Social Enterprise Summer Fellowships

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The Tamer Center for Social Enterprise supports the Social Enterprise Summer Fellowship Program, a unique and exciting opportunity for students to apply what they’re learning in the classroom with an organization making social change in the world.

This fellowship provides financial support to Columbia and Barnard undergraduate and graduate students engaged in summer internships that create social and environmental value.

MBA Students

As an MBA student, your summer experience is a pivotal opportunity to apply theories and tools from the class room in a practical setting. Social Enterprise Summer Fellows explore new opportunities and deepen existing interests by contributing to organizations that provide fresh challenges and responsibilities, while striving to create positive social change.

The Social Enterprise Summer Fellowship Program (formerly called CORPS Fellowship Program) was initiated in 1992 by MBA students. These Fellowships enjoy strong Columbia Business School community support, and funds are raised from students every year during fellowship fundraising week with support from staff, faculty, alumni, and supporters of the Program. In addition, a gift from the Class of 2003 endowed around 5 internships for MBA students. This support reflects the conviction that Columbia MBAs can make a significant contribution to the field of social enterprise. In 2015, with the creation of the Tamer Center for Social Enterprise, all Columbia University students who wish work full time over the summer with early- or later-stage social ventures are eligible to apply for a Social Enterprise Summer Fellowship.

Read more about the type of internships and value generated by our students working with leading organizations.

Student eligibility

To be considered for a Social Enterprise Summer Fellowship you must have completed at least one term of core MBA courses. First- and second-year students, including those that will graduate in May are welcome to apply. Priority is given to first-year students. While the fund does not support part-time internships, students enrolled in the summer semester are eligible to receive funding for full-time mini-internships lasting 2 weeks or more, assuming funds are still available. Please note that funding for mini-internships is only available to January-term students enrolled in summer semester courses.

Duration of summer internship

The Social Enterprise Summer Fellowship Program supports full-time internships for 6–10 weeks. Funding for internships longer than 10 weeks should be discussed with theTamer Center for Social Enterprise.

January-term students enrolled in courses during the summer semester are eligible to receive funding for mini-internships lasting 2 weeks or more, assuming funds are still available. Students can make a significant contribution to an organization by working full-time on a short-term basis, on a tightly scoped issue. Mini-internships might involve performing market segmentations, conducting an independent budget or financial plan analysis, researching technology solutions, or analyzing competitor or benchmarking data. Students participating in mini-internships are subject to identical guidelines, responsibilities, and expectations as other student fellows, and should use the application below.

At a minimum, students are expected to work Monday through Friday for at least 35 hours per week. Part-time work during the summer is not eligible for funding. Students must not work for two employing organizations concurrently. 

Eligible Organizations

The employing organization can be a nonprofit 501(c)(3) (or its equivalent outside the U.S.), NGO, public sector organization, for-profit social venture, or social venture capital firm with a clearly defined social or environmental purpose incorporated into the core reason for operation – evident in both mission and practice. Eligible for-profit organizations include:

  1. Low-profit limited liability companies (L3C);
  2. Microfinance or non-bank financial institutions that focus on low-income customers; and
  3. Social purpose for-profit ventures or businesses (including B-Corporations) producing products and/or services that:

      a) focus on addressing the needs of low income communities or customers, with an explicit purpose of increasing the welfare of these groups; or alleviate a market failure, and create significant public goods or benefits that are not wholly captured in the price charged by the business; and
      b) have attracted funding for the business by investors or grant makers who are seeking measurable social or environmental impacts (evidence of these metrics and reporting should be included in the application).

Students who apply for support when working with for-profit organizations in these last three categories must provide detailed evidence of the organization’s clearly defined social or environmental purpose and how this is incorporated into the core strategies and operations of the business.

Students interested in working for social ventures should assess the viability of the venture prior to applying for funding. This fund does not cover students working on their own ventures, as students can access other programs and resources via the Eugene Lang Entrepreneurship Center. Positions with large or publicly listed companies and with for-profit consulting firms that consult to nonprofits, public sector, or other social/environmental organizations are ineligible. Organizations with a narrow political or religious focus or with discriminatory hiring policies will be excluded from eligibility.

