NIU Business Olympics returns on April 6th

High school students and community college students have the opportunity to go for the gold during the NIU Business Olympics set for April 6 at Barsema Hall, 740 Garden Road in DeKalb. Sponsored by the College of Business, the one-day event allows students to show their business acumen and earn cash prizes for their skills during a series of business-related competitions.

“This event gives students an opportunity to learn how to work in teams, think outside the box to create innovative solutions and become aware of college curriculum expectations,” Suzanne Youngberg, NIU College of Business instructor and Olympics coordinator, said.

The Business Olympics features five unique competitions which focus on a different and challenging topic. Youngberg said participants work in teams and tackle real-world business scenarios ranging from developing an idea for an app to creating a concept for a new business.

“The Business Olympics test their creative, analytical and presentation skills,” Youngberg said. “They will also witness firsthand the College of Business’s commitment to active learning and personalized experiences as they interact directly with NIU students, faculty, and alumni.”

Palatine High School teacher and NIU alumnus Cliff Watanuki, brought a team of students from Palatine High School to the Business Olympics last year.

“Students gain presentation skills and learn to field questions about their work,” Watanuki said. “I compare it to defending your dissertation but at the age of 16. For team events, it really does promote teamwork and time management skills if there is work to be done.”

And that’s not all.

“On top of it, it’s real money,” Watanuki said. “Other organizations give you a medal or a trophy and that’s nice, but this is a legit check that you receive (for winning).”

Registration is free for students and must be completed by March 6. Each competition is limited to the first 20 teams so don’t delay! For more information and to register visit

by Jane Donahue, Editorial Assistant, NIU Media & Public Relations

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