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Social Enterprise Summer Fellowships for Exploration and Testing

22 Jun 2022

For HBS students, the summer is a chance to explore and test after the first-year required curriculum – explore new fields and functions, test out personal theories of change, and apply and develop skills and knowledge in the field.

The HBS Summer Fellows Program enables students to apply their classroom training as they explore career opportunities in roles or regions where compensation is generally lower than the traditional MBA level. The goal of the fellowship program is to give students the freedom to realize their unique career visions without being limited by the compensation levels of certain opportunities, regardless of industry or location. Funding is available for students joining existing organizations, as well as for those founding new ventures.

This summer, the Social Enterprise Initiative (SEI) is supporting over 60 Social Enterprise Summer Fellows working around the world – with 45 joining organizations and 16 starting their own ventures. While many students are building upon previous social enterprise work or volunteer experience, many others are exploring social impact roles for the first time.

Rob Zeaske (MBA 2002), SEI Director, was a Social Enterprise Summer Fellow himself. “One of the most powerful and precious gifts that a place like HBS offers is a whole new world of choices and opportunities. We hope that students take the chance to test, pivot, explore and leap at new ideas that might put them out of their comfort zones, but might also be exceptional opportunities to learn about a new field and about themselves. The Summer Fellowship is an awesome, low-risk way to explore your path to impact.”

To support their testing and exploration, Social Enterprise Summer Fellow are part of a select community through SEI where they engage in a peer exchange network of students committed to social enterprise, and receive the additional benefits of access to the resources and expertise of SEI.

All Fellows kick-off the summer with a session on “Succeeding in your internship” which draws from the experience of our close to 2,000 Summer Fellows since 1988 – to think about preparing for the summer, making the most of the internship, leveraging the experience, and goal setting.

Throughout the summer, Summer Fellows connect with each other and HBS experts though a series of workshops. Overarching workshops address topics including logic model for social impact, bringing an equity lens to social impact, and systems change. Industry specific sessions touch upon focus areas such as environment, education, health care, impact investing, and public sector. Fellows also benefit from in-depth conversations with practitioners, through ask-me-anything sessions with Gerald Chertavian of Year Up and Álvaro Rodríguez Arregui of IGNIA.

Margot Dushin, SEI Director of Programs, notes, “Our Summer Fellows explore and build their skills, while also having a real impact on their partner organizations. These experiences often lay the foundation for continued exploration and engagement at HBS and in their careers.”

Throughout the summer, SEI will connect with some of the fellows to hear more about their work this summer and going forward.   View their blog posts here.