Criteria and Selection

The Social Enterprise Summer Fellowship Program supports internships that have a high probability of success for the student and the employer. Employers are expected to invest time and resources into structuring and managing the activities of the summer fellow. In return, they receive the skills of a dedicated MBA student who can focus on challenging projects for the organization. For students, this is an opportunity to expand their experience, apply their MBA training, and explore career possibilities.

Summer fellowships must meet the following criteria:

  • The Internship description is well-scoped, has clearly defined expectations and deliverables, and identifies the supervisor that the student will be reporting to;
  • Activities and projects require the use of MBA skills and knowledge. The position should not be one that could be filled by an undergraduate or non-MBA intern;
  • Deliverables are challenging yet realistic and have a meaningful impact on the host organization;
  • Students have mid- and end-of-summer reviews with the supervisor; and
  • The employing organization provides a sufficient commitment by funding the internship to the maximum of its ability. (Employers are asked to contribute a minimum of $600 per week. Exceptions and salary expectations are described below.)

In evaluating summer fellowships, students should also look for opportunities that:

  • Provide access to senior-level management and mentors;
  • Expose students to issues that help them better understand the organization beyond their set tasks; and
  • Include interns at meetings and seminars that give them a broad view of the industry.

The summer provides an important opportunity to gain practical experience before reentering the work force. The greater the effort put into identifying and vetting the internship, the higher the likelihood of a successful summer fellowship experience.

Compensation

Students can expect to receive a maximum salary of $1,200 per week, depending on availability of funds. Employers are expected to contribute a minimum salary of $600 to $1000 per week. This amount may include in-kind support such as housing and transportation. Exceptions to this rule are made on a case by case basis. The Summer Fellowship Program at Columbia Business School contributes $200 to $600 per week for up to 10 weeks (funding beyond 10 weeks is subject to availability).

The greater the amount of financial support provided by each employer, the larger the number of student fellows and organizations that the Summer Fellowship Program can support. Organizations unable to meet the minimum contribution may be asked to submit supporting documentation, such as an operating budget or salary schedules for other graduate-level interns.

If the employer will not contribute to the intern’s salary, the maximum award available to the fellow is $800 per week, depending on availability of funds. This option is not available for mini-internships.

Obligations

By accepting the fellowship, you are committing to the following obligations (the Program will review these obligations before the final payment):

  1. Contributing to the wiki site for summer fellows, to be featured in the summer fellowships website: www.columbiasocialenterprise.org/sesummerfellows;
    and
  2. Completing an end-of-summer fellowship survey.

You will also be asked to volunteer at least three hours to contribute to the spring fund raising campaign. This may involve:

  • Writing a short article describing your experience for the Bottom Line, the Tamer Center for Social Enterprise, or School’s website and/or newsletter;
  • Assisting club leaders in outreach activities during the spring fund raising campaign;
  • Speaking with current and prospective students about your experience; and
  • Participating in activities promoting Social Enterprise Summer Internships, including but not limited to speaking at Career Management Center presentations and at information sessions for the Tamer Center for Social Enterprise and relevant student clubs.

Application Process and Deadlines

You must have an offer for a full-time (Monday through Friday, 35 hours per week or more) summer position with an eligible organization before applying for a Fellowship. Once you have received an internship offer, the requirements of the Social Enterprise Summer Fellowship Program should be discussed with the organization’s director or your potential supervisor. From the employing organization, you will need to provide a copy of the offer letter and a completed Employer Information Form. Applicants are expected to submit all requested materials, which include the completed student application, tax forms (Federal and NY State), offer letter, and Employer Information Form. International students must also submit a copy of passport, U.S. visa, I94, and I20. International students need a SSN to complete the tax forms (ISSO instructions for SSN), and the Tamer Center can provide the required letter, after all other forms are complete.

First-year MBA students can begin submitting applications March 1st. Second-year MBA students can begin submitting applications May 1st, assuming funds are still available. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis through June 15 or until funds are no longer available. After April 15th a response can be expected within a week of submitting a completed application. Applications submitted early will be reviewed first. You must submit your completed application and be accepted into the summer fellowship program prior to starting your internship. January-term students are eligible for full time intersession internships in August and may submit applications on a rolling basis until July 20, assuming funds are still available. Students are expected to accept or decline funding within two weeks of receiving notice.

