Andrew Breton knows how to make the most of any opportunity that comes his way. When his summer program was cancelled last year, he decided to take a job at Old Navy — and quickly differentiated himself as the employee with the most credit card sign-ups behind the register in the entire county. He eventually resigned to take on a challenging dual-enrollment schedule at NYU and start his college application process, but he remained interested in the world of business and commerce. Now a senior at SA High School of the Liberal Arts–Manhattan, Andrew plays an active role in the community, grabbing the spotlight as an actor in school productions and advocating for mental health wellness as student government president.
There are any number of experiences Andrew could have shared when it comes to his leadership roles and range of interests, but we were particularly excited to hear about his most recent participation in Stanford’s selective Business and Entrepreneurship summer program. Here, Andrew shares some reflections about what led to his interest in business, in Stanford, and in the SA Summer Experience program.
By Andrew Breton
The SA Summer Experience program is one of the main reasons I decided to stay at Success when it came time to choose a high school. I realized that at other schools we would most likely have to pay to access college programs or outdoor leadership camps, but not at SA — and I knew I wanted to have experiences outside of the classroom. Two years ago, I was accepted into the Columbia University Youth About Business program, which focused on the principles of business. I got to pretend to be the CFO of a company and bought and traded other companies. I ended up being selected for the program’s Championship Camp where I got to work with Ernst and Young and JP Morgan; it was challenging and exciting at the same time, and myl interest in business really took off. I saw that the world of business is more than just negotiations, it’s also about communication and teamwork. I love how business also has so many branches to it; law, mathematics etc. that could satisfy several of my interests at the same time.
Soon after the camp, the Stanford program caught my attention, and since Stanford is an amazing business school, I knew I had to apply. My advisor warned me that this was a super selective program. SA tries to pair scholars with opportunities that line up with their interests but that are also within reach when it comes to their GPA and everything. I didn’t care that Stanford was a “reach” though; I knew I had to try. I refused to let the odds scare me off — and I got in!
Even though the program had to be virtual because of the ongoing pandemic restrictions, I knew I would love it from the first week of class. It was so interactive. We got into the details of how you build something for your customer, the way that ads and marketing work, how you build a team around a product, and the importance of metrics and cost and design thinking. I felt that the program helped me see myself as an entrepreneur, which was really exciting for the future. I even presented in front of the professor, so I feel confident that I’ll be able to take on those tasks once I’m actually in college.
Now that I’ve done two of the SA Summer Experience programs, I want to make sure younger students know to take advantage of this opportunity. First of all, it’s fun to test out different careers through these programs, but getting involved at colleges or with organizations outside of school can also really help open doors for the future. In addition to the experience itself, you have the added benefit of going through an application process that is very similar to the college application structure — I am becoming an expert on both now that I’m a senior! You have to write supplemental essays, request recommendations from staff, and stay on top of deadlines. I feel prepared to tackle my college submissions in large part because I’ve already done something similar for these summer programs.
My one piece of advice for younger scholars: Never stop asking for help, whether in the SA Summer Experience admissions process, or in school. We are still learning more — so never stop asking questions. It will lead you to success.