(NEW!) Financial Decision Making

Financial Decision Making is an intensive two-week summer opportunity for a select group of high school students currently enrolled in grades 9–12. High school students are entering a world of financial decisions, some they make and some that others make for them. In addition to their lives as consumers (shopping both online and off), they need to save for the short term and invest for the long term; borrow against the future without spiraling into debt; plan around inflation; shop for financial products; know where their tax dollars go; and understand their rights and the financial issues at stake when they vote. Students need to build the awareness and skills to help them make sound financial decisions.


High school students face daily financial choices. From deciding between a $6 cup of Starbucks coffee or saving for a new pair of Air Jordans, to contemplating whether to invest in an ad-free YouTube subscription, the decisions they make can impact their financial well-being. They must also begin to understand the more sophisticated financial landscape to empower them to grow and manage their wealth throughout their lifetime. Uninformed decisions can often lead to financial setbacks.

By delving into the basics of economics and fundamental financial principles, students will develop a robust understanding of financial concepts and navigate the complexities of the financial world confidently. They will engage with real-world datasets and practical examples, building their analytical skills and decision-making abilities.

Program highlights include: 

  • Engage with an introductory curriculum inspired by the undergraduate finance program at the Wharton School 
  • 2 hours of daily live lectures led by program instructors 
  • 1 hour of daily recitation led by Teaching Assistants (TAs) 
  • Daily interaction with like-minded peers from around the globe 
  • Collaborative group projects that will test your potential as future financial professionals  
  • Practical skill training via real-world datasets 

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

Financial Decision Making uses a curriculum developed by Wharton Professor David Musto who is an expert in capital markets and strategic equity finance. 


Course Meeting Times

Daily participation and engagement are required Monday through Friday, with exceptions as noted below. Each day will include some mixture of live, online class sessions; facilitated, small group discussions; collaborative group work; simulations; and independent work, completed within the Wharton Online Learning Platform. Live class sessions will meet as outlined below. 

Schedule Exceptions 

Students participating in Session 1, June 17 – June 28 should note the following schedule difference: 

  • Wednesday, June 19: classes will not meet due to the Juneteenth holiday 
  • Saturday, June 22: classes will meet as a makeup 

Live Session Schedule 

  • Monday – Friday: 11:00AM-1:00PM Eastern Daylight Time (GMT-4) 
  • Recitations: Students are required to attend a 1-hour TA-led recitation daily. Multiple recitation time slots will be available for students to choose from. Recitations are designed as skill-building workshops, and promote a deeper understanding of the lecture content through exercises in practical application.  
  • Live, Small Group Activities: Additional small group meetings may be required to complete collaborative activities or peer project work. If necessary, these meetings will be scheduled at the students’ convenience. 

Technical Requirements 

In order to fully participate in this course, you will need a computer that meets minimum system requirements for both Canvas LMS and Zoom Videoconferencing. Refer to the following links: 

All programming originates from the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania (Eastern Daylight Time)



High school students currently enrolled in grades 9-12 with demonstrated interest in economics and finance. International students are welcome.  


Admission to the online Financial Decision Making program is selective. Eligible candidates should demonstrate a record of academic excellence, and a genuine interest in economics and finance. Prior knowledge in economics or finance is not required.  

*Financial Decision Making is a great introductory program to prepare students for our on-campus Essentials of Finance program. 

Please note that participation in Financial Decision Making does not guarantee admission into Penn.

Instructional Team

Academic Director: David Musto

David K. Musto is the Ronald O. Perelman Professor in Finance and faculty director of the Stevens Center for Innovation in Finance at the Wharton School, where he has been on the faculty since 1995. He also served as Senior Financial Economist at the Securities Exchange Commission from 2005 to 2007. He has a BA from Yale University and a PhD from the University of Chicago, and between college and graduate school he worked for Roll and Ross Asset Management in Culver City, CA. Most of his work, both theoretical and empirical, is in the area of consumer financial services, mutual funds and consumer credit in particular. He has also published work on corporate and political voting, option pricing, short selling, and cross-border taxation. 

Academic Directors advise the Wharton Global Youth team on instructor hiring and develops the program curriculum, including but not limited to: course topics, suggested activities, readings and capstone projects.

Program Leader: Naomi Bright

Naomi Simi Bright is a second-year MBA student at the Wharton School, majoring in Healthcare Management and Operations Information and Decisions. Prior to her MBA, she received her bachelor's degree in Chemical Engineering at MIT and worked as an engineer in the pharmaceutical industry. She has taught three semesters of Essentials of Personal Finance through the Wharton Global Youth Program.




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. 


Wharton Global Youth Meetup (GYM)

Wharton Global Youth Meetup (GYM) is a creative, co-curricular community open to summer students as a way to connect to one another — and Wharton — before, during, and after their programs. Featuring both live and independent programming, the GYM is designed to ensure virtual participants don’t miss out on valuable community building and networking. 

*The GYM is included in all online summer programs, except Understanding Your Money.