Research provides an individualized method of learning and an in-depth treatment of a topic of personal interest with input from a faculty expert. Research experience is helpful if applying for distinguished international fellowships and is important if going on to graduate studies in an analytical discipline. Research skills are useful for decision-making in the private and public sectors and are required in academic positions. Below you can find a variety of research opportunities and scholarship programs.
Why do undergraduate research?
Joseph Wang, C’13, W’13, McKinsey & Company
“The short answer is because research will be part of your job even if it’s not in your job description.”
Kate Lakin, Putnam Investments
“Whether it is analyzing and quantifying the impact of launching a differentiated product into a new market or thinking through various valuation methodologies based on history and past cycles, research is critical.”
Consider your professional goals.
Every career path you might consider will be touched by research to some extent and different experiences can help you develop the necessary critical-thinking and analytical skills to meet your goals.
- Decision-maker—Do you aspire to a career that involves making decisions and identifying business problems (or opportunities) and proposing and evaluating alternative solutions?
- Business researcher—Do you aspire to a career that involves producing business research, e.g., as an investment analyst or marketing strategist?
- Scholarly researcher—Do you aspire to produce rigorous scientific research that develops a theory or proposes and tests a hypothesis to answer a business-related question (in academia; for organizations such as the IMF, World Bank or Federal Reserve; or for private sector consulting firms)?
Explore the opportunities.
- Courses—Create “tools” in a research-methods course.
- Research assistantships—Learn by executing research-related tasks while working on a project for a faculty member.
- Summer programs—Gain hands-on experience from proposal to presentation through a project commensurate with program duration.
- Scholars programs—Gain hands-on, in-depth experience from proposal to presentation via a senior thesis and other activities.
- Wharton PhD Submatriculation Program—Submatriculate into a PhD program in Accounting, Finance, Health Care Systems, Insurance and Risk Management, Management, Marketing, Operations and Information Management, Business and Public Policy, or Statistics.
Consult additional resources.
Consult the following resources for more information about research opportunities at Wharton and beyond, and for advice on how to get started.
- CURF—The Center for Undergraduate Research and Fellowships is the central resource to help students find research opportunities at Penn.
- Penn Roadmap to Research—Developed by SCUE, the Roadmap provides students with step-by-step guidance on how to find and attain research opportunities.
- WURB—The Wharton Undergraduate Research Board works to increase student involvement in research, foster a network of student researchers, and develop innovative co-curricular opportunities to increase students’ exposure to academic research. Get in touch with a member for peer advice on research opportunities.
- WFCUR—The Wharton Faculty Council for Undergraduate Research is composed of faculty who span a variety of research interests and methodologies. Students investigating and/or pursuing research opportunities are encouraged to connect with Council members during their published office hours.
Still have questions?
If you have questions after you’ve reviewed the opportunities and resources above, you can email Dr. Utsav Schurmans to make an appointment for a research consultation.