Business Institute

Swim with the sharks who know how to create and seize opportunity in ponds large and small.

Develop practical skills and the ability to think critically while gaining valuable exposure to important business topics and methods of analysis. Students will be exposed to the essential aspects of business needed to launch and run a company, to include: finance, human resources, management, marketing, and operations. In addition to working alongside experienced faculty and collaborating in teams, this institute ends with a product presentation, in which students pitch ideas to potential investors showcasing the knowledge they gained throughout the week.

At a Glance


Dates: Summer 2020 dates coming soon!

Eligibility: Rising sophomores, juniors, and seniors in high school and incoming college freshmen

Program Length: 1-week sessions

Program Tuition: $2,350

Location: Winston-Salem, NC – Wake Forest University Reynolda Campus

Residential or Non Residential: Residential

*Courses carry no secondary school or college credit. Upon completion of the program, an official Wake Forest University certificate of achievement will be awarded to all Business Institute participants.

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What You’ll Experience

Topics Covered

  • Finance
  • Strategy
  • Marketing
  • Operations
  • Organizational Behavior
  • Business Law

Hands-On Experience:

  • Group presentation of a business case study
  • Work with WFU business professors and business experts
  • Participate in interactive discussions on business-related topics
  • Improve team-building and project management skills
  • Visit area companies and talk with executives
  • Engage in discussion with global business leaders
  • Meet with business leaders who started their businesses while in college

*Hands-on experiences are subject to change.

Business Institute Costs:

Reynolda Campus (Residential Program) | $2,350

A Day in the Life

  • 8:00 – 9:00 am – Arrive and breakfast
  • 9:00 – 9:30 am – Welcome and program introduction
  • 9:30 – 10:30 am – Workshop: Understanding business models
  • 10:30 – 11:30 am – Visit HanesBrands: The building of the champion brand
  • 11:30 am – 12:30 pm – Lunch
  • 12:30 – 1:00 pm – Panel discussion: Young entrepreneurs
  • 1:00 – 2:00 pm – Accounting: Understanding the basics
  • 2:00 – 3:00 pm – Activity: Investment simulation
  • 3:00 – 4:00 pm – Public and presentational speaking
  • 4:00 – 4:30 pm – Disc assessment and personality profile
  • 4:30-5:00 pm – Debrief for next day
  • 5:00 – 6:00 pm – Dinner
  • 6:30 – 7:30 pm – Evening activities
  • 7:30 – 9:00 pm – Free time
  • 9:00 – 10:00 pm – Prepare for bed
  • 10:00 pm – Lights out

*This “A Day in the Life” sample schedule is based upon the 2018 curriculum and is subject to change.

Bren Varner

Academic Leader, Business Institute

J. Bren Varner is a Professor of Practice in the School of Business and the Director of the Business and Enterprise Management Degree Program. He previously served as the Program Director for the University Center for Entrepreneurship where he managed the co-curricular initiatives for the Wake Forest entrepreneurship program. Prior to Wake Forest, he worked with numerous entrepreneurial ventures, focused primarily on technology, software, and the Internet and has provided merger and acquisition advisory services for the software and IT industries.

At Wake Forest, he has taught various undergraduate and graduate classes within the strategy and entrepreneurship disciplines. He is a three-time recipient of the WFU School of Business Senior Class Teaching Award and the recipient of the 2008 Excellence in Entrepreneurship Education Award from the Acton Foundation, an award that recognizes the top 30 entrepreneurship educators in the country.

He received his bachelor’s degree in business from Wake Forest University and his master’s degree in business administration from the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia.