound business comprehension to work at Mays in June, cooking up plans from dessert fondue locales to espresso-laced cookie delivery and energy drinks ideal for all-night studying.

Combining lessons on marketing, finance, accounting and general business leadership, 37 participants of the fifth annual Business Career Awareness Program (BCAP) prepared commercials and researched College Station competitors to their mock businesses as they got to know what being an Aggie business student is all about.

Sponsored by Ernst &Young, the awareness program gives underrepresented high school students a week to explore opportunities at Mays by living on campus, attending scaled-down business classes and designing their own business plans. The week also introduces high school seniors to Texas A&M in general: more than 50 students in recent years decided to attend A&M after their weeklong immersion at Mays.

“I’d never thought of this as a place for me before,” said Kiah Craig, a student at Cathedral Christian Academy in Arlington and a 2005 BCAP participant. “I’m definitely applying to A&M now.”

The program also connects potential students to a network of Mays mentors — some of whom went through the program themselves — in the cadre of BCAP counselors.

“I had lived here all my life, but hadn’t really tasted Aggie life,” said Jason Rodriguez, a junior accounting major from College Station and 2002 BCAP participant who returned this year as a camp counselor. “It’s really a showcase of our traditions and integrity, and for probably the first time it lets these students see the prestige of this business school. It’s why I came here, and I hope it might be why they also come.”