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Social Enterprise Summer Fellowships

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.


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. Accustomed to achieving high impact results under tight timeframes, Columbia students 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 the supervisor that the student will be reporting to;

  • 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). If you have any questions concerning the Social Enterprise Summer Fellowships, please contact the Tamer Center for Social Enterprise by email:


Duration of Summer Internship

The Social Enterprise Summer Fellowship Fund supports internships for 6–10 weeks. 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 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.

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 theTamer Center for Social Enterprise:




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Center Brochure

View the Tamer Center for Social Enterprise brochure, Empowering Leaders to Change the World