In 20 minutes, teams of high-achieving high school students turned piles of wooden tinker toys into product prototypes and tried to sell a set of mock Wal-Mart buyers on their ideas. In one July session of Texas A&M’s Summer Honors Invitational Program, the potential National Merit Semi-Finalists who scored high on their pre-SAT tests pitched marketing plans for stackable dorm furniture, all-in-one exercise equipment and remote-controlled baby strollers.

And that was in their first half-hour in the halls of Wehner.

“We really like these students to experience what business is like and what they’ll run into studying here — it’s the best kind of introduction,” explains Kris Morley, the program coordinator for Business Honors who also hosts the students in a handful of separate two-hour sessions each summer.

The introduction to Mays also serves as a pitch to potential honors students from across the state and beyond on the merits and rewards of a business degree. The soon-to-be seniors spend two days at A&M learning about college life and spend two hours at the college of their choice. Each year, Mays plays host to 125 interested students.

Andrew Dittmar, a student from Boerne whose group formulated plans for a remote-controlled fan-on-wheels in the business crash-course, said he is an avid Forbes reader and wants to go into corporate law. The preferred area of expertise for this student, who hasn’t yet attended his senior prom? The laws governing mergers and acquisitions.

“I’m a fairly competitive person, and this seems like a field where there’s competition,” Dittmar said. “I can perform better when there’s competition, when I know I can figure out how to get a leg up on the others.”

And A&M, says this high achieving student with a mind for business, is definitely on his application list for the fall.