19 Jul 2010
Summer Venture in Management Program (SVMP) Brings Diverse Students from Over 40 Colleges to HBS
Weeklong program teaches lessons in management and leadership
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BOSTON—In six weeks, Michael Henry will begin his senior year at Morehouse College following a summer internship at Google. Ana Maria Silva will return to Florida International University in the fall after a summer stint promoting programs offered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Both students will also bring with them business and leadership lessons learned from a weeklong experience at Harvard Business School's Summer Venture in Management (SVMP) program.

Henry and Silva were part of a select group of more than 60 college students who spent an intensive week at HBS in June. Founded more than 20 years ago, SVMP is a management training program for "rising" college seniors designed to increase diversity and opportunity in management education and leadership.

Participants live on the School's campus in Boston, study HBS cases that present them with real management situations and decisions, work together in study groups, and attend discussion-based classes taught by HBS faculty members. HBS cases studied by this year's cohort of SVMP students included IKEA, Benihana of Tokyo, LeBron James, and Hulu. In addition, during the week, a number of activities took place outside the classroom, including social events and panel discussions with current HBS students and SVMP alumni.

Henry, already an aspiring entrepreneur, said experiencing the HBS case method was his favorite part of SVMP. "The case method puts you in the position of the CEO or leader of an organization to make really hard, strategic decisions," he said. Over the next 10 to 15 years, he would like to play a role in the economic development of urban communities. (See video below).

Silva found the program analytically challenging and appreciated the diversity of the SVMP peer group. "The SVMP participants are all very driven. Even though we come from different states, different backgrounds, different majors, and we all have different dreams, the one thing we all want to do is to be a leader in this society and make a difference in the community," she explained. (See video below).

Admission to SVMP is competitive and based on academic achievement, demonstrated leadership, and personal characteristics.

Academic studies in the field of business are not a prerequisite for selection to the program. However, SVMP participants must be employed in a summer internship and be nominated by and have sponsorship from their company or organization. Sponsoring organizations can include public or private companies, government agencies or entities, and nonprofit organizations. Applicants must be US citizens or permanent residents.

In keeping with SVMP's mission of promoting diversity in business leadership, the admissions committee will consider, among other factors, whether the applicant is:

  • The first family member to attend college,
  • A member of a group that is currently underrepresented in business schools and corporate America (e.g., African American; Latino; Native American; Lesbian, Gay, or Transgender), and/or
  • From a family with little business education or experience,
  • From a school whose graduates are sometimes underrepresented (e.g., a community college or a predominantly minority college).

Harvard Business School pays for tuition, meals, and housing, while sponsoring organizations cover salaries and transportation to and from the HBS campus.