Payments

Students will be placed on Columbia University’s payroll and will be paid by check or direct deposit in semi-monthly installments over the summer. The payment dates are typically beginning and middle of the month. Students must be approved and have submitted accurate and complete financial paperwork no later than June 1st to be eligible to receive payment July 1st. The obligations outlined above will be reviewed by the Program before the final installment is paid. January term students with mini-internships will be paid in one installment, upon submission of the internship report. The University will withhold taxes on payments for U.S. and non-U.S. citizens.

If you have questions about the Social Enterprise Summer Fellowship Program, please contact the Tamer Center for Social Enterprise: socialenterprise@gsb.columbia.edu.

Forms

Columbia and Barnard Students

The Tamer Center for Social Enterprise supports the Social Enterprise Summer Fellowship Program, a unique and exciting opportunity for students to apply learning from the classroom with an organization making social change in the world. This fellowship was expanded in 2015 to provide financial support to Columbia and Barnard undergraduate and graduate students engaged in summer internships that create social and environmental value.

The fellowship program provides:

  • Students with opportunities to gain experience in their major or area of interest as it is relevant to these organizations; and
  • Social enterprises that create social and environmental value with access to talented Columbia students from the following programs:
    • Columbia College/ Columbia School of General Studies
    • Architecture, Planning & Preservation
    • Arts
    • Graduate School of Arts & Sciences
    • Barnard College
    • College of Physicians and Surgeons
    • Continuing Education (some programs eligible)
    • Dental Medicine
      Earth Institute
    • Engineering
    • General Studies
    • International & Public Affairs
    • Journalism
    • Law
    • Nursing
    • Public Health
    • Social Work
    • Teachers College
    • Union Theological Seminary

Student Eligibilty

Currently enrolled full-time first-, second-, or third-year undergraduate students and graduate students in good academic standing may apply for funding for a 6- to 10-week, full-time summer internship (at least 35 hours/week) with a social venture or social entrepreneurship-focused organization in the US or abroad, provided that the internship has been secured and accepted at the time of application. The Social Enterprise Summer Fellowship Program contributes a $200 to $600 per week stipend to assist with expenses associated with the internship to summer fellows, depending on the availability of funds.

Note: This fund does not cover students working on their own ventures, as students can access other programs and resources through Columbia Entrepreneurship such as the Columbia Startup Lab.

Eligible Organizations

The social venture or organization can be a nonprofit 501(c)(3) (or its equivalent outside the US), for-profit social venture or social venture capital firm with a clearly defined social or environmental mission. The intent of the fellowship is to support early-stage social ventures, or ventures which have existed for less than 7 years.

For social for-profit ventures (including Benefit Corporations “B-Corps”) to be eligible, they must be aimed at producing products and/or services that:

  1. Focus on addressing the needs of low income communities or customers, with an explicit purpose of increasing the welfare of these groups; or on alleviating a market failure, and creating significant public good or benefits that are not wholly captured in the price charged by the business; and
  2. Have attracted funding for the business by investors or grant makers who are seeking measurable social or environmental impact (evidence of these metrics and reporting should be included in the application).

If applying to work with a social for-profit social venture: Students must provide detailed evidence of a clearly defined social or environmental purpose and how this is incorporated into the core strategies and operations of the venture. 

The following are examples are organizations that are not eligible:

  • Nonprofit or NGO that has been in operation for 7+ years and is not wholly focused on social ventures;
  • Government or public sector organizations;
  • For-profit consulting firms that consult to social ventures;
  • Large or publicly listed companies that have a small division focusing on social innovation; and
  • Organizations with a narrow political or religious focus or with discriminatory hiring policies.

Examples of social ventures or social entrepreneurship organizations that employ summer fellows include: Acumen Fund, Agora Partnerships, Ashoka, B-Lab, BlocPower, City Health Works, ConnectUs, Deanslist, Echoing Green, Embrace, Frogtek, mSurvey, One Degree Solar,  SJF Ventures, and UnLtd.

Internship Positions

We recognize that social enterprises have diverse needs across a range of projects and issues and need expertise drawn from disciplines such as engineering, public health, public policy, economics, medicine, biotechnology, nursing, journalism, arts, urban planning, social work, law/public interest, international development, sustainability, and education, among other areas. The internship role can relate directly to a student’s degree; it can also be an area of interest the student wants to explore especially if the student is thinking about starting a social venture or working for one in the future.

Student Eligibility
  • Applicants must be currently enrolled full-time as a first-year, second-year, or third-year Columbia or Barnard undergraduate or graduate student;
  • Applicants must be in good academic standing and not subject to any disciplinary proceedings;
  • For multi-year degree programs, applicants must be returning to campus and enrolled as a full-time student during the fall semester after their fellowship, either on campus or participating in an approved Columbia University off-campus program;
  • Applicants must agree to the terms and requirements of the Social Enterprise Fellowship Program (see below); and
  • Applicants must have secured and accepted an internship matching the criteria prior to submitting their application.

Note: Students on leave from Columbia University during the spring semester prior to the desired summer of funding are ineligible to apply for internship funding.

Criteria and Selection

Summer fellowships must meet the following criteria:

  • The internship is well-scoped, has clearly defined expectations and responsibilities;
  • The internship has an established supervisor from a professional in the organization;
  • The internship provides a workspace for the student during the internship that is co-located with the organization;
  • Students will have mid- and end-of-summer reviews with the supervisor;
  • If the internship takes place abroad, students must comply with the university’s international travel policy including the Restricted Regions List.
     

Requirements of Being a Fellow:

By accepting the fellowship, students are committing to fulfilling the following requirements (the Program will review these obligations before the final payment):

  1. Attending an orientation and sponsored events;
  2. Writing or speaking about your experience which may involve:
    1. Writing a short article or blog posts describing your experience for the Tamer Center for Social Enterprise website and/or newsletter
    2. Creating a short multimedia piece highlighting key experiences from the fellowship (for example, a video or v-log);
  3. Contributing to the wiki site for summer fellows, to be featured in the summer fellowships website;
  4. Submitting at least 15 photographs throughout the fellowship;
  5. Participating in activities promoting Social Enterprise Summer Fellowships, including but not limited to speaking at an informational session for the Tamer Center for Social Enterprise, Career Office or relevant student clubs events;
  6. Completing an end-of-summer fellowship survey/debrief; and
  7. Producing a thank you note to the donors for the Summer Fellowship.
     

Application Process

Students should assess the viability of the venture prior to accepting and applying for funding by consulting with professors, career advisors at the appropriate home school, or the Tamer Center. Before accepting the internship offer, if you’re unsure of whether your employer is an eligible social venture or social entrepreneurship-focused organization, please email: TamerSESF@gmail.com.

Given the entrepreneurial nature of eligible organizations, these potential employers might not have officially sponsored internship programs; it will be up to the student to discuss scoping and salary for a summer role with the social enterprise, develop well-defined responsibilities and enlist a supervisor for the summer internship. Students can also speak with with a career advisor or the Tamer Center if they have questions about how to conduct an internship search for social enterprises.

Once students have secured and accepted an eligible internship, they can then apply for a Social Enterprise Summer Fellowship from the Tamer Center.

A complete application includes:

  • Resume
  • Unofficial transcript
  • Completed Student Application Form (including a personal statement)
  • A copy of the employer’s letter offering the internship
  • Completed Employer Information Form
  • Tax forms (Federal and state)
  • For International Students: copy of passport, visa, I94 and I20
     

International students will need a SSN to complete the tax forms above (see ISSO instructions for SSN), and the Tamer Center can provide the required letter, after the forms above are submitted.

Application Deadlines

Below are the key dates for the Social Enterprise Summer Fellowship application process. Please keep in mind that we encourage you to apply as soon as possible. We anticipate high-demand for fellowships and applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until funds are depleted, which may occur before the final deadline. If you are applying in one of the later deadlines, please note that you may receive the actual payments later than the dates outlined below.

March 1: Social Enterprise Summer Fellowship application opens.

Students who have secured and/or accepted an internship can complete the full application and other requirements and return it by the first round deadline of March 15.

