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Why You Should Join Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA)

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

Row of students writing on their notebooks

Why You Should Join Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA)

In today’s fast-paced business environment, early exposure and practical experience are key to standing out. For high school students interested in business, the Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) offers an amazing opportunity. FBLA helps shape students into future business innovators and leaders by combining business theory with practical application.

This blog explores the benefits of joining FBLA, how it prepares students for future success, and its impact on college admissions. We’ll cover how to become a member and the advantages it brings.

What is the Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA)?

Running your own business one day seems like a viable dream now, but without the right mentorship from organizations like the Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA), there is no real way to know if you’ll make it to the top. The nature of business is competitive and the only way to get ahead is to start now.

Future Business Leaders of America holds a National Leadership Conference each year in which top competitors from each state that were selected during state-level conferences, go on to partake in a four-day summer event in which they establish themselves as global leaders in the business community.

During the event, participants develop relationships with industry leaders and battle for cash prizes and scholarships which will advance their business careers and secure placement into Ivy League business programs at Colombia, Harvard, and Yale.

A Columbia graduate even started the Future Business Leaders of America competition back in 1937. Each year, the Future Business Leaders of America helps over 230,000 members in 4 divisions prepare for careers in the dog-eat-dog world of business.

A woman looking at her watch

Why Join the Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA)?

Learning business is understanding the social dynamics and personal skills required to excel in both your college experience and in your future career. Test your leadership skills by participating in community events like organizing a charity event for the March of Dimes.

Develop knowledge that will help with career and college placement like getting assistance on your resume or cover letter. The Future Business Leaders of America currently has high school members from grades 9-12 and over 70 competitions across the United States.

To become a member and compete in competitions register within your local charter, and then enter into one of the following events as either an individual or charter project.

Students who excel beyond state-level conferences will compete in the national conference in over 55 categories such as entrepreneurship, or business math. Each year a community service award is also given to specific Future Business Leaders of America members from a charter that has exemplified extraneous hours of hard work in servicing their community needs.

But there is a lot more that FBLA offers its student members than simply the chance to compete in and win competitions. Students who get involved in FBLA also get the chance to explore college and career opportunities through many different co-curricular education programs.

They also get to take part in networking events with people who are already well-established in the business world such as conferences, community service projects, and more.

Moreover, student members get the chance to have exclusive access to scholarships at some of the best academic institutions in the world.

One other really exciting opportunity that high school members of FBLA get access to is the FBLA Membership Awards Program. Through taking part in FBLA, high school students get the chance to really broadcast their personal and academic achievements. Members of FBLA have the chance to earn recognition and awards at the local, state, and national levels.

As these competitions put an emphasis on important values such as service, education, and leadership, any student who gets involved in FBLA can rest assured that their applications will look incredible once they get into the hands of college admissions officers in some of the best schools in the country.

How does FBLA help with my overall growth as a student and an individual?

FBLA has a primary mission of helping students who get involved to become more community-minded business leaders. To achieve that goal, FBLA has developed six specific areas that it utilizes to help students become successful business leaders. Those areas include:

1. Leadership development

Perhaps more so than anything else, FBLA makes it a priority for students involved to hone their leadership skills. For starters, students have the chance to hold officer positions at the local, state, or even national levels. Students also get the chance to work on their leadership skills through seminars, competitions, and workshops.

2. FBLA Competitive Events for 2024

FBLA competitive events reward excellence in various business and career fields. They help students prepare for business careers by letting them use what they’ve learned in class in a simulated work environment. Students also get feedback from business professionals during these events. Here are some of them:

Chapter Events

  • American Enterprise Project
  • Community Service Project
  • Local Chapter Annual Business Report
  • Partnership with Business Project

Objective Test

  • Accounting I
  • Advertising
  • Agribusiness
  • Business Law
  • Computer Problem Solving
  • Cyber Security
  • Economics
  • Healthcare Administration
  • Human Resource Management
  • Introduction to Business Concepts
  • Introduction to FBLA
  • Introduction to Financial Math
  • Introduction to Information Technology
  • Journalism
  • Networking Infrastructures
  • Organizational Leadership
  • Personal Finance
  • Public Policy & Advocacy
  • Supply Chain Management
  • UX Design

Presentation Events

  • Business Plan
  • Electronic Career Portfolio
  • Future Business Educator
  • Sales Presentation

View of Video game design students talking in front of a computer.

