The mission at Harvard Business School is to educate leaders who make a difference in the world. The Leadership Fellows program, an opportunity for a select group of graduating students, is one of the key ways the school supports and emphasizes that tenet. 

The program is designed so that recent graduates can experience high-impact management positions in nonprofit and public sector organizations (for one year) at a competitive salary. We checked in with the Social Enterprise Initiative’s Director of Programs, Margot Dushin, to learn more. 

“Approximately 29% of students come to the Fellowship year with social enterprise background, but for many this is their first full-time role in a nonprofit or public sector organization,” Dushin told us. 

“During their two years at HBS, Fellows have had the chance to explore their social enterprise interest through the Social Enterprise Club, Summer Fellowships, Elective Courses, Independent Projects, and the Social Enterprise Track of the New Venture Competition. Becoming a Leadership Fellow is an opportunity to draw on those experiences and apply MBA skills in very high impact roles.” 

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Leadership Fellows have direct access to high-level management in top-tier organizations and are able to use their MBA skills immediately to tackle projects with far-reaching, measurable outcomes.   

Launched in 2001, the Leadership Fellows program has placed 190 Fellows with 77 organizations, with a focus on two key objectives:

• Providing social-sector organizations with access to analytic and strategic talent to deliver high-impact results

• Encouraging emerging leaders to develop an appreciation for and understanding of the complexities of leading in the social sector

The Social Enterprise Initiative (SEI) partners closely with the Career & Professional Development Office in building relationships with organizations, and working with them to develop opportunities that meet the program goals of access, impact and leadership. Organizations get to leverage the experience, energy, and analytical skills of recent HBS graduates. These young alumni bring a combination of on-the-ground experience and analytic rigor to the challenges faced by organizations operating in a complex environment characterized by ever-increasing demands for services and recurring financial pressure. We hope that they have strategic insight into how the organization can fulfill its mission and have the greatest impact possible.

SEI brings Fellows back to campus twice during the year for professional development days. These days are designed to build connections in the cohort and provide career and faculty-led sessions that support Fellows professional and personal goals at key points in the Fellowship year. 

After their year in the program, Fellows stay at the organization, stay in the non-profit sector, or transition to the private sector. 

This post was originally published on HBS MBA Voices.