Leadership Business World Essay


It’s common knowledge that in order to get into a selective college, you’ll need to have a competitive college application. This usually includes a strong GPA, solid standardized test scores, and a whole suite of impressive extracurriculars. But it doesn’t stop there.


More and more now, colleges are looking for applicants to spend their summers productively. Many even explicitly ask about summer activities on their admissions applications. While it might be tempting to spend your summer camped on a beach chair, if you want to put your best foot forward on college applications, you’ll need to do something that shows more initiative.


There are many options for summer activities. Some students get a job to save for college, make spending money, or help to support their family. Other students take college classes or find internships or research opportunities. Some might participate in a service project or a summer program.


Pre-college summer programs now exist in just about every content area. There are STEM programs, art programs, and foreign language institutes. Many students pursue politics or government programs, and still more are interested in business.


If you are interested in a career in business, you have probably heard of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Wharton’s business undergrad and graduate programs are consistently ranked among the top in the country and are some of the hardest programs to get into as a potential business student. But did you know that Wharton also offers a summer program for high school students?


High school students thinking about an undergrad program in business should consider applying to Wharton’s Leadership in the Business World summer pre-collegiate program. This rigorous business and leadership program offers instruction and mentorship from some of the top business professors in the country. To learn how you can get in to Wharton’s Leadership in the Business World program, read on.


What Is Wharton’s Leadership in the Business World?

Leadership in the Business World is a summer program sponsored by the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and running for 4 weeks each July. In years past, the program has occasionally operated at two separate sites for part of the program before coming together at UPenn, but most recently the entire program is run at UPenn for its duration.


Leadership in the Business World is an intensive summer program geared towards a select group of rising high school seniors. These students should be interested in receiving a top-notch undergraduate business education and pursuing the opportunity to hone their skills in the fields of leadership, teamwork, and communication skills.


Leadership in the Business World is intended to provide the opportunity for some of the top business-oriented high school students in the country to learn about leadership in 21st century organizations through a mix of classes with Wharton professors and business leaders, company site visits, and team-building activities.


As of 2017, the program costs $7500 and includes tuition, most meals, activities, weekend trips, and housing. Financial aid is available and admissions are need-blind. 


What Do Students Do At Leadership in the Business World?

During the four-week intensive program, you can expect to attend lectures and presentations from Wharton faculty and guest speakers, engage in classroom discussions about core business subjects, entrepreneurship, and leadership, and visit business enterprises. You will also get the chance to speak with successful leaders from the industries of finance, entrepreneurship, entertainment, real estate, and more.


You will also participate in a team project for the duration of your program. For this project, all students are divided into teams led by Resident Team Advisors, who are generally rising Wharton sophomores. Each team must create a business plan that they present at the end of the month to the entire program. The plans are then evaluated by a panel of venture capitalists and business professionals.


How To Apply to Leadership in the Business World

You are eligible to attend Leadership in the Business World the summer that you are a rising high school senior. You must apply online through the Wharton School’s Leadership in the Business World application.


You will also need to submit a high school transcript, two letters of recommendation from teachers, a short essay, and a school profile, which is a brief description of your school and its program and can be obtained from your school office or guidance counselor.


In years past, the essay has usually focused on your leadership skills and asks for you to describe your leadership experiences. This will be a key element of your application.


You will also need to pay a $75 application fee, though this can be waived in circumstances of financial concern.


Standardized tests scores are not required but are recommended.


The application may only be submitted online. Transcripts, recommendations, and any other materials may be sent via email to LBW-inquiries@wharton.upenn.edu or by mail to:


Leadership in the Business World

610 S. Henderson Road

King of Prussia, PA 19406


All applications and supplementary materials must be received by the application deadline, which is usually in early February. Admissions decisions will be released at the end of March.



Wharton program for high school students provides a leg up, but not a foot in the door

By Bryn Ferguson04/27/15 11:50pm

Some hope to get their feet wet in the business world. Others hope to get a foot in the door at the Wharton School. Regardless of their motives, select rising high school seniors populate the Quad every July to take part in the intensive business program, Leadership in the Business World.

The camp was founded in 1999 in response to a demand from the Wharton administration to find ways to connect with high school students who were interested in finding out more about business school.

Since its first year with an inaugural class size of 30 students, the program has expanded: Lastyear, LBW received 700 applications and boasted a 20 percent acceptance rate, with the 140 admitted students representing 25 states and nearly 20 different countries.

The program carries a cost of $6,995 with a $75 application fee, but need-blind financial aid is available to applicants.

LBW alums and current students describe the program as being similar to the Management 100 class they took at Wharton in their first semester of freshman year.

The students are divided into teams of 10students led by Resident Team Advisors, who are generally rising Wharton sophomores, and must create a business plan that they present at the end of the month to the entire program.