Production Events

  • Computer Applications
  • Database Design & Applications
  • Spreadsheet Applications
  • Word Processing

Role Play Events

  • Banking & Financial Systems
  • Business Management
  • Client Service
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Help Desk
  • Hospitality & Event Management
  • International Business
  • Introduction to Event Planning
  • Management Information Systems
  • Marketing
  • Network Design
  • Parliamentary Procedure
  • Sports & Entertainment Management

9th and 10th Grade Events

  • Introduction to Business Communication
  • Introduction to Business Concepts
  • Introduction to Business Presentation
  • Introduction to Business Procedures
  • Introduction to Event Planning
  • Introduction to FBLA
  • Introduction to Financial Math
  • Introduction to Information Technology
  • Introduction to Marketing Concepts
  • Introduction to Parliamentary Procedure
  • Introduction to Programming
  • Introduction to Public Speaking
  • Introduction to Social Media Strategy

To download the complete and updated guidelines, you may check their website.

3. Education programs

Intuit Social Innovation Challenge: This program encourages students to tackle real-world problems by learning design thinking and entrepreneurship. Teams that reach the finals are paired with mentors and receive a stipend to refine their ideas, with a chance to win prize money.

The Stock Market Game: In this simulation, students either individually or in teams manage a virtual investment portfolio starting with a hypothetical $100,000. Over 10 weeks, they track and adjust their investments, honing skills in money management, critical thinking, and research.

Lead4Change: Aimed at middle and high school students, this free leadership program equips educators with project-based learning activities. It focuses on developing students into proactive, service-oriented leaders.

LifeSmarts: This national competition challenges students on topics such as personal finance, technology, health, and consumer rights. FBLA teams compete online for monthly challenges and the opportunity to represent FBLA at the National LifeSmarts Championship.

Virtual Business Challenge: High school members can participate in this challenge in either Personal Finance or Management tracks. The Personal Finance track involves making financial decisions for a simulated individual, with teams ranked based on the simulated person’s net worth. In the Management track, participants run a virtual business, like a bicycle or jeans manufacturing company, focusing on various management aspects. Winners of these challenges can earn significant prize money.

Some students are doing volunteer work.

5. Community service

Community service is a key aspect of the Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA), mirroring the focus of many high school student organizations. FBLA members are presented with various opportunities to contribute positively to their communities. A significant part of this effort is directed toward supporting FBLA’s national service partner, the March of Dimes.

The March of Dimes is an organization dedicated to enhancing the health of mothers and babies. FBLA members engage in fundraising activities and campaigns to rally their local communities in support of this cause. This active participation helps the organization and instills a sense of responsibility and community engagement in the members.

Engaging in community service fosters a sense of generosity and gratitude. It boosts confidence levels and helps students forge stronger connections with people in their community. Skills such as communication and leadership are naturally enhanced through these activities. 

Colleges and universities often look favorably upon applicants who have demonstrated a commitment to making a positive impact in their communities.

FBLA acknowledges the dedication of its members to community service through its Community Service Awards (CSA). There are three levels of recognition based on the hours of service contributed: CSA Community (50 hours), CSA Service (200 hours), and CSA Achievement (500 hours). 

Students are recognized for their efforts, receiving certificates from their chapter advisers for the first two levels. Those who achieve the CSA Achievement level are honored for their exceptional commitment to community service.

6. Awards and recognition

In the Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA), members have numerous avenues to earn recognition and awards. This can be achieved by excelling in competitions at local, state, and national levels. Members also have the opportunity to gain recognition through partnership programs such as the Virtual Business Challenge and the Stock Market Game.

A feature of FBLA is the Business Achievement Awards program, where members engage in activities throughout the year. This program allows students to compile a portfolio showcasing their real-world business accomplishments, simultaneously enhancing their business and leadership skills.

