Essentials of Finance

Essentials of Finance is an intensive two-week summer opportunity for a select group of high school students currently enrolled in grades 9–11. This exploratory program provides a brief introduction to the fundamentals of finance, as well as opportunities to explore finance beyond the stock market, including venture capital, corporate valuation, and alternative investments.

Key finance topics explored
Case studies discussed
Small-group members per team


Essentials of Finance provides an introduction to the theory, the methods and the concerns of the world of finance. Learn about the fundamentals of both personal and corporate finance. Delve into the topics such as the time value of money, the trade-off between risk and return, equities and corporate accounting

Each summer, Wharton Essentials of Finance students:

  • Engage with an exploratory curriculum inspired by the undergraduate finance program at the Wharton School
  • Learn fundamentals of finance with real-world applications and case studies
  • Attend lectures and presentations from notable Wharton faculty, lecturers and PhD students
  • Collaborate in small teams to complete an analysis project

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


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
  • 1:30-3:00pm – Topics lecture/guest speaker
  • 3:00-3:15pm – Afternoon break
  • 3:15-4:30pm – Recitations/group work

Session topics include:

  • Personal finance
  • Corporate accounting
  • Corporate finance
  • Fixed income
  • Equities and impact investing
  • Risk and the cost of capital
  • Capital structure
  • Derivatives

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.



High school students currently enrolled in grades 9-11 eager to gain valuable knowledge of finance, investing and accounting. Demonstrated understanding of economics or business is highly preferred, though not required. International applicants are welcome.


Admission to Wharton Essentials of Finance is selective. Each year the admissions committee receives many more applications than there are available places. Selections are based on a record of academic excellence and a genuine interest in developing finance skills. Interested students are strongly encouraged to submit an application by the priority deadline.

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

Instructional Team

Program Leader

Coming Soon!

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.

“My advice for incoming students is to make friends with people in your program. You will get to meet people across the world that have different perspectives and experiences than you do. You will learn a lot from your classes, but you will also learn from your peers. Also—bring a calculator!” - Kendall B., Maryland, USA