Summer Session

Summer Business Scholars Program Online

July 7 - August 4, 2020

Due to the impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak, Summer Session will be offering the Summer Business Scholars Program via remote instruction for Summer 2020. 

Study Innovation and Entrepreneurship with one of the top business schools in the world. 

The Summer Business Scholars Program's experiential curriculum helps you build an analytical framework rooted in problem-solving and critical thinking skills that will set you apart from your peers in the classroom and in recruiting. The program provides a model environment for bold future leaders to strengthen their grasp of business frameworks through an experiential curriculum delivered by world-renowned faculty and industry experts. Participants will receive University of Chicago undergraduate course credit. Scholars graduate with heightened analytical skills, an unparalleled global network, and the groundwork to turn insight into action. With SBSP, you will return to your undergraduate institution or head to your first job or internship with a newfound confidence and a distinct competitive advantage. SBSP prepares you to excel with employers and to make an immediate impact on your organization upon beginning your internship or full-time job. Our unique program will give you the knowledge and tools you’ll need to think decisively and act confidently.  

Program Details

  • Credit: Earn undergraduate course credit. In most cases, your earned credit can be transferred back to your home institution (check with your academic office).  
  • Study: Master business fundamentals that will help prepare you for future internships and full-time jobs. Lead instructor Starr Marcello and the rest of the teaching team will introduce you to the principles of innovation and entrepreneurship, and how to effectively execute your ideas. 
  • Explore: Hear from Booth alumni who are at the helm of major companies and get an insider's view to what business looks like in practice.
  • Grow: Learn alongside scholars from around the globe through insights from faculty members who push you to challenge the status quo, and Chicago Booth alumni who will share with you a firsthand understanding of what a Booth education can do for you. Your network will expand exponentially through SBSP, a benefit that will serve you for years to come.

Course Description

This course will give next-generation leaders the tools they need to test the viability of new venture ideas. The course will run as a lab, in which students identify the social, environmental, or business-oriented problems of highest importance, and design unique solutions. Along the way, students will enhance their personal leadership capabilities, particularly in the areas of creativity, resiliency, analytics, and communications. As emerging entrepreneurs, students will work in teams on the ideation process, business model development, and the creation of an investor pitch, which will be delivered to a panel of business professionals. During the course, students will create financial models, marketing plans, prototypes, and impact measurement tools. The course will also address the art of fundraising from angel and impact investors, venture capitalists, and other sources. Each team will be assigned an MBA student or professional as a coach to help gather information for the business plans and to create the company presentations. By the conclusion of the course, students will understand how to transform impactful ideas into real businesses.

Because SBSP will be taught in a remote instruction format in Summer 2020, students will have an even more realistic experience of what it is like to work on cross-national and global teams in an online environment. 

Course Schedule

We’ve designed a schedule that combines academic coursework with professional skill-building, with a strong emphasis on teamwork. You'll work and engage with people with varied interests, backgrounds, and ambitions—much like Chicago Booth's other top-ranked business programs. For 2020, SBSP will be a combination of synchronous (real-time) and asynchronous learning over five weeks July 7 through August 4, 2020. 

For the real-time sessions led by the program instructor, class will meet Tuesdays between 6:00pm and 8:00pm Central US Time. Small-group sessions with Teaching Assistants and/or Coaches will tentatively meet Thursday evenings 6:00pm to 7:30pm; note that these small-group meeting times will likely be adjusted once enrollment is closed, and rescheduled to fit the needs of participants. These initial times were chosen so that as many students as possible in the US as well as other time zones may participate in the synchronous sessions.

All academic class sessions and career development sessions with SBSP staff will be recorded, so that students can watch class session videos at times that work for them. The remainder of class sessions and activities will be conducted asynchronously. Some optional corporate presentations may not be recorded, but will be scheduled whenever possible in the early morning Central Time so that students in other times zones can participate.  Lastly, office hours with instructors and teaching assistants will be scheduled individually with students and project groups at times that work for them. 

Here is a general overview of the program:



Co-Curricular Activities and Events

Unit 1


Opportunity Identification

Entrepreneurial Leadership

Program Orientation

Leadership Development


Unit 2

Refining your Business Model

Hands-On Prototyping

Creating a Dynamic Marketing Plan

Chicago Booth MBA Information Session

MBA Entrepreneur Alumni Panel


Unit 3

Articulating your Vision and Impact

Anticipating and Overcoming Objections

Financing your Venture: Venture Capital, Impact Investors,
Angel Investing, and Bootstrapping

Negotiations & Decision Making

Workshop on Theory of Change for Social Entrepreneurs

Final Presentations

Weekly virtual corporate presentations will enhance the academic experience, and provide exposure to a range of Chicago-area businesses and the insights of Chicago Booth alumni.  Chicago Booth alumni are employed at many top Chicago companies, including:

Due to the impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak, Summer Session will be offering the Summer Business Scholars Program via remote instruction for Summer 2020. 

The fee for the 2020 Summer Business Scholars Program in its online format is $5,000.

Included in Fee 

  • All instruction
  • All books and required materials


All applicants are automatically considered for merit-based scholarships, and candidates are notified at the time of their admissions decision whether they have received a scholarship. Scholarships are granted on a limited basis to applicants who can demonstrate through their application: 

  • Excellence in academics
  • Service to their community
  • Leadership within social or academic groups
  • A clear understanding of what they’ll gain from participation and how they’ll contribute to the UChicago Summer Session community

*There is no formal application process for scholarships; anyone who is admitted to these programs is automatically considered for scholarship and all recipients will be notified at the time of admission.


For Visiting Students: Need-based aid is available to Visiting students who are eligible.  You can complete the Financial Aid form on your program application to request aid. Please visit the Visiting Undergraduate Students page for more information on financial aid options. 

For Current UChicago Students: Please visit the Current UChicago Students page for more information on financial aid options. 

The Summer Session Tuition Benefit may be applied to this program. Click here for more information. 


nonrefundable $1,000 deposit will be required to confirm your acceptance into the program within one week after receiving your notification of admission. The remaining balance will be due four weeks after receiving your notification of admission.


 If an admitted student has paid in full, but then decides not to attend or to withdraw, Summer Session will refund the program fee, minus the nonrefundable $1,000 deposit, through July 8, 2020. 

The Summer Business Scholars Program application for non-UChicago students is now open! Click below to:

START a new application

RETURN to an open or submitted application


UChicago students may self-register throuth MyUChicago through May 31. After May 31 through June 30, current students should email and request to register.


Application Components

In order to complete our program application, you’ll need the following items:

  • A letter of recommendation
  • An unofficial transcript from all post-secondary institutions you have attended
  • An essay
  • Your resume
  • International students are required to submit TOEFL or IELTS scores (see International Students page for details). A copy of the entire report should be provided, not just the final score. 
  • Financial Aid & Scholarship Program Application with supporting materials (if applying for need-based aid).


  • Round 1: February 26, 2020
  • Round 2: March 18, 2020
  • Round 3: April 8, 2020
  • Round 4: April 29, 2020
  • Rolling Admissions: After May 1 until all spots are full 


What is a typical day like?

Students will be engaged in real-time instruction on select days, and have assignments as well as structured group activities as part of the course. Though the program is online, it is still intensive, and will require a high level of commitment from all students throughout the program. 

Is the Summer 2020 course compatible with summer work or internships? How much work can we expect per week?

For Summer 2020, the SBSP program schedule is now five weeks, which allows more time for students to work offline on group projects with other students. Participants should expect to devote 15-20 hours per week to assignments, reading, and project work.  

Will the course be graded?

The course is for-credit, and students will receive a traditional letter grade. The grading policy for Summer 2020 will be updated no later than May 1, 2020. 

What kind of companies might we hear from?

SBSP has connections at a range of companies in the Chicago area. A list of confirmed presentations will be posted in Spring 2020. 

What should I wear?

In an online class environment, be comfortable but still appropriately dressed. Students will participate in the course via Zoom, and video will be required so that we can keep everyone engaged during synchronous sessions. 

What is the average age of a scholar?

SBSP is intended to be an opportunity to expand your knowledge of business frameworks.  We find that students who are earlier in their college careers will benefit most from the program, but those who have already earned their BA or BS degree and are considering business school benefit as well. Undergraduate students and post-baccalaureate students of all ages and academic backgrounds are encouraged to apply!

Can I apply if I do not have a business background?

Absolutely! Students from all majors have been successful in this program. Our instructors understand the diverse backgrounds of our scholars and will teach in a way that is effective for everyone

Who should write a letter of recommendation?

You will want to ask someone who can effectively evaluate your academic and/or work performance.  As a reminder, this letter is required in order for your application to be considered complete.

Are program candidates interviewed?

No, they are not.

What are the technology requirements for participation?

SBSP will host the course details via Canvas (our LMS, or Learning Management System) and deliver all instruction via Zoom, a video conferencing platform. Students will need to have their own computer equipped with speakers, a microphone, and a camera (either built-in or a webcam). Students will also need a reliable internet connection and an appropriate location to sit when participating in class sessions. A place quiet enough to hear the instructors and avoid background noise that would disturb other students, but also where you can participate actively in discussions with the instructors and other students, is ideal.  

I've never used Zoom - how does it work?

Students will have the opportunity to participate in training sessions before the program begins in order to orient everyone to the functions of Zoom, as well as etiquette and best practices for learning remotely. 

The Summer Business Scholars Program's instructional approach emphasizes the strong connections between theoretical learning and practical, hands-on experience.  Guest speakers and workshop leaders drawn from Chicago Booth faculty, staff, and alumni will bring their real-world experiences into the classroom, providing a broader context for how course content applies to modern business. 

Meet Our Instructor

Starr Marcello

Starr Marcello, AM ’04, MBA ’17, oversees the strategic development of the Polsky Center and works with University of Chicago students, faculty, and staff to launch the next generation of high-impact ventures as the Polsky Center’s executive director. She has been with the Center since 2005.

She runs the nationally-ranked Edward L. Kaplan New Venture Challenge (NVC), which awards over $1 million in funding and services to top entrepreneurial companies each year. Since 1996, the NVC has fostered more 330+ startups that are still in operation and growing strong, has created thousands of jobs, and has produced exits of over $7.5 billion, including Grubhub (NYSE: GRUB) and Braintree (acquired by eBay’s PayPal for $800 million). In 2017, Starr testified before the U.S. Congress’ Committee on Small Business on the merits of accelerator programs for job creation and economic development.

With funding from the National Science Foundation, Starr launched the Polsky Center I-Corps Program and helped designate the University of Chicago as an official I-Corps site in 2014. Through this interdisciplinary program, Starr teaches elements of the customer development process and human-centered design to researchers and technologists on campus with the goal of helping teams test the commercial viability of their STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) projects.

Starr is a board member for United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship (USABE). Starr holds a B.A. from Wesleyan University and both an M.A. and MBA from the University of Chicago.



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