National political debates are now frequent events but lively debates occur every minute in the international business world, at companies large and small.
Because the art of convincing can be an important business skill, members of the Future Business Leaders of America–Phi Beta Lambda (FBLA-PBL) at Florida International University (FIU) made debating the focus of their free enterprise project, an annual outreach effort. “The Great Debate,” conducted January 13, 2012 for students from Miami (Florida) Sunset Senior High School, gave participants the opportunity to test and improve their debating skills.
“When they arrived, students received their topics and relevant research to use,” said Claudia Capdesuner, FBLA-PBL vice president of competition, who organized the event along with president Bruno Cevallos. “They were given time to prepare and then competed in pairs, in a single elimination competition.”
Social and political issues made for lively debating. Lais Negron and Gabee Quintana emerged victorious from the group of 24 students.
“The final topic was ‘Should English be the national language?’ and Lais and I had to argue against,” Quintana said. “We were happy to win, and I know that participating helped my public speaking confidence.”
Serving as judges were Yolanda Rodriguez (MBA ’10, BS ’07) assistant director, operations, Office of Advancement, Alumni and Corporate Relations, and three people from Toastmasters International: Michael Delgado (BBA ’94); Anneli Hilpinen (MBA ’10, BBA ’06), manager, Ernst & Young Student Learning Lab; and Tony Noissom.
As part of the day’s activities, FBLA-PBL members also conducted debating skills workshops for participants.
Organization gets high schoolers on the business degree track.
FBLA-PBL, one of the organizations in the College of Business Administration, is the college version of Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA), a group for high school students. With Yanyn San Luis (BA ’10) serving as advisor, FIU’s chapter is the FBLA-PBL Florida Chapter of the Year and is ranked second strongest in the nation.
“Knowing there’s a strong FBLA-PBL at FIU is one of the reasons I plan going there to earn a business degree,” Quintana said.