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Teacher Gema Takes business@school to the United Kingdom

For 10 years, Gema Quintanilla has been participating in business@school with her students. Now she has even exported the initiative: Since moving from Munich to London in the summer of 2022, Gema has been offering business@school at the International School ACS Egham. This makes ACS Egham business@school’s first participating school in the United Kingdom.

Photos (left to right): Gema and her teams at the International Finals in Vienna 2016, Milan 2018 and during one of her business@school-lessons at ACS International School Egham.

How did you come across business@school?

I studied business management in Spain and Switzerland and then worked in business for 11 years. After that, I made the best decision of my life: I went back to college to study Spanish and French for a teaching degree and then worked as a Spanish and French teacher at Munich International School. That’s where I met Mr. Clover, who at the time was the project leader teacher coordinating business@school. For me, the project was an ideal way to combine my experience in the business world with my passion for being a teacher. I have now been participating in business@school with my students since 2012. 

Why do your students choose business@school? 

I offer business@school in the 11th grade. That’s when many students at international schools start writing their college applications. They tell me time and again that their participation in business@school is very well received in the selection processes of renowned universities. I’ve even had former students contact me during their studies to tell me how they were able to apply their knowledge and ideas from business@school. So I think that many of them see business@school as an opportunity to get a taste of business and learn firsthand what a possible career as an entrepreneur might look like. 

And what do you as a teacher like about business@school?

I like the materials and the platform that is available to the project participants. All of that is very valuable. I also think it’s great that students are put in situations that are relevant to everyday professional life. They work in teams, sometimes with classmates they have never worked with before, and have to meet deadlines and assign tasks according to their respective strengths. I also find it impressive that the teams present their results for each phase to real business experts. It’s great that the coaches and judges volunteer their time to this project as a civic engagement. That gives students an opportunity to build a network and make real contacts in the business world. 

What has been your favorite business@school moment so far?

It’s really hard to say! I have had many fun, beautiful, and successful moments with business@school so far. It was especially nice to participate in four international finals. I have been able to travel to Milan and Vienna with my student teams. My students here in London are very engaged, and there was already very high demand for the project in the very first year. I am very excited to see what business ideas they come up with!