History - Wake Forest School of Business Summer Management Program

History

For the past three decades, Wake Forest University School of Business has welcomed students for its annual Summer Management Program. The program started when founding faculty member Thomas Goho, a professor of finance at the School, wanted to give non-business majors a foundation in the constructs of business.

“The mission he started over 30 years ago remains our mission today,” said Ben King, director of interdisciplinary programs at Wake Forest University, who has led the program since 2007. “We view the Summer Management Program as complementary to the many liberal arts degrees the University confers.”

Students enrolled in the Summer Management Program spend five weeks in the School of Business immersed in business disciplines including accounting, business life skills, business simulation, entrepreneurship, finance, managing information, marketing, personal finance, strategy, and Why Business? courses. Beyond the curriculum, students get to spend an entire day with a consulting firm and compete in a case competition, which allows them to demonstrate what they’ve learned in the program and learn more about careers in consulting.

Upon completion of the program, students earn eight credits, but the overall return on the experience has demonstrated its value far beyond the credential.

“Prospective employers see the Summer Management Program credential on our students’ resumes and our students say they spend a lot of time talking about it during job interviews,” said King. “It is another arrow in the quiver of our students to be able to talk about what they learned in the Summer Management Program.”

For Greta Lange (BS ’13), participating in the program in 2012 helped her acquire a thorough understanding of business and gave her confidence as she began her job search during her senior year.

SUMMER MANAGEMENT PROGRAM TURNS 30“I was fortunate to get hired by Nike, which was a dream come true for me as a student-athlete,” said Lange, who is now pursuing a Master’s in Business Administration. “My goal was to combine my passion for sports with my career, and the Summer Management Program supported me in accomplishing that goal.”

While the mission of the Summer Management Program has remained constant over the past three decades, King has focused on expanding the program to reach more students. The School focuses on recruiting students from diverse academic backgrounds and class sizes have doubled with roughly 90 students participating in the program each year. Since its inception, approximately 2,000 students have completed the Summer Management Program.

“I’m most proud of growing the program in a quality way and seeing the number of lives we touch each year. Our students come from a good cross-section of society, so our classrooms really reflect the markets in business, and that makes for a robust learning environment,” said King.

A partnership with the Athletic Department has also offered student-athletes an outlet to combine their team-building skills to business. Petros Chrysochos (BA ’19) completed the program in 2018 after winning the NCAA Singles Championship in tennis. He majored in communications and minored in entrepreneurship and wanted to gain a perspective on business in order to grow his own company.

“The fun thing about the program is the diversity of students and their backgrounds,” he said. “I attended the Summer Management Program so I could learn more about the business world. The program gave me a lot of connections to use in the future.”

Matthew Cline, MD (BS ’04) participated in the Summer Management Program after receiving tuition as a graduation gift from his parents. Cline now serves as medical director for Davie Medical Center Emergency Department in Bermuda Run, North Carolina, and says he puts the lessons he learned in the Summer Management Program to work daily.

“I help manage a team of roughly 50 physicians, nurses, technicians, and other staff members with a focus on patient care, resource management, and overall operations. Whether it’s related to finance or marketing, the lessons learned from the Summer Management Program have proven to be some of the most valuable that I’ve taken from my undergraduate experience,” Cline said.

The Summer Management Program has inspired many students to further their education at Wake Forest. Students often matriculate into the School’s 10-month Master of Science in Management (MSM) Program after graduation. The School offers scholarships to top Summer Management Program scholars to apply toward their MSM degree.

“There’s a great symbiotic relationship between the School and the College of Arts and Sciences,” added King. “It really resonates with me that we’re able to deliver this kind of breadth of information, and quality of information, to our students as undergraduates. I’ve had parents call me and tell me that for the first time their son or daughter talked to them about what they do for a living because of the Summer Management Program. Those are great calls to receive.”