College students studying business are busy all of the time. Each week is filled with classes, seminars, more studying. Many of them are also working on their own startup businesses in their spare time. A demanding schedule is required if you’re interested in a successful career in a competitive field. Your resume has to be strong. Your work experience has to be valuable at the beginning of your career. Google receives nearly 3 million applications each year and hires 7,000 people. Only one out of 428 applicants make it through.

Summer and winter study programs help business students improve their skills. These courses provide challenges for motivated students with an interest in testing their limits and learning from leaders in the financial community. Some teach and volunteer their experience to the institutions that helped them attain success. For instance, Bill Ford, General Atlantic Chief Executive Officer, serves students and his alma mater by chairing Amherst College’s Investment Committee.

Completing a business program in between semesters doesn’t guarantee success. However, it helps students create a better sense of their interests, skills, and ability to work in a disciplined and innovative environment. The right summer program often helps students to acquire the soft skills required to excel in business: communication, collaboration, and leadership.

Here are some of the innovative programs available to students interested in learning some new skills when other students are relaxing on vacation.

Amherst College Summer Research Program | Amherst College

Students staying on Amherst’s campus during the summer don’t need to register for a formal summer program. The Summer Research program is open to all students there. The Academic Technology Lab, Library, and Writing Center combine their resources and teach research and analytics skills through a variety of workshops, seminars, and lectures. Students can choose from topics such as Interactive Data Visualization on the Web, Scientific Programming with Python, and Reading and Writing While Researching.

Business Edge | Columbia University

Advanced students excel in this world-class business education program. Featuring an integrated curriculum, students participate in project-based study and career-oriented workshops. The program features a series of guest lectures designed to inspire understanding of strategy and an appreciation of innovative business thinking through a deep exploration of foundational and cutting edge theories and research in accounting, finance, leadership, marketing, and strategy.

Summer Business Scholars Program | University of Chicago

This summer program teaches students business principles through hands-on experience in the vibrant city of Chicago. It’s a three-week program and is designed for students from diverse backgrounds who are interested in sharing ideas and testing their limits. Daily study in marketing, accounting, financial analysis, capital markets, and business strategy coincides with mentorship with alumni, coursework, lectures, and company visits.