Building a stronger team

FBLA recruits new members through annual competition tryouts

In the hopes of recruiting new members for their competition teams, Future Business Leaders of America held their annual tryouts from Nov. 14-18 and Nov. 21-22, junior, FBLA officer Saanika Patel said. 

FBLA competitions consist of four different categories: written testing, technology projects, prepared speaking and case studies, Patel said. 

The speaking tryouts are attended by FBLA officers and faculty advisors, mentor Gene Longinetti said. During tryouts, members are scored based on their performances to determine their placement on competition teams, Longinetti said.

“I vet out the students, so I score them somewhere between 65 and 100 points,” Longinetti said. “Some people get 100 and some people get 65, but it doesn’t matter what score you get. We’re here to help you even if you’re at the highest level.”

When scoring the students, the officers and advisors take numerous factors into consideration, including preparation, confidence and poise.

FBLA tryouts include writing, speaking and impromptu components to evaluate candidates’ skill levels and potentials, Patel said.
(Photo courtesy of Saanika Patel)

“I look for, first of all, if you can get our attention?” Longinetti said. “Can you create interest? Can you [make us] really believe in what you’re saying? Students who meet all these criteria will get higher scores, which means they will have a better chance to be on a competitive team.”

The tryout process for prepared speaking events and case studies consists of a two-minute speech based on a prompt of the member’s choice, a three-minute question and answer session and a two-minute impromptu speech, Patel said. 

Those trying out for written events take a multiple choice exam, while those trying out for technology events must present a two-minute speech on a past project or technology advancement, a one-minute impromptu speech, a seven-minute Q&A session about themselves and provide a portfolio containing all of their relevant technical experiences and leadership positions, junior, FBLA officer Chloe Lu said. 

Junior Edward Lu, who tried out for a technology competition, said that he hopes to qualify for the top ten in the nation if he makes the team this year. However, Edward said tryouts feel more competitive this year due to the increase in participants. Despite the tough competition, Edward said he feels confident after preparation.

“Overall, the prompt was pretty simple,” Edward said. “For practice, I looked at a certain technology item, like a Macbook,  and then broke it down.” 

But even after extensive preparation, the actual tryout is still a nerve-wracking experience because it is conducted in an extremely professional manner, Edward said. 

“People have to wear full business formal to tryouts,” Edward said. “For technology competition tryouts, officers sit there and stare at you while you do your thing, and that’s pretty intimidating.” 

Although intimidating, the thorough tryout process is a key factor in the team’s success, Longinetti said.

“I think this tryout process is probably the best in the United States, and I don’t think anyone has a process this efficient and this effective,” Longinetti said. “That’s why we’ve won 21 national championships in a row. This process has become very, very refined and I’m proud to be part of it.”