Business Summer Programs and Competitions for High School Students

Padya Paramita

Business Summer Programs and Competitions for High School Students

As an aspiring leader, innovator, or entrepreneur, you might not be willing to wait for an MBA and instead find yourself considering an undergraduate major in business. You’re not the only one hoping to break into the industry directly out of college - business is actually the most popular major in the country! Since top undergraduate business schools are highly selective, you need to figure out a unique route to stand out. One way to distinguish yourself is to take advantage of high school business summer programs hosted by prestigious institutions.

The following business summer programs provide participants with top-notch facilities, and experienced mentors as they develop their business-oriented ideas. Since there are a lot of summer programs out there, it can be hard to know which ones will truly benefit your college applications. Here, we’ve compiled a list of business summer programs that can actually make a difference in your favor. Without further ado, let’s take a look at some top programs, their deadlines, competitiveness levels, and how they can help your profile.

Competitiveness Key

  • A+ Programs are extremely competitive and highly regarded by colleges
  • A Programs are very competitive and recognized widely by colleges
  • A- Programs are quite competitive and recognized by colleges
  • B+ Programs are somewhat competitive and usually recognized by colleges
  • B Programs are somewhat competitive and may or may not be considered impressive by colleges 

Launch X

If you’re looking for business summer programs that push you towards creating your own startup, Launch X should be your go-to. Launch X is a program that helps young entrepreneurs conceptualize and get their own startups in motion. If you’ve got an idea that you’d like to develop but don’t have the resources for executing, Launch X can guide you there. The program operates from MIT, Northwestern, and the University of Michigan. Launch X provides students with mentorship that encourages them to make a positive impact on the world, deal with challenges, as well as practice conflict-resolution and teamwork skills. In terms of admission, the committee looks for students who are ambitious and driven, excited to discover innovative opportunities, and ready to conduct market research. 

Grade Levels: 9-12

Application Deadline: December 15, 2019

Competitiveness: A+

Wharton Leadership in the Business World

If you’re a strong student interested in studying business, you probably have your eyes set on the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. Here’s your chance to show further commitment not only to the field of business, but to Wharton itself, by participating in its summer program: the Wharton Leadership in the Business World. You’ll have the chance to engage in classroom discussions and learn from Wharton faculty.

Often at university-organized summer programs, actual professors don’t teach the courses. This is definitely a factor that distinguishes Wharton over the others because while still in high school, you’ll receive a unique opportunity to attend lectures by people who could end up as your future professors! You’ll also have the chance to network with executives as well as hone your leadership skills through team-based projects. Leadership in the Business World also helps you work on collaboration skills with your peers, and organizes cultural and social activities each weekend so you can get to know them outside the classroom.

Grade Levels: 11-12

Priority Deadline: January 22, 2020

International Deadline: April 1, 2020

Regular Domestic Deadline: May 1, 2020

Competitiveness: A+

NYU Summer at Stern 

Summer at Stern is among the more course-heavy business summer programs. This NYU experience helps you build a core understanding of business concepts. Stern’s world-renowned faculty supports rising high school juniors and seniors in navigating key concepts of business that cover accounting, finance, economics, marketing, and psychology. Students enrolled in Summer at Stern are required to take two Stern Courses – “Business and Investments” and “Behavioral Economics and the Science of Decision Making.” These courses introduce you to key business concepts at a college level. Attending Summer at Stern can also help give you a feel of what college would be like as a business student with exposure to the global business hub that is New York City. 

Grade Levels: 11-12

Application Deadline: March 20, 2020

Competitiveness: A

Berkeley Business Academy for Youth

The Berkeley Business Academy for Youth, also known as B-BAY, is a college prep program for aspiring entrepreneurs hosted by UC Berkeley’s Haas School. You’ll have the chance to connect with Haas professors and guest speakers, and attend talks on leadership, entrepreneurship, marketing, finance, game theory, and more. B-BAY also allows students to conduct their own independent research, team up with peers to create a comprehensive business plan, and at the end of the program, present their efforts.

Alongside attending business-related sessions, you’ll also have the chance to talk to admissions advisors from Haas and UC Berkeley Undergraduate Admissions. They lead an interactive session for B-BAY students to help them better understand the college admissions process and how to apply to the UCs. You’ll also have an opportunity to get a head start on how to approach and answer the UC personal insight questions, so if Haas is on your list, definitely consider B-BAY among your business summer programs.

Grade Levels: 9-12

Application Deadline: April 30, 2020        

Competitiveness: A-

Drexel Camp Business

Hosted at the LeBrow College of Business, the Drexel Camp Business aims to integrate students into both collegiate and corporate business education. Alongside lessons in the usual topics of leadership, marketing, finance, and accounting, Camp Business also teaches you more about professional image, etiquette, and resources essential to business such as dealing with the stock market, financial documents, and business technology. Students can either enroll in a Commuter Session or a more intensive Residential Session. The Commuter Session involves boardroom classrooms, site visits, and a Shark-Tank style pitch competition. On the other hand, the Residential Session provides you with opportunities to attend classes in boardroom settings, site visits, outdoor ropes courses, get a sense of Drexel residence halls, and create a thorough business presentation for a designated mock board of directors.

Grade Levels: 11-12

Application Deadline: May 31, 2020

Competitiveness: B+

Camp BizSmart 

The Camp BizSmart Product Design & Business Plan Entrepreneurship Academy sponsored by Stanford University offers two different kinds of business summer programs. Divided into a two-week long camp for 11-15 year-olds and a 6-day workshop for 16-19 year-olds, Camp BizSmart lets students experiment with the latest business methods and design tools under the mentorship of company founders and CEOs. The 6-day workshop immerses participants into sessions about product innovation, crowdfunding, video creation, along with the chance to pitch innovative solutions to Silicon Valley investors. Students are also encouraged to hone their hands-on skills for design sketches, market analysis, and assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of the competition - all while making collaborative decisions.

Grade Levels: 6-12

Application Deadline: Rolling on a space-availability basis starting October

Competitiveness: B

Marist Summer Business Institute

The Marist Summer Business Institute is hosted by the Marist School of Management in Poughkeepsie, New York. Through an interactive and lively experience, this summer program provides you with a basic understanding of organizations, managers, and business under the mentorship of successful professionals. You’ll have the chance to learn about topics such as business in the 21st century, the importance of globalization to US firms, and the expanding role of entrepreneurial firms in the marketplace. Marist hopes to challenge you to think critically, study college-level material, and discuss the implications of organizational action. 

Grade Levels: 10-12

Application Deadline: Rolling on a space-availability basis starting November

Competitiveness: B

Attendance at one of the best business summer programs would be a valuable addition to your Common App activities list. If you’ve got a specific b-school in mind - such as Wharton or Haas - participation in their respective pre-college programs doesn’t guarantee college admission by any means, but it does convey to admissions officers that you aren’t afraid to put yourself out there and grow your passion for business. So, take note of the deadlines and start working on your application materials. Good luck! 

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