The grade 12 McEwen Leadership class recently travelled to sunny Orlando, Florida, for a summative, celebratory end-of-year field trip to Walt Disney World.
The trip was designed to recognize the end of the students’ participation in the McEwen Leadership program and to provide students with applicable learning experiences that they will remember for many years. The trip featured a variety of workshops, guest speakers, and facility tours that focused on leadership, marketing, entrepreneurship, and finance – the four core curricular topics of the McEwen Leadership program. The extra-curricular experiences were coordinated through the Disney Youth Educational Series and Universal Orlando First Hand Learning Series.
The following is a summary of the workshops that the students were able to participate in:
Disney’s Leadership Excellence – Students gained insight into time-tested Disney leadership methods and learned how Disney recruits and develops their leaders. Throughout the experience, students were asked to develop their own perspective on leadership and how to adapt the lessons to their own leadership development.
School of Rock – Students toured the Hard Rock Hotel and learned about what it takes to meet the challenges of daily operations while remaining a profitable business. Guest speakers discussed what goes on behind the scenes while describing hospitality-industry career opportunities.
Universal Orlando – Marketing and Sales – Students learned about the effective marketing and sales campaigns created to promote Universal Orlando Resort. Guest speakers discussed advertising, group sales, branding, marketing, and promotions. The program also described campaigns and marketing tactics for attractions such as the Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, special events, and other marketing initiatives throughout the resort.
Universal Orlando – Business Development: People, Product, Process – This course explores the importance of a quality product, dedicated people, and an efficient process, while preparing students to manage the internal and external factors that often affect business.
When students were not participating in academic workshops, they were able to enjoy the park attractions at both Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando, or relax at the Coronado Springs Resort property. It was a great bonding opportunity for the grade 12 students as they made more memories that will hopefully last long after their upcoming graduation from St. Andrew’s College.
JP Martin ’17 stated that he “was amazed by the consistent dedication at Disney to ensure that their customer service is a top priority wherever a guest is in the parks.”
Luca Zadra ’17 said, “It was really interesting to see how Universal and Disney compete against each other in such a competitive marketplace, and how they are always trying to innovate to gain a competitive edge.”
The grade 12 Disney Field Trip is one of many events planned for the grade 12 McEwen Leadership class during the academic year. The course is a component of the McEwen Leadership program, an academic program modelled after the vision of Rob McEwen ’69. The McEwen Leadership program provides students with the opportunity to develop leadership skills and apply them through ‘real-world’ business simulations.
Story by Sean Ludwig, Course Director, McEwen Leadership program