Best Business Summer Programs for High School Students – 2023

May 16, 2023

business summer programs for high school students

Have you been running lemonade stands since before you could walk? Selling an array of sought-after stickers on the kindergarten bus? Marketing your signature plant watering service through neighborhood door-to-door efforts? Perhaps you’ve always had a propensity for entrepreneurship and are eager to develop new skills in a formal environment. Or, perhaps business is a relatively novel interest, and you’d like to test the waters before jumping head-first into a related major. Either way, you’ve come to the right place: business summer programs for high school students are an excellent way to gain new competencies, grow as a leader, boost your college applications, network, and learn directly from industry experts. Both in-person and online experiences abound–all you need to do is choose the one that sounds like the best fit. Ready to read more about our top contenders? You’ll find them below:

1) Michigan Ross Summer Business Academy

  • Location: Ann Arbor, MI
  • Residential?: Yes
  • Program Length: 2 weeks
  • Cost: $3,250
  • Eligibility: Rising seniors
  • Application Deadline: January

At Ross, the University of Michigan’s acclaimed School of Business, students can explore the profession in a rigorous environment. Through group workshops, field trips, and guest speakers, they’ll learn more about the challenges that face high-performing businesses. Then, they’ll work in teams to develop solutions to those challenges, which they’ll present formally. Moreover, teams have the opportunity to meet with local companies. Along the way, they build leadership acumen, investigate potential career paths, and collaborate with other high-achieving students.

Although the Summer Business Academy was held online in 2022, it will be held in-person in 2023. As such, students live in a UMichigan residence hall for the duration of the program. This program is particularly valuable for students who are considering Ross, as they’ll receive exposure to Ross curriculum and faculty. To apply, students need to submit an essay, a recommendation, and their transcript.

2) Business Bootcamp at the University of Rochester

  • Location: Rochester, NY
  • Residential?: Yes
  • Program Length: 3 weeks
  • Cost: $8,505
  • Eligibility: Rising juniors and seniors
  • Application Deadline: February

At the core of Rochester’s summer program is “The Development of New Ideas” curriculum, an experiential deep dive into innovation. Given that all businesses thrive off of fresh ideas, students will have the chance to immerse themselves in the generation, prioritization, and development processes required to bring a selected concept to life. First, they’ll learn more about what makes a “good” concept, corporate marketing, product development, and design thinking. Then, they’ll prototype, demo, and present their ideas while collaborating in small teams. Furthermore, there are various simulations, field trips, and a club where students can take their learning to the next level.

As these business summer programs are highly selective, students will need to put serious effort into the application. For example, they need to submit an essay (prompt very similar to the undergraduate application), letters of recommendation, and transcripts. To have the best chance of acceptance, students should demonstrate a high level of involvement and be passionate about business as a field of study.

Business Summer Programs for High School Students – Continued

3) Babson College Summer Study for High School Students

  • Location: Babson Park, MA
  • Residential?: Online
  • Program Length: 3 weeks
  • Cost: $5,995
  • Eligibility: Rising juniors and seniors aged 16+
  • Application Deadline: March

Babson is all about providing their undergraduates with the skills to become entrepreneurial innovators and changemakers. Unsurprisingly, their business summer programs have an identical objective. Over the course of three weeks, students dive into Babson’s Entrepreneurial Thought and Action methodology through Introduction to the Entrepreneurial Experience, which covers topics in entrepreneurship, marketing, and finance, among others. Here, students learn how to turn ideas into action, how ideas gain traction, and how to handle difficult circumstances. Students work closely with faculty as well as Academic Mentors. Moreover, the online format allows students from all over the world to participate, exposing participants to diverse viewpoints. The icing on the cake is that students walk away from the program with four college credits under their belts.

Interested students should know that they’ll need to dedicate a significant amount of time to this program. For example, they’ll spend approximately three hours per day in live classes and five hours per day working on assignments. Furthermore, students choose cohorts based on time zone, which is important because a significant amount of collaborative teamwork is involved.

To apply, students need to submit three 250-word essays, a counselor or teacher recommendation, and their high school transcripts.

