Feb 16, 2018

NGPF Podcast: Tim Talks to Alan Gersten, Developer of Entrepreneurial Talent at Century High School (Santa Ana, CA)

Alan has transferred his coaching abilities from the sport's fields to the classroom, and now he trains future business leaders and entrepreneurs at Century High School in Santa Ana, California. Thanks to a grant the school received, he was able to fund the Virtual Enterprise program which inspires students to compete in the real world with passion and a wealth of knowledge. Students not only experience first-hand all of the trials and tribulations of starting a company, but compete with other schools to see how they stack up. The icing on the cake is the creative way that Alan weaves personal finance into this entrepreneurship simulation. Enjoy!


  • 0:00–1:33 Introduction
  • 1:34–2:27 From coaching athletes to coaching future business leaders
  • 2:28–6:13 Students hit the ground running in this program
  • 6:14–8:25 Entrepreneurs in the making
  • 8:26–13:03 Inspiring innovative inventions
  • 13:04–21:07 A class becomes a company
  • 21:08–23:39 Saving face in front of their peers
  • 23:40–26:06 New opportunities on a wider playing field
  • 26:07–28:56 How success is determined
  • 28:57–29:23 A word from NGPF
  • 29:24–32:02 It’s hectic, it’s current, it’s a buzzing, student-run company
  • 32:03–36:17 Students learn banking basics from payroll to paycheck
  • 36:18–40:08 From ring-pops to Canon in D: pulling out all the stops for a pseudo-wedding
  • 40:09–43:16 Alan adapts, adjusts, and constantly creates new components for the program
  • 43:17–46:43 Any & all students can benefit from personal finance simulations
  • 46:43–47:54 Best thing bought for under $10
  • 47:55–49:22 How to be a millionaire by age 26
  • 49:23–50:16 A message to his students
  • 50:17–52:50 Favorite resources to stay up-to-date (he often looks to his own kids!)
  • 52:51–53:42 Conclusion

A little about Alan:

Resources mentioned on podcast:

Places to go to stay up-to-date:


  • “[The students’ company] may only have two positions [available] and I may have eight kids applying to that. So this is kind of a, you know, ‘hey, welcome to reality. You’re going to have to compete for positions.’”
  • “I think, [in terms of ] success… it’s when the kids get excited about this [program] and one of the things that really motivates them is that competition component to really see how they stack up against other schools at the local level, state level, and national level.”
  • “[Students] will change the way they present themselves, they’re comfortable talking to adults, they’re comfortable dressing up… for success… I want them to understand the hidden rules of society so they can figure out how to negotiate that and better their lives. I got a lot of kids in poverty, and one of those goals is just to break this cycle of poverty.”

About the Authors

Tim Ranzetta

Tim's saving habits started at seven when a neighbor with a broken hip gave him a dog walking job. Her recovery, which took almost a year, resulted in Tim getting to know the bank tellers quite well (and accumulating a savings account balance of over $300!). His recent entrepreneurial adventures have included driving a shredding truck, analyzing executive compensation packages for Fortune 500 companies and helping families make better college financing decisions. After volunteering in 2010 to create and teach a personal finance program at Eastside College Prep in East Palo Alto, Tim saw firsthand the impact of an engaging and activity-based curriculum, which inspired him to start a new non-profit, Next Gen Personal Finance.

Danielle Bautista

Danielle is a native of Southern California and a recent graduate from the University of Maine, where she braved the frigid winters—a feat in and of itself—and earned her Bachelor's degree in International Affairs. She has a passion for working with non-profit organizations and serving populations in underprivileged communities. When Danielle isn't writing NGPF blog posts, spearheading various outreach projects, or managing contests and flash surveys, you can find her doing some sort of outdoor activity, learning a new hobby, or cracking what she thinks are witty puns!

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