Marcos de Niza Business Academy partners with ASU’s W.P. Carey School of Business

The Marcos de Niza Business Academy has added new program designed for students interested in pursuing marketing and management careers.

The academy, now in its ninth year, works in conjunction with faculty and students from the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University to prepare students in areas like marketing, finance and entrepreneurship.

“This program has changed my life in many ways and without it, I don’t know where I’d be right now,” said Kristine Cao, a senior at Marcos de Niza.

This year, the academy added a marketing program designed to help students prepare for careers like sales, customer service, advertising, promotion and public relations. Students are exposed to marketing practices as it relates to several industries, including sports, entertainment, hospitality and tourism.

The goal of the program is to help students become strategic thinkers and innovators implementing new ideas, said Karen Stark, early outreach and summer programs manager at Arizona State University.

“In this partnership between the Marcos Business Academy and our faculty, we want to reach out to them and prepare them for whatever their plans may be in the future, because wherever they go, business is sure to follow,” Stark added.

The program, is part of the district’s Career and Technical Education department, allows students to work regularly with W.P. Carey faculty and students, as well as network with industry leaders. Students also participate in DECA, a club that prepares emerging leaders and entrepreneurs in business fields like finance, hospitality and management.

A foundation of skills

Heather Hunt, a staff development coordinator and business department chair at Marcos de Niza, said the business academy was started to help students prepare for the next step after high school. Marcos staff worked closely with Arizona State to develop curriculum specifically for the marketing program, which includes three years of rigorous marketing coursework and hands-on training in the workplace.

 “We want them to leave Marcos with a strong foundation of skills that they need to be successful at the next level,” she said.

In the marketing program, courses include Marketing, Advanced Business Marketing, Sports and Entertainment Marketing and Hospitality and Tourism Marketing. Students are also able to complete an internship in the marketing field, earn industry certifications and state recognitions, and be granted an opportunity of direct admission to ASU’s business college.

Hunt, who also sponsors DECA club at Marcos, said students regularly network with other students who share common goals.

“You are the sum of who you surround yourself with, and we want to surround these students with successful, innovative people that are going places,” she said.

Hunt says she hopes to see the academy grow in the coming years, expanding programs to include digital media marketing, personal finance and investing, entrepreneurship and supply chain management.

‘I’ve got big plans’

Nicholas Hargis, a senior at Marcos de Niza, said the academy opened his eyes to valuable opportunities after high school.

It all started by taking a business class.

“It’s the best decision you could make,” he said. “Not only does it teach you about the basic values of business, which is valuable regardless of what you go into after high school, but it teaches you how to learn and how to grow as a person.”

After high school, Hargis said he plans to attend a business college, pursuing a degree in finance and possibly economics. His dreams include working on Wall Street as a trader for a big investment bank.

After that, he said he hopes to do some entrepreneurial work, like managing his own hedge fund.

“I’ve got big plans, big things I want to do,” Hargis said.

For more information on the Marcos Business Academy, visit or