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Business Bootcamp at the University of Rochester - Should You Do It?

For any high schooler looking to make a career in the business world, it can be fairly challenging to access business education that is relevant, practical, and empowering. There are many pre-college programs that provide an overview or focus on specific aspects of business, and in addition to research mentorship programs and internships, they can be worth considering! In this blog, we’ll be deep-diving into the Business Bootcamp at the University of Rochester, an offering from the University of Rochester that is focused on the intersection of business management and innovation.


What is the Business Bootcamp at the University of Rochester?

The Business Bootcamp is one of the flagship pre-college programs of the Simon Business School at the University of Rochester. It is specifically focused on Innovation Management. It is a three-week residential program for 11th and 12th graders.


The program has an experiential curriculum and aims to provide exposure to business tools and planning techniques for innovation and ideation. It encompasses various elements such as innovation management at the concept stage, corporate marketing, new product development, and design thinking. You will also get the opportunity to engage in business simulations, local business tours, and after-hours business club activities, ensuring a rich, hands-on learning experience.


Who is eligible to apply?

To be eligible for the Business Bootcamp, you must:

  • Be a high school student in the 11th or 12th grade.

  • Be able to travel to and stay at the Rochester, New York campus.

    • International students are welcome, though you will have to prove English language proficiency.


What are the program dates?

The program is residential and takes place in July. For 2023, the dates were July 11 - July 28.


How much does Business Bootcamp at University of Rochester cost?

The program fee is $8,505 and there is minimal financial aid available for applicants with demonstrated financial need.


How does the application process work?

Applying to the Business Bootcamp involves submission of the following:


  1. A short essay (up to 500 words) on the following prompt: “Meliora is our University’s motto, meaning “ever better.” At the University of Rochester, we are always looking for ways to continue learning, and improve ourselves and others. With the course(s) you have selected/applied to, please share how you will use the knowledge from what you learn to make your world “ever better”. In your statement please describe your passion for the subject matter, your motivation for enrolling, and what you hope to gain from this experience.”

  2. Either your official high school transcript OR a letter of recommendation from a school official.

  3. A non-refundable $60 application fee.

  4. One of the following to prove English fluency: Duolingo, InitialView, TOEFL, or IELTS. You may ask to waive the interview if you meet one or more of the following criteria:

    1. You are a native speaker of English

    2. You completed at least three years of high school where English was the primary language of instruction


How is the Bootcamp structured?

The program is structured to be intensive and engaging. It includes rapid-fire mini-lectures, in-class assignments, project assignments, and interactive field trips. The major elements comprising the program are:


  • Innovation management at the concept stage: One of the most challenging aspects of innovation is the “how to” that captures both creativity and feasibility. This part of the program will help you navigate techniques that can generate unique and practical ideas.

  • Corporate marketing and new product development: In this part of the program, you’ll experience rapid-fire mini-lectures and in-class assignments on marketing fundamentals like segmentation, channels, and branding. You’ll also learn New Product Development (NPD) using the Business Model Canvas template.

  • Design thinking: Making products and services that are intuitive and user-centric is an art and science in and of itself. In this part, you will learn the power of user interviews, quick prototypes, demos, and presentations in enhancing your design ideas.

  • Business simulation: One of the most exciting parts of the program, where you will be running a simulated marketing department and competing with your peers for customers and profits!

  • Local business tours: You will get the opportunity to visit everything from student incubators, to startups, to small businesses, to large corporations to enhance your learning.

  • Business clubs: To facilitate peer learning and hands-on experience, the program has both required and optional homework projects and business club activities. The most notable one is the YORI™ Club (Your Own Real Idea) in which you will work on your own ideas for businesses and products while guided by course teachings, a workbook and a mentor.


Is the Bootcamp prestigious?

The Business Bootcamp has a selective admissions process that tries to ensure that applicants are determined, passionate, and academically advanced. This somewhat offsets its high cost and residential structure, which would otherwise reduce its appeal. The program’s prestige is also reflected in its comprehensive curriculum and the rich exposure it offers to the real-world business environment. All in all, we would say it is somewhat prestigious, but most of its benefit to your college applications will come from the learning and skill building you will experience.


Pros and Cons You Should Keep in Mind

Pros


  1. You will experience a diverse, expansive curriculum: Rochester’s Business Bootcamp covers various aspects of business innovation and management and delivers a holistic experience.

  2. You will gain practical experience: The structure of the program, with its business simulations, local business tours, simulations and business clubs ensures that your learning will not be restricted to theory.


Cons


  1. There is no virtual option: While the program is open to all students, the purely residential structure implies that many interested applicants will simply not be able to attend.

  2. It is quite expensive: At $8,505 this is definitely one of the most expensive pre-college programs out there, and to add to that, the availability of financial aid is limited.

  3. Limited prestige factor: Partially due to its cost, and partially due to its residential nature, the program has fewer applicants than its excellent pedagogy would merit, making it less selective and therefore less prestigious.


Our review: should you do it?

If you’re keen on learning the how of innovation and design, with thorough exposure to the theory as well, and you can afford the steep program fees, then you can consider Rochester University’s Business Bootcamp. However, if you’re limited by finances or are looking for a more prestigious program that would propel your college application by participation alone, then this is not it. This is more appropriate for those who are keen on pursuing innovation management and are looking to gain practical experience in the field.


If you’re looking for an incubator program that helps you establish a developed startup in high school, consider the Young Founders Lab! 


The Young Founder’s Lab is a real-world start-up bootcamp founded and run by Harvard entrepreneurs. In this program, you will work towards building a revenue-generating start-up that addresses a real-world problem. You will also have the opportunity to be mentored by established entrepreneurs and professionals from Google, Microsoft, and X. 


You can access the application link here!



Lumiere Research Scholar Program

If you’re looking for the opportunity to do in-depth research on various topics in innovation, business management or a variety of other topics, you could also consider applying to one of the Lumiere Research Scholar Programs, selective online high school programs for students I founded with researchers at Harvard and Oxford. Last year, we had over 4000 students apply for 500 spots in the program! You can find the application form here.


Stephen is one of the founders of Lumiere and a Harvard College graduate. He founded Lumiere as a PhD student at Harvard Business School. Lumiere is a selective research program where students work 1-1 with a research mentor to develop an independent research paper.


Image Source: University of Rochester seal


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