This past summer, high school junior Sneha Patel came all the way from St. Petersburg, FL to participate in the Management & Technology Summer Institute (M&TSI), M&T’s summer program for high schoolers. Described to Sneha as “the true Penn experience,” we asked her to share about the three-week long Program on Penn’s campus.
Why did you apply to M&TSI? What were you expecting to get out of your experience?
My brother sent me a link to the M&TSI web page, and my curiosity was piqued. I applied and attended the Program because I wanted to learn how business and engineering rely on one another.
Entering into M&TSI, I wanted to gain management experience and gauge my interest in learning business and technology concurrently in the near future. I came to the Program to learn beyond what my classes at school reached and to understand if I was interested in continuing down this path in the future.
After attending M&TSI, I am blown away by how promptly the coursework answered the questions I had about business and technology. The classes are rigorous, but by the end of the first week, I felt increasingly educated on topics I initially believed I knew thoroughly coming into the Program. The management side of the Program intrigued me immensely; the learning environment engaged me as both a listener and speaker, allowing me to ask questions and see things in a new way.
What was a typical M&TSI daily schedule?
We would get up bright and early for the first class of the day, our business classes, and attend from about 9 am to 12 pm. In these sessions, we discussed new business concepts, real companies’ scenarios, and heard from guest speakers on their business research and experience at Penn and beyond.
After grabbing lunch, we went to the engineering labs to learn how to complete that week’s specific lab assignment. The hands-on environment expedited my understanding of the lab, and after completing it we were free for the rest of the day. We usually took this time for dinner, doing homework, and simply getting to know our peers better by spending time with them.
The culmination of the course is designing and pitching an engineering product as a team. What was your product and how did your team come up with it?
We created a pair of smart glasses designed for outdoor activities, equipped with a built-in camera and bone conduction headphones. The initial idea came from one of my team members who lives in Shanghai and bikes as his main way to get around. He told us it’s common for cyclists to listen to music while traveling, but it’s dangerous to the rider since it increases the likelihood of not hearing incoming traffic. To correct this, he bought a pair of bone conduction headphones, which would allow him to listen to music and still hear ambient noise. But, he found they didn’t work well with his sports glasses. At the same time, I heard from a friend from home, who told me about a dilemma she faces while hiking. She told me she often wants to capture a beautiful picture, but it can be difficult to get to her phone with all her gear. Essentially, we drew on real-world problems and came up with a way to solve them creatively.
What were some of the other products created?
One of my friends created a device that makes any sink a motion-activated sink that could be used in college dorms to help with sanitation. Another product was a pair of glasses with facial recognition for Alzheimer’s patients. It was amazing to see the variety of products and creativity of solutions!
What did you like the most about M&TSI?
Being able to explore Penn’s campus and Philadelphia with the friends I made at the Program was priceless. My classmates were friendly, determined individuals and it was a unique experience to meet so many talented people in one place.
What was challenging about M&TSI?
The classes were incredibly rewarding, but also rigorous. With the amount of activities we had daily, time management was vital. It was a difficult, but exciting, to balance the busy lifestyle.
What is one memorable moment from your M&TSI experience?
The night after the award ceremony on the final day was one of the most rewarding and memorable times at M&TSI. Surrounded by new friends, we made the most of it by playing card games, ordering cookies and Chinese food, and just remembering every moment. Classes were done, and we were satisfied with how our projects turned out. Although the last day should’ve been sad, it was a fun way for all of us to say our goodbyes.
Would you recommend M&TSI to other students interested in blending business and technology?
Absolutely! After attending M&TSI, I agreed with the TA who told me M&TSI was the “true Penn experience.” The daily requirements and activities gave us the flexibility to not only explore Penn but explore ourselves and our interests. I’m thankful for the opportunity to come to M&TSI, and I excitedly anticipate using the knowledge I acquired in my everyday life!
Sneha Patel is a senior at Berkeley Preparatory School in St. Petersburg, FL interested in computer science and business analytics.