For high school students considering a career in business, a great way to learn about the business world and get a head start on the skills requisite for careers in business is to participate in an immersive business summer program. Many universities and other organizations offer summer opportunities for high school students to learn more about the business world and business professions. Here are some of the top programs.
Stanford offers not-for-credit, ungraded 3-week summer business courses through their Pre-Collegiate Summer Institute. Students can apply for admittance to a class in Business and Brand Marketing, Business Strategy, Business and Entrepreneurship, and Digital Marketing, among other topics. Students stay in Stanford student housing with other summer students that have similar academic interests, and the daily schedule is made up of classroom learning, group projects and activities, and excursions around the San Francisco Bay Area. Though it depends on the course to which they’re applying, in general students must be in grades 8-11 and between 14 and 17 years old to be considered for admission. Strong applicants have a strong academic record and extracurricular experiences.
UPenn’s Wharton Business School has a number of business-focused summer programs for high school students. Programs range from courses in the “Essentials of Finance” to the Sports Business Academy, and they last from one week to three weeks, depending on the program. Students in grades 9-11 may apply. Specific admissions requirements differ from program to program, but all competitive applicants should have a strong academic record.
Georgetown’s Business Academy is a 3-week summer program available to rising 10-12th graders. Students can choose between two tracks: Business & Leadership or Global Business. The program consists of classes taught by Georgetown McDonough School of Business professors, business simulations, guest speakers, field trips, and student social activities. Applicants are required to write a 300-500 word personal statement and provide the contact information for a high school counselor, teacher, or administrator who can attest to the student’s readiness for the program and confirm his or her current GPA.
Wake Forest University’s summer business program covers topics such as finance, marketing, business law, and organizational behavior. Students will pitch product ideas to potential investors, work with WFU business faculty, meet business leaders who started their businesses in college, and visit nearby businesses.
Rising high school sophomores, juniors, and seniors and incoming college freshmen are eligible to apply for this program. The program takes place on WFU’s Winston-Salem campus and lasts one week.
Students can choose from over 70 courses in 12 total subject areas. Business classes include “Investment Portfolio Management,” “Globalization: Challenges in International Economics and Politics,” and “Economics, Entrepreneurship, and Social Justice,” among others. In addition to classes, students participate in recreational and social activities, college preparedness activities, field trips, and volunteer work. Columbia’s Summer Immersion Program is open to rising 9-12th graders with high academic and extracurricular achievement.
Summer@Brown has 25 business and economics courses available, including “An Introduction to Game Theory,” “How a Nation’s Economy Works: An Introduction to Macroeconomics,” and “The Entrepreneurial Process: Turning Ideas Into Commercial Realities.” The length of the program varies from course to course, but ranges from 1 to 4 weeks. Students ages 15-18 completing grades 9-12 before the program’s start date are eligible to apply, though they must also complete a 250-500 word essay (prompt given in the application), submit a transcript and recent grade report, and, in come cases, a teacher recommendation.
This highly selective program accepts 50 high school students each year to spend two weeks on the UC Berkeley’s Haas Business School campus. Students have the opportunity to listen to presentations from guest speakers and Berkeley Haas professors, do independent research, come up with and present a business plan, and take business classes taught by Berkeley Haas professors, PhD students, and undergraduate students. Application requirements include a 600-750 word essay, two teacher recommendations, and an academic transcript.
Distance Learning Options
Sometimes preexisting summer plans, finances, or other personal circumstances prevent students from being able to participate in on-campus summer business programs. Luckily, there are distance-learning options available for students in these situations. Read on for information about an example of a distance-learning business program.
Students 13 years old and older are eligible to participate in Wake Forest’s online pre-college business course. This 30-hour program—completed over the course of two or four weeks, depending on the dates selected—focuses primarily on the business operations of top companies like Netflix and Apple. Students will also complete a final Capstone project demonstrating what they’ve learned in the course.
The class is taught by award-winning Wake Forest University faculty, and students are assigned a Wake Forest mentor to encourage them, provide direction on assignments, and help brainstorm for the final Capstone project. Although the class is online and asynchronous, students will have many opportunities to connect with their mentor and fellow classmates. This course is ideal for students interested in learning about the inner workings of today’s top companies, how to develop a strategic mindset, and/or the science of competition in a completely flexible way.