An Indian American teenager in New York City is bringing his business savvy to the northeast state, attempting to create a local chapter for an organization that helps members prepare for a career in business.

Nicholas Imam, 15, started his path to a career in business when he was a young boy, spending several summers helping his grandparents with their century-old bakery in Mumbai.

At the bakery, Imam folded boxes and manned the cash register, which sparked his interest in business. When he started his freshman year of high school while living in Lexington, Ky., Imam joined the Future Business Leaders of America-Phi Beta Lambda Inc. club.

As a member of what is considered one of the largest career student organizations worldwide, he took part in competitions, including one in the summer of 2016 in which he and two of his friends dominated, earning a spot in a national event in Atlanta, Ga.

Upon moving from Kentucky to New York in August, Imam found out there was no local chapter. Now a sophomore, Imam, who is also taking part in the Harvard University Pre-College Program, has spearheaded the movement to found an FBLA chapter in New York. His high school, Loyola School, is supporting his efforts of accomplishing his goal.

“Loyola encourages us to reach for the stars while holding hands as when we rise together, we rise higher. It develops not only our grit but our sense of inclusiveness and empathy,” Imam told India-West. “The teachers and administrators go above and beyond, during and after school, to ensure each and every student's success.”

Additionally, the 5.0-GPA student Imam is competing in a pair of Young Men’s Christian Association programs, “Teens Take the City” and “Youth in Government.”

In the Teens Take the City program, students are asked to propose legislative bills addressing community issues, which are ranked by a committee. The top 10 bills are voted on by students in a conference at city hall. Imam’s bill proposes that every public school board must have a minimum of one voting student member.

In the Youth in Government program, students convene in Albany, N.Y., to host a mock government. Imam selected the judicial component of the program, where student attorneys are given a case along with case law to deliberate over for several months. They are chosen to act as either the prosecutor or defense, and to prepare a case based on the information they have been given. The high schooler and his partner won their case and were nominated to represent New York at the Conference of National Affairs in North Carolina this summer.

“My interest in the FBLA and YMCA programs stemmed from my introduction to them in high school and middle school, respectively,” Imam said. “FBLA helps me hone analytical skills for business while the YMCA programs that I am involved in help me develop skills in governance and leadership.”

Outside of that, Imam is an avid swimmer, spending nearly two hours a day practicing, six days a week. He competes in the 25-meter-pool short course season throughout the school year and the 50-meter-pool long course season in the summer. On weekends, he also teaches underprivileged children how to swim.

Imam said he intends to pursue a career in either finance or law.

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