This spring, Asim Burman from Cognizant and Mohan Sivaloganathan from Citizen Schools are teaming up to offer the NBA General Manager apprenticeship to a class of twelve students at the Louise A. Spencer Elementary School in Newark. This innovative curriculum changes kids from NBA fans into NBA General Managers, developing their skills as talent assessors, data analyzers, finance managers, and marketers.
With seven weeks down and just a few to go until the WOW!, Asim and Mohan have been amazed at the transformation in their class. They’ve seen kids go from saying “I want Derrick Rose because he’s the best” to “I want players like Jeremy Lin because they’re low salary, highly marketable, and offer more productivity on the court”. On top of applying critical lessons in cost management, marketing strategies, and team development, the kids are also growing as citizens. They’re learning and applying valuable lessons in teamwork and understanding how what you do on the basketball court can translate to what you do in life. Overall, it’s been a rollercoaster ride, but it’s all worth it when you see maturity, knowledge, and sophistication from middle school students.