The Next Generation of Business Leaders


Emely Batista

At the start of the 2023 school year, Manville High School had re-introduced a club that was under hiatus known as the Future Business Leader of America, the FBLA. The club advisor, Mr. Zilinski, re-started the club in hopes to support students who have found interest in business and in some sort of leadership role. MHS students and staff may have heard about the school store or have seen students in the morning selling hot chocolate and coffee, those students are members of the FBLA club. 

A big reason as to why Mr. Zilinski took the FBLA advisor job is to restart the program since it was previously put on hold. This year could be considered training wheels for the FBLA since this is the first time the club has had any activity since 2020. Mr. Zilinski had expressed that in hopes to give club members a sense of business, he makes them take charge. He wants them to understand the responsibility that comes with this leadership role, “You can’t be a leader if you’re not responsible.” While he hopes they learn more about the business world, he also focuses on the students gaining leadership skills as well. 

Mr. Zilinski has been introducing club members to speakers, leaders of the community, and those with professions that most of these students hope to be in. The club is going to have an emergency room physician along with an attorney to speak with them on the importance of business and the reality of it. He also hopes to get the opportunity to take the students to a corporation in which they can see what goes on in an actual corporation setting and to take them down to Trenton to see how the state legislature works. To start the understanding of business, they had recently had Senator John Bramnick speak with them and discuss the importance of finance. Students had the opportunity to get an inside perspective of what actually goes on in the business world. 

Many members of the FBLA club are eager to learn. A student in the FBLA club expressed that the biggest aspect of FBLA that they enjoy is the responsibility and opportunities it presents to its members. It’s a club that requires members to be responsible for showing up on time, interacting with others, committing to a schedule, and developing essential life skills. They enjoy the use of the freedom that they are given by the advisor which they use to learn in a more abstract light. For example, with the recent visit of State Senator Jon Bramnick, members learned a variety of tips to achieve success. Bramnick discusses the importance of assets and how to utilize the maximum in their investments and returns. With this visit and gained knowledge, one student expresses how they hope to use this knowledge to pursue a business of their own and to get into one of their dream colleges. Even if none of these goals come true then they have at least gained valuable skills and lessons to aid any other future endeavors.

Another student described how they enjoy the sense of freedom in the actions students take. The school store and various fundraising put on by the FBLA club, allows for all of the funds to go into the next activity or event opportunities for the students to learn which helps the students gain more experience and knowledge. They have obtained advertising tactics and have gone to meetings to understand the communication of ideas between other club members. They hope to use what they have learned in order to help individual advertisement and/or their future business advertisement. They have also learned the difference between ineffective and beneficial management to notice if their work is being accurately compensated for.

The goal is to expand the school store and increase student input. With the hope of pushing this club forward, Mr. Zilinski hopes to get the students involved in more of a competitive business world, and to those who are still shy he sends out this message, “You can’t be shy or if you are shy and you want to be a leader then you need to be able to come out of that shell.” To learn more about the club, attend meetings which are scheduled on Monday every two weeks (the last meeting was on 1/23) right after school in room 28. With the help of this club, new future business leaders will be born.