When Neala Ameerali saw an opportunity to participate in a program at Harvard Business School (HBS), she jumped at the chance.
“I heard about the Harvard Summer Venture in Management Program (SVMP) from one of my fraternity brothers in Alpha Kappa Psi,” said Ameerali, a senior with a dual major in finance and management information systems in the College of Business Administration at Florida International University (FIU). “This program gives undergraduates a chance to see what MBA work is like at Harvard.”
Ameerali completed the application even though she felt her chances were small for this highly competitive program. But in May, she learned she was among the 80 students accepted.
“I remember my mom shouting for joy,” she said.
Founded more than two decades ago, SVMP is a one-week management training program for promising college seniors designed to increase diversity and opportunity in business education and leadership.
Living in residence halls, participants analyzed HBS cases of real management situations, worked together in study groups and attended classes taught by Harvard professors.
“The professors were so enthusiastic and the Harvard Business School Case method is an exciting way to learn,” said Ameerali, who spent the rest of her summer as an intern at the Securities and Exchange Commission in Miami.
This year’s curriculum included cases on IKEA, restaurant chain Benihana of Tokyo, basketball star LeBron James, car-sharing service Zipcar and T-shirt maker Threadless. Social events and panel discussions with current HBS students and SVMP alumni also took place.
Harvard does not disappoint.
Ameerali had lofty notions of what Harvard would be like; happily, the prestigious school lived up to her expectations.
“Walking around campus I couldn’t help but think of all the great people who studied there,” she said. “It’s quite a beautiful place, with impressive buildings and New England splendor.”
Ameerali is working on another “long shot,” she reported. She is preparing to complete her application for graduate school at Harvard.
“My goal is an MBA, then perhaps a career as a financial advisor,” she said.