7. Levels of Achievement

The program is structured into four progressive levels:

  • Contributor Award: This initial level introduces members to FBLA, helping them understand the organization’s structure and opportunities available.
  • Leader Award: At this stage, members delve into their personal leadership styles and learn about FBLA’s core principles.
  • Advocate Award: Members select and develop a specific business skill or concept. After completion, they have the option to further another skill or advance to the Capstone Project.
  • Capstone Award: This involves designing and executing a project that addresses a real-world problem. Members who reach this level can opt to have their projects judged at the National Leadership Conference.

For these achievements, participants can receive trophies, medallions, and sometimes even cash prizes. Beyond the tangible rewards, these experiences impart vital business skills and provide recognition that can be a valuable addition to college applications. This system of awards and recognition in FBLA motivates students to excel and prepares them for future academic and professional pursuits.

Three students posing for the camera are holding books.

Top Reasons Students Join FBLA

Now that you know quite a bit about both FBLA, you probably have a pretty good understanding of why so many high school students decide to join the clubs each and every school year.

1. They help turn young adults into leaders. FBLA is particularly well known for its ability to help learn about leadership in business and improve their leadership skills. In fact, FBLA spends much of its time creating and organizing national leadership conferences, annual conventions, and highly valuable mentorship programs.

2. They offer valuable scholarship programs. Another really important benefit that high school students can benefit from by joining FBLA are the scholarship programs that can turn into incredible opportunities for students. Through these internships, FBLA makes it easier for students who do not come from means to pursue and achieve their collegiate and professional goals.

3. They open up unique doors of opportunity for students. By making a group like FBLA an extracurricular activity, students get the chance to meet incredible new people, express their thoughts and ideologies, and begin to develop their ever-important personal network. Moreover, students get the chance to engage with industry professionals who can become inspiring mentors and teachers for many years to come.

4. They help students figure out what matters to them. By getting involved in a business-related program outside of school such as FBLA, students will be able to start forming their real-world values. High school students who take steps to make sure that they are surrounded by the right people – such as peers and mentors – are sure to have a leg up on the competition, whether it comes to getting into the college or university of their dreams, or landing that first big job out of college.

5. Students gain access to unique benefits and discounts. In the case of FBLA, students who become official members actually gain benefits and certain discounts with specific companies and brands. For example, FBLA members will actually get discounts at certain hotels, restaurants, shopping districts, car rentals, educational resources, and even insurance!

6. They help people grow. Perhaps the most important reason why high school students should consider joining a business-related group such as FBLA is that the challenges, opportunities, and experiences that come along with it allow students to grow in ways that they may not have thought possible previously.Male students taking exam at a classroom.

How do you get into the Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA)?

Joining the Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) is a straightforward yet enriching process. It begins with signing up through a local chapter and involves active participation in various events.

These events can be tackled solo or as a team effort within a group project. FBLA warmly welcomes high school students from all grades, starting from 9th to 12th grade, offering a diverse range of over 70 competitive events spread throughout the United States.

The path within FBLA is marked by milestones, with state-level success being a crucial one. Performing outstandingly at this level opens the doors to the prestigious national conference.

This conference is a hub of opportunities, showcasing more than 55 different categories ranging from entrepreneurship to business mathematics. It’s here that students get to test their skills on a larger stage, setting the foundation for a future in business leadership.

How do I apply to the Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA)?

Applying to the Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) is a process that begins with understanding and meeting the eligibility criteria. Students interested in FBLA are typically required to be enrolled in a business education course and must ensure they pay their membership dues by the established deadline. This initial step is crucial as it lays the foundation for their journey in the organization.

The next step is to actively reach out to the FBLA, usually through their state-level office. This involves seeking detailed information about membership and expressing a keen interest in becoming a part of FBLA. This communication is important as it helps students understand the specific requirements and opportunities available within the organization.

Participation in FBLA events and competitions is another significant aspect of the application process. These events provide a platform for students to showcase their leadership skills and business acumen. Active involvement in these activities not only enhances their FBLA experience but also solidifies their standing within the organization.

