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Michigan Ross Summer Business Academy: A Comprehensive Guide

The University of Michigan has been consistently ranked as one of the best universities in the country for business education. If you’re a student considering a career in business, Michigan’s Ross School of Business should be on your radar with it's well-recognized academic rigor and extensive alumni network.


In this post, we will provide you a comprehensive guide to Michigan Ross’ Summer Business Academy, a pre-college program specifically tailored for high schoolers with the curiosity and drive for getting a headstart on their business education.


What Is The Summer Business Academy at the Ross School of Business?

The Michigan Ross Summer Business Academy is a two-week business program for rising high school seniors. It is a residential program at the Michigan Ross campus at Ann Arbor, Michigan. You will be working closely with local companies on real-world business challenges, ending with a solution pitch, gaining practical experience of business concepts along the way. The curriculum of the college-level classes and workshops you’ll be attending is designed to cover various aspects of business, from marketing to finance. During the course of the program, you’ll be interacting and working with Michigan Ross faculty, alumni, and current students.


Does participating in the Academy get me an acceptance from the University of Michigan?

One thing the Summer Business Academy is not, however, is a gateway to Michigan Ross. There is no college credit offered for completing the Academy, and participation does not secure or influence admissions to their BBA program.


In general, summer camps do not directly lead to admissions in their respective universities. However, they are good signals of your interest in the university and so can help make your argument that you are very excited by the university when you apply!


Eligibility, Admission and Pedagogy

  • Who is eligible to apply to the Michigan Ross Summer Business Academy? A current rising high school senior with a minimum GPA of 3.0.

  • Are international students eligible? Yes, but preference is given to US and Canadian residents.

  • What is the application process? The application involves the following steps:

    1. An online application

    2. A 300-word essay

    3. A letter of recommendation

    4. Official transcript

  • What are the key dates? For 2023, the dates were as follows. You can expect the dates for 2024 to be similar:

    1. Application opens - Nov 11, 2022

    2. Final deadline - Jan 23, 2023

    3. Course dates - June 18th - 30th, 2023

  • What is the cohort size? The program admits 60 students

  • What can I expect as a participant? On a typical day, you’ll be attending a morning lecture by faculty, followed by group work, then another class or a workshop. Evenings will often be dedicated to guest speaker sessions or field visits, with the late evenings and nights left for group work, community meetings or recreation. There are also company treks and weekend team-building activities you will be taking part in. The objective is to ensure you gain a deeper understanding of an academic and career future in business while learning in a collaborative and experiential environment.


What Is The Cost of Attending Summer Academy?

  • What is the fee? The all-inclusive program fee is $3,250, plus a $50 application fee

  • Are scholarships available? Michigan Ross offers both full and partial need-based scholarships. These scholarships can additionally cover the cost of travel if you’re located more than 100 miles from the University of Michigan. Applying for a scholarship requires completing a scholarship essay as part of the application process.


Is Michigan Ross Summer Business Academy prestigious?

While Michigan Ross does not offer statistics on the number of applicants or the acceptance rate, you should keep a few things in mind when considering the benefit of having the Summer Academy on your profile. For one, it’s limited to only 60 students and requires essays, recommendations and transcripts. For the other, Michigan Ross’ BBA Program has been ranked #4 in US News & World Report’s 2022 rankings, the MBA has been ranked #8 in the same publication in 2024, along with similar rankings across the years from The Economist and QS World University. It is reasonable to assume that the Summer Academy is a selective program in its own right while benefiting from Michigan Ross’ faculty, alumni and pedagogy.


However, you should note that the Summer Business Academy is not as prestigious as fully-funded programs such as the Clark Scholars Program at the University of Texas.

Should You Apply? Quick Comparisons

When considering whether or not to apply to the Summer Business Academy, you should ask yourself these questions:


  • Do I want to pursue a career in business, or start my own business?

  • Do I want to understand concepts, or obtain practical experience?

  • How much time and money am I willing to spend?


Simply put, the Summer Business Academy can be considered a mini-BBA (Bachelors in Business Administration), a great entrypoint if you’re considering applying for a BBA or considering a double major with business as a concentration. The time and monetary commitment, while not all that insignificant, is approachable and doable even if you are still exploring your career path.