4) LaunchX Summer Programs

  • Location: Online and in-person (Ann Arbor, MI or Research Triangle, NC)
  • Residential?: Online Entrepreneurship Summer Program: No; Entrepreneurship Summer Program: Yes; Innovation Summer Program: Yes
  • Program Length: Online Entrepreneurship Summer Program: 5 weeks; Entrepreneurship Summer Program: 4 weeks; Innovation Summer Program: 2 weeks
  • Cost: Online Entrepreneurship Summer Program: $5,980; Entrepreneurship Summer Program: $9,450; Innovation Summer Program: $5,980
  • Eligibility: Rising sophomores, juniors, seniors, and college freshmen
  • Application Deadline: February

No simulations or mock startups here! The ultimate goal of LaunchX is for students to use their newfound knowledge and skills to create actual businesses. It’s a tall order, but the program is highly structured and has won numerous awards for business excellence.

LaunchX’s flagship offering–the Entrepreneurship Summer Program–is held both online and in-person. Regardless of format, all participants are expected to bring a product to market by the program’s culmination. (This is defined as minimum $250 in sales.) In addition, students participate in classes, mentor meetings, and significant collaboration with their cofounder teams. While doing so, they progress through seven stages–which include market research, prototyping, and pitching. Simultaneously, they apply their new knowledge to their startups via relevant, actionable tasks.

Not ready to launch a company yet? You might check out LaunchX’s Innovation Summer Program, which is a two week in-person experience. Here, students work with an established company. Through an experiential curriculum, students build the problem-solving skills they need to propose new solutions to the company’s current challenges. In addition, students work directly with corporate mentors to develop strategies and pitches.

Unlike other business summer programs, transcripts and recommendations are the least important part of the admissions process. Instead, the committee would like to see evidence that students are passionate self-starters and team players. They can display these qualities through their activities list, video, and optional portfolio.

5) Economics for Leaders

  • Location: Online and in-person (multiple site options available, including Yale, Duke, UT Austin, and UCLA)
  • Residential?: Yes (in-person programs)
  • Program Length: 1 week
  • Cost: Economics for Leaders (in-person): $2,100; Economics for Leaders (virtual): $800; Entrepreneurship and the Global Economy: $2,100
  • Eligibility: Rising juniors and seniors
  • Application Deadline: April (in-person); May (virtual)

For those interested in economics and leadership, Economics for Leaders is a stand-out, highly competitive option. There are multiple business summer programs available: the signature Economics for Leaders program or Entrepreneurship in the Global Economy. All applications involve letters of recommendation, transcripts, and a personal statement.

At Economics for Leaders, students learn about ten different topics, which include opportunity cost, labor markets, and property rights. Through simulations, discussions about current domestic and global issues, and hands-on learning opportunities, students learn how to apply economic analysis to a variety of concepts. In addition, they receive leadership training that emphasizes personal, relational, and contextual leadership skills. Moreover, students who elect to take Economics for Leaders virtually enjoy the same curriculum. It is delivered synchronously and students can expect to spend approximately five hours per day in class. College credit is available for both programs.

If entrepreneurship is more your speed, Entrepreneurship in the Global Economy could be the perfect fit. This program is only held in-person at either Yale or Columbia. In addition to honing their abilities to write a business plan, pitch ideas, and work in teams, students also familiarize themselves with the economic principles that underpin successful entrepreneurship. In addition to working closely with professors and peers, they also benefit from guest speakers and experiential learning.

Finally, it should be noted that the application gives students the opportunity to rank program sites in order of preference. Selecting multiple program sites (up to three) provides maximum chance of acceptance.

Final Thoughts – Business Summer Programs for High School Students

Students with entrepreneurial experience and students new to the profession will benefit greatly from structured opportunities. Whether you’re looking to launch your own startup, innovate fresh solutions to existing issues, or hone your problem-solving abilities, you’re sure to find business summer programs that will not only increase your experiential knowledge but also your confidence. The result? You’ll enter college with an increased sense of motivation and purpose that will benefit you immensely in the years to come.

Looking for more business summer programs for high school students in your area? Consider checking out the following: