Essentials of Entrepreneurship

Essentials of Entrepreneurship is an intensive two-week summer program for a select group of high school students currently enrolled in 9th to 11th grades. This immersive experience challenges students to engage with peers, use innovative thinking, and learn the basics of what it takes to be an entrepreneur.

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Hours of small-group design and development in the Makerspace
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Student projects showcased

Overview

With a two-week schedule filled with lectures, recitations, and activities, students will walk away with a better understanding of how to design a creative and useful product from scratch and what it takes to truly be an entrepreneur.

Each summer, Wharton Essentials of Entrepreneurship students:

  • Attend lectures and presentations from notable Wharton faculty, lecturers and PhD students 
  • Learn design thinking theories and practice researching, prototyping and testing skills to bring a product concept to life
  • Work in teams to design an original product prototype to be showcased to a panel of judges during our end of program Design Fair
  • Explore historic Philadelphia and experience college life on Penn’s Ivy League campus

All participants who successfully complete the program will earn a Wharton Global Youth Certificate of Completion.

Details

Academic classes are held Monday-Friday with extracurricular activities available in the evenings and on the weekends. Students move in on Sunday pre-program, and move out the final Saturday of the program. For more information on campus life, visit our residential experience page.

While each day varies in format, a typical day includes:

  • 9:00-10:30am – Topics lecture/guest speaker
  • 10:30-10:45am – Mid-morning break
  • 10:45-12:00pm – Recitation/small-group activity
  • 12:00-1:30pm – Lunch
  • 1:30-2:30 – Topics lecture
  • 2:30-4:30pm – Product design work in the student makerspace

Session topics may include:

  • Innovation and Opportunity
  • Design Thinking
  • Consumer Behavior
  • Business Model Generation
  • Tech Entrepreneurship
  • Prototyping
  • Social Entrepreneurship

In the evening, students will have a number of extracurricular activities to choose from. Students can also opt to work on their final project with their group, meet with the program TAs, and/or relax at the dorm.

Please note, some days may not follow this schedule as there could be a site visit off campus or a simulation in lieu of lecture/recitation schedule.

Eligibility

Eligibility

High school students currently enrolled in grades 9-11 looking to advance their entrepreneurial mindset. No formal business background is required. International applicants are welcome.

Admission

Admission to Wharton Essentials of Entrepreneurship is selective. Selections are based on a record of academic excellence and a genuine interest in developing entrepreneurship skills. Interested students are strongly encouraged to submit an application by the priority deadline.

Please note that participation in the Essentials of Entrepreneurship program does not guarantee admission into Penn.

Instructional Team

 

Program Leader: Taylor Caputo

Taylor Caputo is a product designer, artist, and academic with a background in fine arts, crafts, and 3D modeling. As an alum of the Integrated Product Design Program at Penn, she now teaches the interdisciplinary Product Design course (OIDD/MEAM 415, IPD 515) and created the courses The Design of Connected Objects and Experiences (IPD 529) and Advanced Tools & Methods for Product Design (OIDD 659). She has offered design consulting to various companies such as Away Travel, Puma, and BioMeme, and has exhibited her work internationally, notably at the 2016 Vienna Design Week and 2018 Milan Design Week. A proud lifelong Philadelphian, Taylor also enjoys indulging in the city’s vegetarian delights and is an avid ceramics artist when not teaching.

Teaching Assistants

Teaching Assistants consist of both undergraduate and graduate students from the University of Pennsylvania. TAs facilitate small-group discussions, ensure student understanding, assist with final project development, and hold office hours to answer student questions and share their Penn and Wharton experiences.

“This program gave me my first insight into college, and it made me incredibly passionate about pursuing a career in business. Be sure to get to know your professors and peers, and keep building your network throughout the program." - Richa S., Manila, Philippines