Storytelling school

Round two commentators speak their hearts and minds through storytelling

LD Salmanson, an MBA from Wharton and founder of Cherre, a leader in real estate data and insights, recently visited the Wharton Global Youth Program’s Global Youth Meetup (GYM) online community to share insights from career with the students of our summer programs. What is the #1 skill that Salmanson looks for in job candidates? The ability to tell a powerful story – about their life, their experiences, and even the data they analyze. Storytelling, he said, is an incredibly valuable business tool. It can motivate, inspire, change the way we think – and rally others to action.

High school students participating in the latest storytelling round of our 2022 Comment and Win contest are clearly on their way to perfecting this life skill.

Thank you to all Round 2 participants for leaving pieces of yourselves in your comments. The Global Youth team enjoyed getting lost in your stories. The most successful storytellers were those who recounted their personal experiences with direct references to the related article, without losing the connection to their core message. In other words, their comments expressed a narrative with purpose. We also honored authenticity. We were put off by stories that seemed contrived or too long.

As we sifted through the nearly 75 column comments from the second round, some unmistakable themes emerged. It’s telling that the most popular comment thread in this series accompanied Global Youth’s article Navigating the Shades of Emotional Intelligence. We are all struggling to keep our emotions in check, especially following the pandemic challenges of recent years. Students have many things on their minds and in their hearts, from love to loss and everything in between. And speaking of our hearts – you’ve all talked a lot about your mothers and other mentors, like English teacher Mrs. G. And you’ve taught us so much, guiding us through the lure of fanfiction and the fate of migrant domestic workers in China.

Above all, we loved hearing about what young people around the world are doing, which equates to amazing and innovative activities. Dongmin S. shared the story of Korea Cambodia Cow Bank, a student-run organization that provides financial and non-financial support to disadvantaged entrepreneurs in Cambodia, while Cindy X. described herself as “a figure skater who wanted change but was too scared of it. Adrian Z. recalled a frightening personal data breach in his Roblox Robux currency lawsuit, and Sabrina Z. wrote about AgriVision, which uses hyperspectral image processing technology to combat food insecurity and food waste . Stay tuned. A few of the commentators in this round will likely end up as guests on Global Youth’s monthly Future of the Business World podcast.

And now… the second round winners of the Comment and Win 2022 competition.

Top honors go to Justin L16 and junior at Stuyvesant High School in New York for his comment on the podcast transcript Launch of a healthy sports drink “By Gen Z for Gen Z”. Justin’s well-written commentary exceeds the standard of storytelling, demonstrating thoughtful podcast listening, compelling personal connection, innovative thinking about product development, and a provocative business perspective. Is Justin’s idea really viable? We’ll leave that to Alana Andrews, teenage entrepreneur and sports drink marketing expert, to decide. Be sure to keep us updated on your partnership.

The first round 2 runner-up is Ruosia L.16 years old and a rising junior at the SMIC private school in Shanghai, China, for her comment on The business of city life. Ruosia weaves key themes from the article, such as affordability and equality, into a charged narrative about life in Shanghai during the pandemic. She considers both lifestyle and business perspectives, while also asking thought-provoking questions: Was it the pandemic that brought to light the contrast between rich and poor, foreign and local, sick and healthy – or was it bound to happen in some time anyway? And honestly, we enjoyed this window into the struggles of the people of Shanghai in recent years.

The third runner-up is Seojin K., 16, and a rising junior at Branksome Hall Asia on Jeju Island off the Korean Peninsula, South Korea. Seojin’s comment on the podcast transcript Cabbage leaves, resilience and our role as global citizens is both eloquent and insightful as she draws parallels between Jasa Oliver’s connection to the war in Ukraine and her own recent conversation with a friend. Both, she says, “try to build a bridge for people who feel small and helpless.” This, she adds, is the very essence of entrepreneurship: “connecting ideas and people together”.

We honor student storytelling even more by offering second-round superlatives. These comments marked us by their quality relating to a theme. In no particular order, here are the superlative winners of this round:

Best Mom Story: Soeun K. of Tabor Academy in Massachusetts for his comment on the podcast Fostering gender equality in STEM.

Most Impressive Economic Policy Critique: Kush M., a 16-year-old from Cathedral and John Connon School in Mumbai, India, for his commentary on the podcast Giving migrant workers in Singapore access to healthy food.

The most worthy coral reef conservationist: Vera H. for her comment on What is your climate career ambition?

The most dramatic self-expression: Ellesse C. for her comment on Navigating the nuances of emotional intelligence.

Better real business connection: Zizhou P. for his comment on Behind the scenes: the science of cinema.

Most Entertaining Writing Style: Eric S., a student from Michigan, for his comment on the podcast Virtual reality for nervous new drivers.

Oral Excellence on Sex Discrimination: Jiwon “Adelina” R., 15 and a rising junior at Taejon Christian International School in Daejeon, South Korea, for her commentary on the podcast Fostering gender equality in STEM.

Park-centric strongest perspective: Darina H. for her comment on The business of city life.

Most likely to improve social-emotional learning: Laura F., 16 years old and senior student at Brooklyn Technical High School in New York, for her comment on Confronting educational equity and student well-being.

Best Use of an SAT Word: Luna W., 17 and a rising senior from Winston Churchill High School in Maryland, USA, for her comment on Around the world, succession is on the minds of family businesses (As I go through life…I will no doubt continue the insight my parents instilled in me.)

Congratulations to all of our Round 2 2022 winners! Round 3 is already in full swing. You must respond directly to another commentator on ANY article in the Wharton Global Youth business journal. See our Review and Win contest page for more details. Deadline: midnight EST, July 22, 2022. Good luck!