“Students get what we RTAs like to call ‘a four week crash course in Wharton,” Wharton senior and former RTA Charles Wetherbeesaid. “They are exposed to a sampling of coursework from renowned faculty, entrepreneurship exercises.”

Some summers, the program has taken place in both Philadelphia and San Francisco, with 70 students in each location; the San Francisco students then travel to Philadelphia for the final week. This year, all 140 students will be at Wharton’s main campus.

In addition to classes, students have the opportunity to go on site visits of companies in New York and D.C., at places like J.P.Morgan, Deutsche Bank and American Express. In San Francisco, students had the opportunity to visit companies like Google and eBay.

Some students like Wharton freshman Charlotte Elizabeth de Vaulxapplied to LBW without any preconceived notions of Penn or Wharton. De Vaulx came from a liberal arts background and had been thinking that she might attend colleges like Brown University.

“My dad is in business, and I just wanted to get my feet wet,” she said.

Wharton junior Manning Fenghad a similar experience. “I had never been on campus before and did not know how a business school works,” she said. “I thought that it would be a good idea to apply to LBW.”

Yet many students have a definitive interest in Wharton before applying to Penn. Wharton freshman Mariana Repsoldapplied to the program to find out if Penn would be the right fit. Prior to coming to LBW, Repsold had participated in summer programs at the University of California, Los Angelesand the University of Cambridge, adding that there was a culture at her high school in Brazil of attending academic camps.

“I decided Wharton was my dream school, and I wanted to see how living at Penn would be,” she said.

Regardless of their motives for applying, students responded positively to the experience.

“LBW was a huge part of my decision coming to Penn. It locked down that Wharton would be my first choice and that I would be going into business,” Wharton freshman Richie Lousaid.

“It was a blast,” Wharton sophomore Michael Bartonadded. “I went into the program not wanting to go to Wharton and came out wanting to go.”

Repsold agreed that the program was fun and said that it solidified her interest in Wharton.

“LBW was the best program I did,” Repsold said. “It made me certain that this is where I fit in.”

She added that she had Management professor Anne M. Greenhalghas a lecturer during the program, and then last semester had her as her Management 100 professor.

“I loved her from the summer and really wanted to have her again, so I was really lucky,” Repsold said.

While Wharton sophomore Hera Koliatsossaid she was not blown away by the academic experience of LBW, she was still enthusiastic about her month at Wharton.

“The best part of the program is the people you meet ...the networking. They’re extremely intelligent kids,” she said.

And despite de Vaulx’s initial uncertainty, LBW completely changed her perception of the school.

“I just fell in love with the entire Wharton,” she said.

Yet the students agreed that, in addition to seeking positive academic opportunities and the social experience of working closely on their business plans with teammates, many of their peers in the program hoped that LBW would help them in the admissions process to Wharton or Penn.

De Vaulx said she was taken aback by the number of students who were set on applying to Wharton.

“[Upon arriving] I didn’t know that most people wanted to go to Wharton. I was wondering, ‘Why the hell do all these people want to go to Wharton?’ I was definitely not the traditional [student].”

In fact, approximately 30 percent of LBW participants are admitted to Penn, and about 30 students out of 140 end up attending.

“The fact that so many of us got in makes me feel like it would help,” Wharton freshman Elaine Chaosaid.

However, a disclaimer on LBW’s website reads, “Please note that participation in LBW does not guarantee admission into Penn.” During the program, this message is enforced.

“Dr. G [Anne M. Greenhalgh] said it a handful of times,” Koliatsos said.

Wharton sophomore Aaron Brenneradded, “A lot of people might have had that perception but it was squelched the first week. The RTAs were adamant that there was no correlation.”

Feng had a similar experience.

“There was definitely a rumor, but RTAs made it clear that it’s not a1:1 ratio [for acceptance into Wharton],” she said.

LBW administration also enforces that the program is not an express ticket to Wharton.

“By no means do we have it set up as being a feeder,” Associate Director of the Wharton Undergraduate Division and Director of LBW Teran Tadalsaid. “The students in LBW are great candidates for Penn regardless.”

“Just naturally if you have 140 students in a program and they spend a month in Philly, it really shows Penn and Wharton in a great light,” LBW lecturer Lawrence Gelburdadded. “Going to LBW doesn’t help [with admission to Wharton] but encourages students to apply.”

Another reason for the higher acceptance rate to Penn for LBW students than for the general population is the culture of Penn admissions.

“Penn has a culture of taking students who know they want to be here,” Repsold said. “That’s why they take a large percentage of the class early decision. But I know a lot of kids [from LBW] that did not get in, too.”

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But the lucky LBW students who did get accepted to Penn feel that their month of business immersion gave them a leg up over their Wharton peers who did not participate in the program.

“Coming out of LBW, you are already a step ahead of other Wharton students,” Lou said.

A previous version of this article misspelled Teran Tadal's last name as Tedal. The DP regrets the error.

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