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Senior Sets Sights on Business School After Completing 2 Wharton Programs

After successfully completing programs with The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania for two consecutive summers, Amira Brownell '22 has her eyes set on business school when she graduates from Sanford. She successfully completed both Wharton’s Pre-Baccalaureate Program for Business this year and Wharton’s Future of the Business World program in 2020.
At Sanford, Amira received the Cum Laude Society Award for Mathematics last spring. She has taken a significant AP course load including AP Calculus AB and, and as a junior also received the College Board’s AP Scholar Award for students who receive scores of 3 or higher on three or more AP Exams.
 
Wharton’s Pre-Baccalaureate Program was a strategic next step for Amira: “To be taught by their professors and see how they valued education and our safety during COVID was important. We had one Wharton professor, and I received an official transcript with college credit for successful completion of the Viral Marketing course.”

“I researched and successfully applied to two Wharton summer programs in 2020 when I was initially not accepted into a local college program offered by my school,” says Amira. She completed the two-week Future of the Business World program in 2020 and recalls, “It was so insightful despite being virtual because I was able to curate ideas and develop a product to fit the needs of consumers during the pandemic.” While she was accepted into two Wharton programs that year, the Sports Business Academy, which focused on the business of sports, was cancelled after being postponed another year due to COVID.

Wharton’s 2020 Global Youth Program theme was the future of the business world. Amira shares: “The first week we learned all about marketing. It was academically rigorous, exciting, and it solidified that marketing is an area I’m interested in studying further in pursuit of my career goals.

“The second week was all about product development and curating a product to protect consumers against COVID. We developed a prototype to protect consumers, along with a sales pitch and voted on all of the groups’ projects.” Her group developed a product to protect people from contracting COVID on airplanes while in their seats.

In 2021, Amira’s five-week Wharton Pre Baccalaureate Program was also virtual because Penn still had concerns about international travel restrictions for their students. The Viral Marketing course met regularly and had assignments and official grading. Amira says she "learned about how to make products and ideas stick, how to generate word of mouth, and how to use the power of social networks to spread information and influence," adding: “The highlight for me was collaborating with students from all over the world and utilizing the marketing principles I learned to develop a strategy to make products catch on in a culminating project."

Amira’s mother, Felicia Brownell,  observes, “She was really trying to make a decision about what business discipline to choose for college. With finance and/or marketing as choices, her goal was to choose a direction. Penn has one of the best business schools in the world. Amira really enjoys marketing and she’s also interested in generating revenue. Driving consumers toward your particular product or brand is key. Amira learned that marketing is critical, especially with COVID’s impact on business.”

As for her senior year, “It’s great to be back on campus! I’m involved with the Black Student Union, the Student Activities Club which plans major events such as Homecoming, and running Cross Country. During the winter of 2020, I started my own club for physical and mental fitness. We had a small, tight knit group of ten who met on Zoom and talked about journaling, our work outs, and recipes.”

Amira is applying to business school for college. “The experiences and lessons I received from Wharton solidified that business is an area I want to study.” And in terms of a lesson she learned throughout this amazing experience, “Just because you are initially told 'no' does not mean that it’s the end of your story—it could very well mean that what you asked for is too limited or too small. Think bigger and strive for something greater. Do not let rejection deter you from what you want to do.”
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