March 15: First-round of completed applications are due.

April 1: Second-round of completed applications are due.

April 15: Third-round of applications are due.
 

Compensation and Payments

Students will be placed on Columbia University’s payroll and will be paid by check or direct deposit in semi-monthly installments over the summer. The payment dates are typically beginning and middle of the month. Students should expect 4-6 weeks processing time before receiving their first payment. The obligations outlined above will be reviewed by the Program before the final installment is paid. The University will withhold taxes on payments for U.S. and non-U.S. citizens.

Note: Please be advised the U.S. Department of Labor has outlined a list of criteria that must be met in order for an internship to be unpaid. Students should familiarize themselves with the legal requirements of unpaid internships by learning about the Department of Labor’s Fair Labor Standards and Columbia University’s internship policy.

Questions? Contact Information: TamerSESF@gmail.com

Forms

When submitting your completed application for the summer 2016 fellowship, please email all required documents as one pdf to: TamerSESF@gmail.com (preferred), or bring all of your documents to Uris 203 during office hours: Tu, Wed, Thurs 2-4pm. Incomplete applications will not be accepted.

Employers

Is your organization facing managerial or structural changes? Are there major strategic projects that need to be addressed? Do you lack the time and people to address significant projects that you need to complete? If so, consider the value that a Columbia student can bring to your organization. Columbia students have valuable skills and are infused with the desire to make a significant contribution during the course of their fellowship.

The Social Enterprise Summer Fellowship Program at Columbia Business School connects the energy and talent of Columbia students to nonprofit, public, or social venture organizations. Students contribute their expertise to projects across a range of functional areas including marketing, operations, strategy, finance, human resources, and research.

Summer Fellowship Criteria

The Social Enterprise Summer Fellowship Program supports internships that have a high probability of success for the employer and the student.  Employers are expected to invest time and resources into structuring and managing the activities of the summer fellow.  In return, they receive the skills of a dedicated student who can focus on challenging projects and areas of need for the organization. For students, this is an opportunity to expand their experience, apply their training, and explore career possibilities.

Summer fellowships must meet the following criteria:

  • The internship should be well-scoped, have clearly-defined expectations and deliverables;
  • Identify a co-located supervisor that the student will be reporting to;
  • Be able to provide an appropriate place of work;
  • Students have mid- and end-of-summer reviews with the supervisor; and
  • The employing organization should provide a commitment to funding the internship to the maximum of its ability. (For example, employers are asked to contribute a minimum of $600 per week for MBA interns.  Exceptions and salary expectations are described below.)  

To attract the best candidates, host organizations should structure the intern’s responsibilities to:  

  • Provide access to senior-level management and mentors;
  • Expose students to issues that help them better understand the organization beyond their set tasks; and
  • Include students at meetings and seminars that give them a broad view of the industry.  

Employers are expected to contribute $200 to $1,000 per week (at least 35 hours/week) to the intern’s salary. This amount may include in-kind support such as housing and transportation. Exceptions to this rule are made on a case by case basis. The Tamer Center for Social Enterprise Summer Fellowship Program contributes $200 to $600 per week for up to 10 weeks, depending on funds available.

As a general rule, a high level of financial commitment by the host organization helps to attract the best internship candidates possible. Additionally, the greater the amount of financial support that is provided by each employer increases the number of student fellows and organizations that the Summer Fellowship Program can support. Organizations unable to meet the minimum contribution may be asked to submit supporting documentation, such as an operating budget or salary schedules for other interns. At the end of the summer, each employer will be asked to provide feedback about the Social Enterprise Summer Fellowship Program and the student’s impact on the organization via a short online survey.   Thank you for taking the time to complete the employer information form (below).

 *Please note:  If you are interested in hosting more than one Tamer Fellow during the summer, you must notify the Tamer Center office as soon as possible for planning purposes.

If you have any questions concerning the Social Enterprise Summer Fellowships, please contact the Tamer Center for Social Enterprise by email: socialenterprise@gsb.columbia.edu

Duration of Summer Internship

The Social Enterprise Summer Fellowship Fund supports internships for 6–10 weeks, concluding before classes resume for the fall. Funding for internships longer than 10 weeks should be discussed with the Tamer Center for Social Enterprise.

