Guide to The Best Summer Business Programs

by John A. Byrne on

Summer business programs, largely aimed at undergraduate majors with little exposure to business, help students get a leg up on the job market. They range from Harvard Business School’s one-week program for under-represented students to the nine-week-long summer institute at Villanova.

These programs don’t come cheap: At Dartmouth College, which offers one of the longest established noteworthy programs, the four-week experience is just shy of $10,000.

Here’s a list of some of the best offerings:

Dartmouth's Tuck School of Business. Photo by John A. Byrne


Dartmouth College Tuck School of Business

Name: Tuck Business Bridge Program
Length: Four weeks
Cost: $9,800, including room and board
Target Audience: Rising college juniors and seniors who do not major in either business or economics

Details: One of the largest and longest established running programs of its kind, Tuck’s Business Bridge program took in 260 students during two different sessions last year. The students came from 16 different countries and 68 schools, and about 25% of them are rising juniors. The program brings students through the fundamentals in accounting, economics, finance, marketing and communications.

Half way through the program, there’s a career day that includes panels to provide insight into major industries from consulting, investment banking and marketing. Unlike most summer programs, Bridge has recruiters on campus to interview and meet students and a career services portion of the program provides workshops on writing resumes and cover letters, improving interviewing skills and networking.

The first summer session runs from June 11 to July 16, while the second starts July 11 and runs through Aug. 10. In this year’s first group, some 14% of the class were freshman, while the largest single group (62%) were sophomores. Young women are better represented here than in a traditional MBA program with 44% of the class female.


Harvard Business School

Name: Summer Venture in Management Program
Length: One week
Cost: Free
Target Audience: Rising college seniors from under-represented groups

Details: The 30-year-old Summer Venture program at Harvard is largely open to African-Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, LGBT students, first family members to attend college and students from families with little business education or experience. Harvard typically takes a little more than 60 students at a time for a week on campus in mid-June.

This unique educational experience helps students develop a broader understanding of the challenges business leaders face, the many dimensions of the business world, and the impact they can have on their community and the world through business leadership.

This year’s group of students included:

An African American female from New York who is the first in her family to attend college. At the age of 15 she left school to film a documentary on Pakistani-American relations, and also recently participated in a student trip where she lived on a farm in Ecuador for a month. She is currently a student at Columbia and is spending her summer working at Time Warner.

A Latino male who grew up in a one bedroom apartment in California with five other family members. He is the first in his family to attend college, with his father attending school until 8th grade and his mother until high school. Today, this young man has gone from being a top student at a low income high school to a student at Pomona College. This summer he is interning at Google

An African American female who grew up with her mother and two siblings. She got a job as soon as she turned 16 and never intended to attend a four-year university. However, after finding success and enjoyment in an operations position at a parking company, this woman realized how much she actually enjoyed the world of business and wanted to learn more about it. Working full-time has helped her pay for her tuition at the University of Washington where she is Vice President of the accounting honors society, and she won the University of Washington Deloitte Case Competition. This summer she is interning at Deloitte.

NYU's Stern School of Business is rated 12th among the best U.S. B-schools by Poets&Quants

NYU's Stern School of Business is rated 12th among the best U.S. B-schools by Poets&Quants.


New York University’s Stern School of Business

Name: Stern Foundations: Business Essentials for Non-Business Students
Length: Three weeks
Cost: NA
Target Audience: Undergraduate students and recent graduates who are non-business majors

Details: A four-credit program beginning June 11th for non-business majors, Stern Foundations, the program is composed of four mini-courses in the key business disciplines of accounting, finance, management and marketing. And then there is New York City, a wide open laboratory for all things business and cultural.

An aerial view of the new Knight Management Center at Stanford


Stanford Graduate School of Business

Name: Summer Institute for General Management

Length: Four weeks
Cost: $10,500, including room and board and weekend excursions
Target Audience: College juniors, seniors or recent graduates within two years of receiving an undergraduate degree for the general management program.

Details: The management program provides a focus on foundational business topics common in any MBA program and also requires students to do a final group presentation of a research study on a company. Most days begin with three-to-four hour class sessions that last until the early afternoon, after which students work in professional development workshops and hear presentations from local companies.

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