Summer Session

Summer Business Scholars Program

July 12 - July 31, 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 three-week 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 in this program will receive University of Chicago 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. 
  • Reflect: Dive deep into soft-skill workshops including leadership, improvisation, negotiation, problem-solving, career exploration, and business etiquette.
  • Explore: Meet with Booth alumni who are at the helm of major companies within the city of Chicago and get an insider's view to what business looks like in practice.
  • Live: Immerse yourself in Hyde Park, home to the University of Chicago, and a historic neighborhood in one of the most vibrant cities in the world. Nearly 30 miles of lakeshore and 24 beaches, awe-inspiring architecture, countless museums, an incredible food scene, and not one but two World Series Champion baseball teams - make Chicago the ideal backdrop to your summer.
  • 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.

Arrival Day

July 12


July 13

First Day of Class

July 14

Last Day of Class

July 30

Departure Day

July 31

Course Description

This three-week 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 three-week course, students will understand how to transform impactful ideas into real businesses.

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. Class will meet in both the morning and afternoon, Monday through Friday. Afternoons and evenings will be a mix of study time and recreation. Weekends allow time for students to explore the city of Chicago, either on their own or a part of a schedule of residential programming activities organized by the Residential Assistant team. Here is an overview of the program:



Co-Curricular Activities and Events

Week 1


Opportunity Identification

Entrepreneurial Leadership

Program Orientation

Leadership Development

Trek to Chicago Entrepreneurs and Investors

Week 2

Refining your Business Model

Hands-On Prototyping

Creating a Dynamic Marketing Plan

Chicago Booth MBA Information Session

MBA Entrepreneur Alumni Panel

Observations and Customer Interviews on Campus to Validate your Business Idea

Week 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 corporate visits 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:

The fee for the 2020 Summer Business Scholars Program is $7,500(If on-campus accommodations are not needed, the fee is reduced to $5,200.)

Included in Fee 

  • All instruction
  • All books and classroom materials
  • On-campus accommodations (with a roommate) and dining
  • Bus transfers to program-related events in the city
  • Tickets/entrance fees to program cultural events

Not included in Fee 

  • Airfare to and from Chicago
  • Round-trip transportation from Chicago airports
  • Some meals
  • Social activities not officially planned by the program
  • Laundry service


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 within one month of the deposit due date. 


This program requires payment in full for all program fees within a month of admission. If an admitted student has paid in full, but then decides not to attend, refunds will be issued on the following schedule:

Refund Date of Request Received
75% of Program Fee Before April 30
50% of Program Fee May 1 - 14
25% of Program Fee May 15 - 31
No refund of tuition or housing & dining costs On or after June 1

Please note that the refund does not include the nonrefundable $1,000 deposit.

The Summer Business Scholars Program application is now open! Click below to:

START a new application

RETURN to an open or submitted application


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
  • Rolling Admissions begins after April 1, and will continue until the program is full. 

Please note that International students who require visa sponsorship must apply before April 1. 

What is a typical day like?

Most days, scholars will be busy with coursework and programming from 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m., and will spend weekday evenings working in teams, studying independently, or taking in the sights of Chicago. 

What companies have students visited in the past?

Our company visits have included Goldman Sachs, Bain, Deloitte Consulting, RW Baird, Wrigley, Cara, Morningstar, Kraft, United Airlines, Boston Consulting Group, Abbott Laboratories, Grubhub, Sears Holding, and Hyatt International.

What should I wear?

Classroom attire is casual; however, we do not recommend athleisure. Company visits, formal luncheons, and other events will require business attire. Summers in Chicago tend to be warm and humid; however, our weather is often unpredictable. We recommend bringing a minimum of two business professional suits, several casual/business casual options, an umbrella, a light jacket, and/or long-sleeved attire.

Will I have free time during the Summer Business Scholars Program? (SBSP)

Summer Business Scholars have ample free time on weekends.  Participants spend a lot of time during weekday evenings preparing for class, but always find time to explore Chicago as well.  

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. Undergraduate students of all ages and academic backgrounds are encouraged to apply!

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

Absolutely! Students of 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.

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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