However, if you are already clear on your commitment to pursuing business education, then your summer would be better spent strengthening your profile and exposing yourself to more rigorous, challenging and exclusive programs and competitions. One way of showing a strong profile is through a mentored research program such as the Lumiere Research Scholar Programs or internships with startups through Ladder Internships. Some other programs you can consider are Haas School of Business UC Berkeley’s B-BAY, one of the most hectic and selective entrepreneurship programs available. Another is Wharton Global Youth Program’s Investment Competition, an intense and challenging simulation competition that is excellent for those interested in finance. Both of these have a much greater focus on real-world application of business skills in a competitive environment.


Considering Pros & Cons

Pros:

1. You will be receiving comprehensive business education from a top-tier institution, learning college-level concepts and actually experiencing college life. You will be learning from the Michigan Ross faculty, acclaimed experts in their fields, while attending lectures structured like college classes, with a similar workload and deliverables. This will prepare you for what an actual bachelor’s in business is like.


2. You will gain practical experience: Site visits, guest lectures, workshops and the final deliverable of solving an existing business challenge with a real company ensure that you will also gain practical exposure. You will understand real corporate constraints and challenges and actually solve them with mentors.


3. You will have the opportunity to build a good network: the opportunity is substantial as you get to interact with Michigan Ross professors, alumni and students.


4. You don’t need to commit as much time as other summer business programs: The time commitment at about 8 hours a day for less than 2 weeks is not as intense as some other programs, freeing your summer to be able to do multiple activities.


Cons:


1. You might face some competition (not a lot though): Spots are limited and likely to be competitive. Ensure you have a backup option handy.


2. You will pay a high fee: for its relatively short length, the program is expensive. The availability of scholarships does make it a little more approachable however.


3. You may find it harder to get into the program as an international student: If you’re an international student then you’re out of luck with this program, both because of its residential mandate as well as its stated preference for US and Canadian residents.


4. You are not signing up for a high-prestige intensive program: As discussed earlier, the short duration and lower intensity make this program a good entry point but not as distinctive as others.


Our Review

Overall, if you’re considering exploring a career in business education and have had limited exposure so far, then the Summer Business Academy is a solid gateway to obtaining that exposure and head start. The combination of lectures, site visits, workshops, group work, and real corporate exposure is a compelling offering, backed up with Michigan Ross’ prestige and pedagogy, which is a significant advantage versus say Drexel’s Camp Business. If you’re looking for a more robust and hands-on program to sharpen your entrepreneurial or corporate profile however, then between this program and B-BAY / Wharton Global Youth, either of the latter would be more beneficial for you.


If you're looking for a real-world internship that can help boost your resume while applying to college, we recommend Ladder Internships!


Ladder Internships is a selective program equipping students with virtual internship experiences at startups and nonprofits around the world! 


The startups range across a variety of industries, and each student can select which field they would most love to deep dive into. This is also a great opportunity for students to explore areas they think they might be interested in, and better understand professional career opportunities in those areas.


The startups are based all across the world, with the majority being in the United States, Asia and then Europe and the UK. 


The fields include technology, machine learning and AI, finance, environmental science and sustainability, business and marketing, healthcare and medicine, media and journalism and more.


You can explore all the options here on their application form. As part of their internship, each student will work on a real-world project that is of genuine need to the startup they are working with, and present their work at the end of their internship. In addition to working closely with their manager from the startup, each intern will also work with a Ladder Coach throughout their internship - the Ladder Coach serves as a second mentor and a sounding board, guiding you through the internship and helping you navigate the startup environment. 


Cost: $1490 (Financial Aid Available)

Location:  Remote! You can work from anywhere in the world.

Application deadline: April 16 and May 14

Program dates: 8 weeks, June to August

Eligibility: Students who can work for 10-20 hours/week, for 8-12 weeks. Open to high school students, undergraduates and gap year students!


Additionally, you can also work on independent research in AI, through Veritas AI's Fellowship Program!


Veritas AI focuses on providing high school students who are passionate about the field of AI a suitable environment to explore their interests. The programs include collaborative learning, project development, and 1-on-1 mentorship. 


These programs are designed and run by Harvard graduate students and alumni and you can expect a great, fulfilling educational experience. Students are expected to have a basic understanding of Python or are recommended to complete the AI scholars program before pursuing the fellowship. 


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!

One more option - the Lumiere Research Scholar Program

If you are passionate about conducting research in business, strategy and entrepreneurship , you could also consider applying to the Lumiere Research Scholar Program, a selective online high school program 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: Ross School of Business

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