Ariane Raymond ’24 was busy mapping out a career in architecture during her junior year of high school in Haiti, but when her father suggested a summer program at Babson College, she was intrigued.
“I knew that Babson was number one for entrepreneurship, and I always had an interest in entrepreneurship. I also knew that the program was a great way to figure out what college might be like, even before applying to any schools,” Raymond said.
Andrea Torres ’24, who attended Babson’s Summer Study for High School Students the same year as Raymond, had already decided she wanted to go to business school and work in finance after she graduated from high school in Monterrey, Mexico. She was searching for a summer experience that would give her an edge in college applications and her career when she found Babson’s Summer Study.
“I was looking for programs that accepted international students and offered some kind of financial aid, and Babson came up first,” Torres said. The application process was rigorous, but well worth it, Torres said. She was granted one of Babson’s need-based scholarships which covered all of her expenses.
Torres and Raymond, now juniors at Babson, said the summer program not only enriched their studies but essentially changed their lives.
“Before attending the Summer Study, I was leaning toward the arts,” Raymond said. “I wanted to go into architecture or design, but afterward, I was like, ‘I’m going to have to go with entrepreneurship.’ ”
A Transformative Process
Babson’s monthlong Summer Study for High School Students is an experiential program meant to offer a bite-sized yet immersive feel for Babson’s entrepreneurial experience. The program, taught by Babson faculty, also emphasizes how to create social impact.
Through a packed schedule including morning classes, events, and meetings with thought leaders and CEOs, Torres said, the Summer Study program entirely changed the way she viewed business and finance.
“Some of these business models included things I didn’t even think were imaginable,” Torres said, pointing to a presentation by Kris Bryson, the partnerships director of WildHearts Group. The company helps big corporations increase their social impact by funneling their everyday spending to social enterprises, or vendors who focus on selling business supplies while helping society and the environment. “Seeing that he was able to achieve that level of success while he was pretty young was incredibly motivating.”
“Before attending the Summer Study, I was leaning toward the arts. I wanted to go into architecture or design, but afterward, I was like, ‘I’m going to have to go with entrepreneurship.”
Ariane Raymond '24
Raymond took as many elective classes as she could, including an eye-opening course on futurism, a social science that uses data to predict future trends and potential pitfalls.
“I’m a very curious person in general, and I tried to take advantage of all of the events and lessons offered as much as possible,” Raymond said. “The class on futurism was so cool. It wasn’t just about business, it was about everything.”
Networking was another key aspect that impressed both Raymond and Torres.
“I remember that before this program, kindness wasn’t something I was used to,” Torres said. “Summer Study was one of the first places where I realized there are people out there who are willing to pay for me to have opportunities,” Torres said.
Raymond connected with Ela Gokcigdem ’24, a fellow high school student from Washington, D.C., over the four-week period. They formed a strong bond as Raymond, who grew up in Haiti, dealt with culture shock.
“It was my first time being in such a diverse space. Haiti has a majority of Black people and the U.S. culture in general was very different,” Raymond said. They remain close friends, both applied to Babson when they finished the summer program, and they’re in the same class.
The Summer Study program’s emphasis on social innovation made such a huge impression that Raymond organized several groups when she returned home, the most recent is called the Haitian Youth Action Network. She started the organization to empower young entrepreneurs by teaching them business basics, while encouraging them to take part in positive social change.
“It was my first real venture,” Raymond said. “I used what I learned at Babson as well as things from my own personal development.”
“I remember that before this program, kindness wasn’t something I was used to. The Summer Study was one of the first places where I realized there are people out there who are willing to pay for me to have opportunities,”
Andrea Torres '24
Torres, meanwhile, decided to become one of more than a dozen student mentors the program hires to support Summer Study students.
“I felt that I needed to abide by the principles I had been taught by the mentors before me,” Torres said. “And, I enjoyed the fact that I was able to help someone whenever they needed.”
Some aspects of Summer Study changed when it shifted to a virtual program due to COVID-19, Torres said, but the classes and access to events and entrepreneurs and social innovators continue.
“My mentor was so kind, and she was a Global Scholar like I am now,” Torres said, “so I just hoped I could guide students through the process like my mentor did for me.”
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