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Trivia Tuesday: Supporting Public Sector and Non-Profit Internships at Harvard, Stanford and Wharton

Welcome to another edition of Trivia Tuesday, a weekly chronicling of the programs and policies in place at the leading business schools.

Last week, we examined loan assistance programs that help MBA graduates in the public or non-profit sectors to repay their student loans. This week we’ll turn our attention to support for non-profit and public sector summer internships, a critical piece of the career development process for MBA students. In addition to providing an important career experience, the summer internship’s other purpose is to provide enough compensation for students to support themselves in another city over the summer while having money left over to contribute to the second year tuition bill.

Unfortunately, most non-profit or public sector employers are not equipped to offer the high internship salaries that big investment banks or consulting firms do, making it harder for MBAs to gain experience in public service fields. To address this problem, several schools have developed programs that offer financial support to students pursuing public sector or non-profit internships. Let’s take a look at a few of them.

The Stanford Management Internship Fund (SMIF) began several decades ago when first-year students in more traditional internships pledged 2% of their summer income to support their socially-minded peers. Now primarily funded by the GSB, the Fund is in its 29th year and has supported approximately 500 students. With the SMIF supplementing employer compensation, all recipients of this funding have received compensation close to the median first-year summer salary. Second-year students work with faculty and PMP staff to select award recipients, and are also responsible for raising funds and promoting awareness of the program. Since its inception, the SMIF has enabled future Stanford MBAs to work at over 325 organizations, including national parks, the Goodwill Industries and in the Office of Management and Budget at the White House.

Similarly, Wharton students pursuing internships in the non-profit or public sector may apply for grant support from the Wharton Summer Public Interest Fund, which is funded by current students who pledge 1-2% of their summer internship earnings. The program began in 1998 and makes awards based on the applicant’s potential impact and commitment to the field, as well as their total summer compensation.

Finally, HBS has a long history of supporting social service summer internships. The HBS Social Enterprise Summer Fellowship, founded in 1982, provides supplemental loans to students taking summer positions in the non-profit sector. Awards are based on the availability of funds, the applicant’s need and the relevancy of the applicant’s job. These loans are forgiven if the recipient demonstrates that he or she has continued to work for a public or non-profit organization. Past Social Enterprise Fellows worked with the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Teach for America and United Methodist Services for the Aging, among other organizations.

The goal of each of these programs is to increase the number of students who pursue positions in social service organizations, with the hope of enhancing students’ understanding of these fields and adding value to the organizations. For more information on business schools’ support for social service careers and summer internship opportunities, be sure to check out the Clear Admit School Guides or the programs’ websites!

Posted in: School Guides, Trivia Tuesday

Schools: Harvard Business School, Stanford GSB, UPenn / Wharton

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