For several years, ET founder Tina Wells has coached entrepreneurial-minded rising seniors at Leadership in the Business World a summer program at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School. The program gives seniors access to college-style lectures on business and gives them a chance to craft their own business plans and hone their leadership skills. Below, ET’s own Janae Young–who is on her way to Stanford this fall–shares what she learned during her experience in the 2018 program:
Since I was a little girl, both of my parents whom are engineers presumed that I would pursue a STEM career similar to them. Throughout middle and high school, my summers were filled with engineering and robotics programs that often left me feeling drained and lost. To my parent’s surprise, on presentation day at these camps, I was always the girl smiling ear to ear with a clicker in hand presenting the marketing deck for my team’s new invention. Did I understand how our product worked? Vaguely. Was I fascinated by how we could get it to market? Absolutely.
However, the summer of 2018 was different. After my final biomedical engineering summer program in 2017, I pleaded with my parents to let me try a business summer program. Since starting my personal company at the age of 15, I felt an entrepreneurial spirit beginning to bubble inside of me that I wanted to explore. I applied to a program called Leadership in the Business World, a prestigious summer program at the University of Pennsylvania’s world renowned Wharton School of Business. After being accepted, I packed my bags and traveled to Philadelphia where I experienced my most exciting summer yet. Although I didn’t know it at the time, I would meet a woman who would undoubtedly change the trajectory of my life.
I remember my first lecture with Tina Wells vividly. Among our loud morning chatter, Tina quietly waltzed into the room and almost effortlessly grasped the attention of my peers. The room was filled with nervous excitement and I was in awe. For the first time in my life, the person leading our lecture looked just like me. Growing up in North Carolina and venturing into the business world as a black female teenage entrepreneur, I was used to being an anomaly. However, sitting in a class with Tina and some of the most talented youth that the world has to offer, I began to feel like I belonged.
Over the next four weeks, I learned about the fundamentals of marketing, finance, and business from Tina and the other lecturers that she selected. Tina’s lectures were interactive, fun, and incredibly informational. Not only were we taught the basics of marketing but also given the opportunity to implement them in real-life business scenarios. Each group was assigned a mock company to apply and practice the business concepts Tina taught during lecture and present to the whole group. She gave us feedback on how to better brand our companies and appeal to our target market. Through these lectures, I was introduced to marketing as a science and became so intrigued that I decided I wanted to pursue it further. Tina’s presence was also felt in every detail of the summer program as a whole. As the academic director, she chose every speaker, designed every trip, and organized every panel to thoroughly expose us to the business world. As I finished the program, I was overjoyed as I felt that I had finally found my passion. Over a year later as a student at Stanford University pursuing a degree in business and management, I can say that Tina and the program Leadership in the Business World changed my life.