Columbia Business School students enrolled in courses during the summer semester are eligible to receive funding for mini-internships lasting 2 weeks or more, assuming funds are still available. These internships should be full-time, but on a short-term basis. Students can make a significant contribution to an organization in a short period of time, on a tightly scoped issue. Mini-internships might involve conducting a market segmentation assessment, conducting an independent budget or financial plan analysis, researching technology solutions, or analyzing competitor or benchmarking data. Students participating in mini-internships are subject to identical guidelines, responsibilities, and expectations as other student fellows.

At a minimum, students are expected to work Monday through Friday for at least 35 hours per week. Part-time work during the summer is not eligible for funding. Students must not work for two employing organizations concurrently.

Recruiting Strategies

Students begin to consider summer internships at the start of the academic year in September. As a result, we encourage organizations to consider their summer internship needs as early as possible. Some prospective social enterprise employers post job opportunities in the fall to reach the largest pool of applicants possible, though organizations continue recruiting well into the spring semester.

Organizations that anticipate hiring a summer intern, but are not prepared to formally advertise the internship, can begin to cultivate relationships with applicants, through information sessions, panel discussions, round table lunches, student club events, or introductory emails that highlight the potential needs of the organization during the summer. Current and prospective employers can also attend the annual Social Enterprise Summer Fellowship Program Reception at the end of the summer, to meet past Fellows and connect with first year students. Some social enterprise employers also participate in Columbia University and each School’s structured on-campus recruiting program. Please see the Career Management Center website for details.

For the widest distribution to Columbia MBA students, summer internships, and full-time opportunities should be posted on the Career Management Center’s job posting website. For the widest distribution to other Columbia University Schools and Programs, we invite you to find the relevant career office online.

Offers of summer internships can be made in the fall semester, though the peak time begins in February and continues into May.

Application Process for the Summer Fellowship Program

The process of applying to the Summer Fellowship Program for financial support begins after students receive the offer from the host organization. A completed application will include a copy of the offer letter detailing compensation (financial and in-kind) and the duration of employment. Students will also ask the host organization to complete an employer information form (see below). The completed form in conjunction with the students’ application essay (see below) should provide a complete picture of the summer internship position. Students are responsible for shepherding the application process and are expected to submit all components of the application including the employer information form. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis. Employers with Summer Fellows will be asked to provide feedback about the intern to the Tamer Center for Social Enterprise at the end of the summer.

Additional Questions for the Tamer Center for Social Enterprise

Employers with questions about the Social Enterprise Summer Fellowship Program, or who would like advice about summer internship job descriptions can contact the Tamer Center for Social Enterprise: socialenterprise@gsb.columbia.edu.

Forms

Past Summer Fellows

 

Support Us

In 1992, Columbia Business School students initiated the Social Enterprise Summer Fellowship Program (initially called the CORPS Fellowship Program) to allow students to apply their business skills and explore social enterprise areas. These students work as project managers, initiative leaders, and change agents for their organizations, seizing opportunities in diversified sectors that identify new approaches, and advance sustainable solutions that create social and environmental value.

Donate to the Program →

See the Impact

Visit the Summer Fellowships website to see students creating value around the world.

Read their stories →

The number of students who apply to be a Social Enterprise Summer Fellow has increased rapidly due to growing interest and opportunities in the field. Support from students, alumni, faculty, staff, and supporters of the Program have been key to facilitating this growth, particularly across campus to programs beyong the business school. In return, Summer Fellows help organizations across a range of projects and issues, including strategic planning, start-up business plan development, marketing and product strategies, financial analysis, operational improvements, and performance evaluation.

Donations made to the Social Enterprise Fellowship Program will directly impact students hoping to gain experience with social enterprise organizations.  Additionally, the organizations that they work with are able to access much-needed student talent that they could not otherwise afford to hire.

Read more on Summer Fellows making an impact.

Please give online at: www.gsb.columbia.edu/makeagift/sefellows

For more information on giving, please contact:
Carolyn Tharp
Associate Director, Major Gifts
+1 (212) 854-2705
cmt2134@gsb.columbia.edu