Business Institute – Online

Swim with the sharks online! Learn how to create and seize opportunities in ponds large and small.

Develop practical skills and the ability to think critically online, while gaining valuable exposure to important business topics and methods of analysis. Students will be exposed to the essential aspects of business during live online sessions including finance, human resources, management, marketing, and operations. In addition to learning from experienced faculty and collaborating in teams, this online institute ends with a team presentation, in which students pitch ideas to potential investors showcasing the knowledge they gained throughout the week.

At a Glance


Dates: July 12 – 15

Who Can Apply?: 9th – 12th grade students

Program Length: Monday – Thursday

Program Tuition: $995

Location: Online – Zoom

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*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.

What You’ll Experience

Topics Covered:

  • Finance
  • Strategy
  • Marketing
  • Operations
  • Networking and Teamwork

Virtual Experiences:

  • Group presentation of a business case study
  • Connect with Wake Forest business professors and experts
  • Meet virtually with business leaders who started their businesses while in college
  • Improve team-building and project management skills
  • Engage in discussion with global business leaders

*Virtual experiences are subject to change.

Business Institute Cost

Online | $995

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A Day in the Life

  • 12:00 pm – Sign-on and Icebreaker
  • 12:30 pm – Lunch Break
  • 1:00 pm – Welcome and Program Introduction by Academic Leader- Professor Bren Varner
  • 1:10 pm – Session 1 Topics: Live Panel of Business Leaders
  • 1:40 pm – Session 1 Q & A
  • 2:10 pm – Session 1 Break – Out Room
  • 2:25 pm – Break
  • 2:30 pm – Session 1 Topic: Introduction to Marketing and Case Study
  • 3:00 pm – Session 2 – Q&A
  • 3:15 pm – Academic Leader Daily Challenge, Whole Group Discussion, Polls, or Kahoot
  • 3:30 pm – Deacon Discussion – Wake Forest Student Mentors – Q&A
  • 4:30 pm – Wrap Up from Academic Leader
  • 5:30 pm – Optional Evening Activity (Study Abroad Panel)

*The “A Day in the Life” sample schedule is subject to change. 

Meet Your Academic Leader

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.