Staying informed is key to a successful application. Prospective members should make it a point to regularly visit the official FBLA website and maintain direct contact with the organization. This ensures they are up-to-date with the latest FBLA activities, membership requirements, and opportunities.

Students talking in a debate.

How hard is getting into the Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA)?

Becoming a member of the Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) is marked by a few key steps that ensure participants are well-prepared for the challenges and opportunities the organization presents.

The initial step in this process involves a commitment to business education, typically signified by enrollment in a business-related class. This foundational step is crucial as it ensures that students have a basic understanding of business principles, which is vital for their active engagement in FBLA activities.

Once enrolled in a business class, the next stage is to formalize membership by paying the required dues. This step is more than a financial transaction; it represents a student’s commitment to their personal and professional growth in the business field.

The payment of dues grants access to the wealth of resources, events, and networking opportunities that FBLA offers, marking the true beginning of a student’s journey in the organization.

Participation in FBLA’s various events and competitions is where the real growth happens. These platforms offer students a chance to put their business knowledge and leadership skills to the test in real-world scenarios.

Active involvement in these activities is essential, as it not only helps students apply what they’ve learned in the classroom but also provides them with invaluable practical experience. These experiences are key to understanding the nuances of the business world and developing the necessary skills for future success.

The degree of difficulty in joining FBLA can differ from one individual to another. However, the organization is fundamentally focused on inclusivity and providing equal opportunities. It is designed to cater to students from diverse backgrounds and varying levels of prior experience in business.

FBLA’s mission is to create an environment where every student, irrespective of their starting point, has the opportunity to develop essential business and leadership skills. This inclusive philosophy ensures that all students, regardless of their background, are given a fair chance to grow, learn, and prepare for successful futures in business and related fields.

Two students working in their desks.

When do I find out about my application to the Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA)?

Discovering the outcome of your application to the Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) depends on several factors, primarily the specific practices of your local FBLA chapter. Since each chapter operates independently, they have their own set schedules and deadlines for applications.

Therefore, it’s essential for applicants to directly communicate with representatives from their local chapter to get accurate information about these crucial dates.

The time when you’ll be informed about the status of your FBLA application is also determined at the local chapter level. This means that each chapter has its own timeline for reviewing applications and notifying applicants.

Given this variability, the best course of action is to stay in regular contact with your local FBLA chapter. They will provide you with the most relevant and up-to-date information regarding the application review process and when you can expect to hear back about your application status.

Where are the Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) held?

The Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) hosts its events and competitions at multiple locations across the United States, catering to various levels of participation and expertise in business leadership. The structure of these events is designed to progressively challenge and develop the skills of its members, from local settings right up to the national stage.

At the grassroots level, FBLA organizes local competitions, typically held within high schools. These events are the initial platform where students engage in a range of activities, including presentations, objective tests, and interviews.

These competitions may involve individual participation or teamwork, depending on the nature of the event. Local competitions serve as the building block for students, offering them their first taste of competitive business environments.

For those who excel at the local level, the next stage is the State Leadership Conference (SLC). The SLCs are more advanced platforms where students from various schools within the state come together to compete and display their burgeoning business and leadership skills.

These state-level conferences are not just competitions but also learning experiences, where students gain deeper insights into business principles and practices.

The pinnacle of FBLA events is the National Leadership Conference (NLC). This is where the best of the best from across the country gather to compete and showcase their mastery in business-related fields.

The NLC is a significant event, offering students a chance to interact with peers from different states, gain exposure to a broader spectrum of business challenges, and demonstrate their skills on a national platform.

Each of these levels – local, state, and national – plays a critical role in the overall development journey of an FBLA member. They offer escalating challenges and learning opportunities, ensuring that students are continually growing and refining their skills.

Information about these events, including their locations and specific details, is typically provided to members upon joining FBLA or through the communication channels of their respective chapters. These events collectively contribute to the holistic growth of students, preparing them for future leadership roles in the business world.

view of a female student writing an essay

When does the Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) take place?

The Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) organizes events and competitions throughout the United States, catering to the diverse needs and interests of its members. These events vary in scale and scope, ranging from local gatherings to the much-anticipated National Leadership Conference.

The National Leadership Conference often stands out as a highlight in the FBLA calendar. This event brings together students from across the nation, offering them a grand stage to exhibit their business skills and leadership qualities.

The 2024 FBLA National Leadership Conference Middle School & High School is scheduled to be a significant event, taking place from June 28 to July 2, 2024.

Apart from the national conference, FBLA also organizes numerous events at the local and state levels. These events are managed by respective FBLA chapters and provide a more accessible platform for students to engage in various business-related activities.

These local and state events can include meetings, workshops, and smaller competitions, all designed to nurture and develop essential business skills in a supportive environment.

Details about these events, including their locations and specific schedules, are typically shared with members upon joining FBLA or through the communication channels of each chapter. This ensures that all members have the opportunity to participate in and benefit from these events.

advertising major students working inside a conference room

Enhancing Your FBLA Experience through Mentorship and Networking

I. Developing Leadership Skills in FBLA

The Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) offers a rich environment for developing leadership skills, an essential component for success in both academic and professional arenas.

Through various FBLA activities like workshops, seminars, school-based activities, and competitions, you’ll have ample opportunities to hone abilities that are crucial for effective leadership.

These include public speaking, effective communication, collaborative teamwork, and problem-solving skills. A significant focus of FBLA’s competitive events is on nurturing management skills.

FBLA provides avenues for members to assume formal leadership roles. This could mean leading a local chapter, taking up a state or national office position, or driving an FBLA program or initiative forward.

These experiences are invaluable for personal growth and for making your college applications stand out. Admissions teams often seek candidates who have demonstrated leadership in high school, knowing that these individuals are likely to continue their leadership trajectory in college and their future careers.

II. The Power of Networking in FBLA

Networking forms a cornerstone of the FBLA experience. As a member, you’ll have the chance to connect with peers who are also aspiring business leaders, extending from your school to regional, state, and even national levels.

FBLA also puts you in touch with current business professionals and mentors, many of whom are FBLA alumni. These connections are more than just social links; they are gateways to learning from experienced professionals and building valuable relationships that could shape your future.

In the world of business, who you know can be just as important as what you know. The connections you make in FBLA could lead to internships, job referrals, or even future promotions. And it’s not just about professional relationships.

Among your FBLA peers, you might find your future college roommate, a business partner, or forge lifelong friendships with those who share your interests and aspirations. In essence, FBLA equips you with essential business skills that weave a network of connections that can support and propel your career and personal growth for years to come.

Conclusion

The journey through the Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) is a preparatory path for aspiring business leaders and will give you a transformative experience that shapes the future. Participation in FBLA equips you with a unique blend of academic readiness and practical skills, setting a solid foundation for both college and professional success.

More than the knowledge gained, it’s the cultivation of a strong, supportive network and the development of essential life skills that truly mark the FBLA experience.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is FBLA?

Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) is a national organization for high school students interested in business and leadership. It provides a platform for developing practical business skills, engaging in competitive events, and gaining exposure to the business world through workshops and seminars.

2. Who can join FBLA?

FBLA membership is open to high school students who have an interest in business and leadership. It offers opportunities for students from grades 9-12 to participate in various events and competitions at local, state, and national levels.

3. How can joining FBLA benefit me?

Joining FBLA can enhance your understanding of business concepts and develop your leadership skills. It provides networking opportunities with industry leaders and peers, access to scholarships, and a competitive edge in college admissions and future career prospects.

4. What types of activities and competitions does FBLA offer?

FBLA offers over 70 competitive events ranging from business ethics and financial management to coding and digital video production. Members can compete at local, state, and national levels. FBLA also organizes leadership workshops, community service projects, and educational programs.

5. How do I join FBLA and what are the requirements?

To join FBLA, you typically need to be a high school student and register through a local chapter at your school. Some chapters may require that you be enrolled in a business-related course. Membership involves paying dues and actively participating in chapter events and competitions.

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