Leadership in the Business World

Leadership in the Business World (LBW) is an intensive summer program for a select group of rising seniors who want an introduction to a top-notch undergraduate business education and the opportunity to hone their leadership, teamwork, and communication skills. Since 1999, LBW has brought students from six continents and nearly every state to the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.


Designed to provide students with a glimpse of Wharton’s undergraduate curriculum, LBW offers opportunities to learn about leadership in 21st century organizations through a dynamic and rigorous mix of classes with Wharton professors and business leaders, real-time business simulations, and team-building activities.

Each summer, LBW students:

  • Attend lectures and presentations from outstanding Wharton faculty and guest speakers
  • Participate in classroom discussions about core business subjects, including research-based theories of leadership and teamwork
  • Practically apply real-world business practices through Wharton Interactive’s digital simulations and case competitions
  • Conduct research on business enterprises and speak with successful leaders across the industries of finance, entrepreneurship, entertainment, real estate, retail, and more


All participants who 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 – Simulations/recitations/small group work

Session topics may include:

  • Organizational Strategy
  • Leadership Competencies
  • Negotiation
  • Customer Centricity
  • Business Model Generation
  • Management

Students will also have the unique opportunity to attend our Wharton Global Youth Speaker Series, which features presentations and conversations with notable Wharton faculty. The topics covered in these presentations span the breadth of Wharton teaching, allowing students insights into additional topics and cutting-edge research not specifically addressed within their program’s focus area. Previous speakers and topics have included:  

  • Dean of The Wharton School, Professor Erika James: Crisis Management 
  • Professor Michael Roberts: Finance 
  • Professor Ethan Mollick: The Future of AI  
  • Professor Katherine Klein: Social Impact   
  • Professor Michael Platt: Neuro Economics 
  • Professor Barbara Kahn: Marketing 
  • Professor Maurice Schweitzer: Negotiation and Deception 
  • Professor Olivia Mitchell: Financial Literacy 

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 grade 11 with demonstrated leadership experience and academic excellence of a 3.5 unweighted GPA or higher. International applicants are welcome.

Admission to LBW is highly selective. Each year the admissions committee receives many more applications than there are available places. Wharton will select approximately 120 students to attend per session. Selections are based on a record of academic excellence, demonstrated leadership, and a genuine interest in developing leadership skills. Interested students are strongly encouraged to submit an application by the priority deadline.

Please note that participation in LBW does not guarantee admission into Penn.

Instructional Team

Academic Director: Henry Xu

Xu Han (“Henry”) is an Associate Professor of Management at the College of New Jersey and an Adjunct Associate Professor and Senior Fellow in the Management Department at the Wharton School, The University of Pennsylvania. Henry earned his Bachelor in International Law from China Foreign Affair University and Ph.D. in Management (Strategy) from Guanghua School of Management at Peking University.

Henry’s broad research interest lies in understanding how firms create value and sustained competitive advantage through corporate entrepreneurship and business model innovation. He is particularly interested in firms in FinTech and renewable energy sectors. Henry’s research has been published in influential academic and practitioner-oriented journals and presented in multiple international conferences. He received “Best Empirical Paper Award” from the Entrepreneurship Division of Academy of Management. He is also a member of the Editorial Board of Management and Organization Review.

Henry’s teaching is focused on a diverse set of strategy and entrepreneurship related topics (e.g., business model innovation, corporate entrepreneurship, digital transformation and disruption, early stage financing) in undergraduate, MBA and Executive Education programs. He also writes teaching cases on these topics. Henry received a Wharton Teaching Excellence Award in 2020. Besides research and teaching, Henry co-founded and runs a venture-backed climate tech company which received grants and prizes from National Science Foundation and Department of Energy. He also advises a number of start-up and established companies on various strategy and entrepreneurship issues.

Instructor: Coming Soon!

Teaching Assistants

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

“During LBW, I was immersed in Wharton’s rigorous and collaborative academic culture. Through lectures and guest speakers, I was exposed to the distinct facets of the business world and discovered my interest in the intersection between business and psychology." - Maddie B., New York, USA