With his strong showing at the Future Business Leaders of America’s National Leadership Conference, Kyle Kroboth has a boast he can make with merit.
“I can officially call myself the world’s third-best boss,” he said. “Put it on a coffee mug.”
He may be kidding about the mug, but Kyle can lay claim to have finished third overall in the Organizational Leadership competition during FBLA’s June 29-July 2 gathering, which drew participants from throughout the United States and beyond to San Antonio, Texas.
A recent graduate of Peters Township High School, Kyle was accompanied by three classmates who qualified for nationals after placing in the top four in their respective competitions at the FBLA state leadership conference in Hershey.
Joining him were Tanish Rastogi, who also graduated in June, along with soon-to-be senior Mackenzie Schwerzler and junior Sebastian Campos. All were new this year to the high school’s FBLA chapter, for which Kyle served as president and another recent graduate, Josh Zeisloft, as vice president.
“I think the most rewarding part of FBLA is the experience you get networking with other individuals, in particular at the state competition and national competition,” Tanish said.
He placed first at states in the political science category, which involves answering 100 questions related to the topic.
“Which of the following impacts an election the most?” Tanish said as an example of a topic. “And the four choices were state of the economy, voter turnout, international politics and campaign strategy.”
The answer, in fact, is how many people actually make the effort to exercise their privilege to vote.
Kyle and Sebastian, who competed in cybersecurity, both finished second at the state event by achieving high scores on their respective tests. Mackenzie placed fourth in sales presentation, demonstrating her ability to sell a certain product.
For Hershey, she chose to market a reusable cup for young children, and her theme was similar in San Antonio with something called “Always Off.”
“It’s a reusable makeup cloth that you can add water to and use more than once, rather than using a normal makeup cloth that you have to throw away,” she said.
Mackenzie said she joined FBLA because of her interest in business and a natural aptitude – “I was always the top seller for Girl Scouts” – for convincing other people to purchase. She plans to continue to participate in the coming school year and to major in sales management in college.
As far as higher education, Kyle is headed to Penn State’s Schreyer Honors College, majoring in statistics and working toward an eventual master of business administration in a five-year program. Tanish also is attending Penn State to study engineering.
Josh will be another engineering major, at Georgia Tech. He qualified for the FBLA state competition three years in a row – in intro to computer science, spreadsheet applications and word processing, respectively – after joining the Peters Township chapter when Benjamin Zeisloft, his brother, was serving as president.
Kyle joined the same year and went to work on getting other students interested in the organization.
“I use FBLA as a chance to expose people to business who haven’t been exposed to business in the past, maybe who are taking a lot of AP classes and don’t have a lot of time for business electives,” he said.
Sebastian said his interest was piqued by the FBLA’s presence at the high school’s fair for incoming freshman, and then he took a business class taught by chapter sponsor John Good.
Competing in cybersecurity is right in line with Sebastian’s choice for a future career, and the questions he answered covered a variety of considerations in the field.
“Let’s say that you have a site and you have your backups there,” he said as an example of a topic covered. “What do you have do to secure that site? What are flammable materials that could be there? How do you deal with those flammable materials?”
That type of information should help him reach his goals, and the FBLA experience in general should help all participants as they embark on their careers.
“Having that background in business is very important, especially when you get into the corporate world,” Kyle said. “Having that basis for knowing how your firm operates is huge.”
Future Business Leaders of America-Phi Beta Lambda is a nonprofit career and technical student organization founded in 1940 and headquartered in Reston, Va.
For more information, visit www.fbla-pbl.org.