Defining Business

Launched in March, a video glossary of business terms on the Knowledge@Wharton High School (KWHS) website helps teens who might be tripped up by an unfamiliar concept while reading articles posted on the site.

“When you are introducing high-school students around the world to the basics of business, one of the biggest challenges they face is learning the vocabulary,” says Mukul Pandya, executive director and editor-in-chief of Knowledge@Wharton, who conceptualized the video glossary.

Rather than posting a simple dictionary on the site, Pandya added a novel twist: Wharton professors were recruited to produce videos explaining various business terms related to their particular field of study. When readers come across an unfamiliar term in an article posted on the site, they can click on the term to open a new window for the video glossary.

“This makes it more memorable for them, and it plays to the strengths of the Wharton faculty,” Pandya says.

Shawndra Hill, assistant professor in the Operations and Information Management Department, has defined terms for the glossary related to her research in predictive modeling in social network data, using humor to better catch the attention of young people. For instance, in the video glossary, Hill defined “data mining” as “the process of extracting novel, interesting and useful patterns from usually large scale data. An urban legend says that data-mining techniques helped stores learn that on Friday afternoons, young American males who buy diapers are also likely to buy beer.”

And her definition of “online privacy” is a valuable lesson for students:

“Online privacy involves the ability to control what information you reveal about yourself over the Internet, and to control who could access that information. Protect your online privacy. Don’t ever put anything online that you wouldn’t want to show up on the front page of The New York Times, or that you wouldn’t want your grandmother to see.”

Hill is gratified to participate in a project that exposes young people to potential business fields in a way that excites them.

“It was great to have an opportunity to put some color into these terms, to help the students learn more about business as a potential area of study for them,” she says.

Currently, the glossary contains 270 business terms, and 80 more are in production, says Diana Lasseter Drake, editor of Knowledge@Wharton High School. Her team hopes to post hundreds more.

“This is a great way for students to demystify business jargon that gets used often in business articles,” Drake says. “It also showcases the wonderful faculty at Wharton and their depth of knowledge.”

The next phase of production will also feature video explanations from high-profile business figures, she says.

—By Katie Kuehner-Hebert

Wharton Magazine - Background

Type to Search

See all results