Summer at Harvard: A high school student's perspective

Sanam Singh is a Grade 12 student and the Head Girl at TMS School in Richmond Hill.

I was honored to have been accepted into the Harvard Summer School program this past July. As someone aspiring toward a legal career, my time on Harvard’s campus  was wonderful and extremely memorable.

The program participants did not know each other, but were required to work together on an assigned project. This meant that we all had to leverage our strengths and weaknesses to work towards a collective goal. Harvard’s unique teaching style gave me the opportunity to bond with like-minded students and create strong friendships during this short time. This allowed us, as a group, to formulate a successful and innovative mock business model.

The final project of this course required a solid understanding of the components of a successful start-up business, including finances, marketing and branding, and intellectual property law.

Takeaways & Learnings

One interesting lecture was on the importance of intellectual property in the early stages of a business. Reflecting back on the process, it is clear how a company needs to value its IP assets in order for its sustainable growth.

Personally, it was very valuable to have hands-on experience for dealing with the ambiguities of IP rights in marketing. For example, many companies have similar marketing strategies, especially when the products are similar in nature. While creating our business model, my group and I brainstormed many distinct styles of marketing the end product.

From this experience, I gained a better understanding of IP rights and their crucial role in the marketing and branding strategies which contribute to a business plan.

Final Remarks & Conclusions:

In conclusion, I learned so much about start-ups and the components that contribute to a start-up’s success. Being able to work with a variety of students to meet a common goal, create a business plan and apply our learned concepts made this experience even more memorable.

Prior to this course, I was not fully aware of how important IP was for businesses and start-ups. After developing a mock business model and learning to think like both a lawyer and businesswoman, I feel confident in one day being able to implement these learnings into future ventures.

I am so grateful and honored to have been selected to attend this Harvard program as I had such a remarkable experience. Harvard’s teaching methods, interaction and communication are unlike any educational experience I have had. Working with complete strangers to come up with a realistic and functional business in such a short amount of time taught me a myriad of intangible skills, tools, and ideas that I can apply to so many different aspects of my life.

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