Global Fellows Program (2016-2017)


Established in 2006, the Acumen Fund Global Fellows Program is a premier training ground for the next generation of social sector leaders. The Global Fellows are talented young professionals who come from diverse geographies and backgrounds, but share a common commitment to solve the problems of poverty. With the Global Fellows Program, these leaders are then groomed by fusing operational and financial skills with moral imagination to create solutions to global poverty and fill the talent gap. Thus the program strives to show the best and the brightest in the world that patient capital is not only a viable career path but the path of the future.

Program Structure:

Acumen Fund's year-long fellowship for the Class of 2017 will begin in September 2016 with eight weeks of training in the Acumen New York office, where Fellows build their understanding of the problems of poverty, the current tensions in the sector and explore solutions.The training curriculum is based on the three core principles of moral imagination, operational expertise, and financial experience. Acumen partners with some of the foremost organizations to deliver this leadership curriculum.The training will also explore and reflect on Self, Other, and System, requiring deep introspection, and a willingness to change our own values, beliefs, behaviors, before affecting change in the world.

Following training in New York, Fellows begin their nine-month field placements at companies within Acumen's ecosystem as key staff members. Each Fellow is assigned to a company where they work directly with entrepreneurs, provide strategic input on pressing business challenges, interact with customers, and grapple, first-hand, with the complex issues of addressing the needs of the poor. Over nine months, Fellows learn and apply skills while enjoying an unusual level of responsibility within Acumen's companies. At the end of these field assignments, the Fellows return to New York to share experiences and lessons learned with Acumen's community, and to focus on their next steps.The Fellowship culminates in an evening Fellows Celebration in mid-September to recognize and reflect on the work.

Career upon Program Completion:

After completing the fellowship, the vast majority of Fellows Alumni have continued to pursue careers that are in or directly impacting the social sector, ranging from continued work with social enterprises on the ground to starting up social projects of their own. Fellows have built lasting relationships with each other and with Fellows Alumni from previous classes, often collaborating on projects within the social enterprise space, such as teaching courses and pursuing joint investments. Fellows join a growing interconnected community and stay in touch through newsletters, a group list that shares updates and upcoming opportunities – whether job postings, fellowship or funding opportunities – and through regular happy hours, meet ups and gatherings in their local community.


Ideal Fellows include those who have already decided on a career in venture philanthropy, those who are seeking a career at the highest levels in the corporate world but want to better understand and impact problems of global poverty, and budding social entrepreneurs who want to learn about managing organizations in demanding settings.

However, some key indicators of a successful Fellow include:

     - Strong business experience – such as finance, operations, or consulting
     - Demonstrated passion and commitment to creating positive social change
     - Proven track record of leadership and management responsibilities
     - Experience living and working in emerging markets
     - Unrelenting perseverance, moral fiber, and critical thinking skills
     - A minimum of 4 years work experience
     - Possess a graduate degree (preferred but not necessary)

Application Requirements:

Please complete the online application form at the following link:

The online application consists of:

     - Background information
     - Resume/CV (to be uploaded)
     - Two professional references (Only references; NO recommendation letter)
     - Essay Questions
     - Applicant Summary and Overview

All applications must be completed and submitted online.

Program Fee:

Acumen Fund provides Fellows with a stipend that covers reasonable monthly living costs for the duration of the year-long program. The stipend is designed to cover only costs associated and incurred during the program. During the program in New York, Fellows will be provided with additional resources to secure housing. Stipend amounts will vary for the country placement portion of the Fellowship, adjusting for the cost of living in different countries, but these stipends are also designed to cover the basic costs associated with safe yet frugal living.

Travel to New York for the first portion of the program, travel to and from field placements, travel to and from the mid-year meeting, and costs associated with necessary visa arrangements will be covered by Acumen Fund. Acumen Fund will also arrange appropriate health insurance and computing services including a laptop and video camera for use during the fellowship year.

Selection Process:

The selection process for this program is very rigorous and highly competitive. Following is a general timeline of the process.

     - Online Applications: November 10, 2015 till December 8, 2015
     - 30-minute Telephone Interviews: January 2016 (Skype/Phone interviews conducted with selected candidates)
     - Full-day In-Person Interviews: February and March 2016 (this will include a case study, panel interview, group activities, and a community dinner)
     - Final Selection: April-May 2016

Application Deadline:

Applications will be accepted until 11:59 PM (US Eastern Standard Time) on Tuesday, December 8, 2015. Please submit your application well in advance of the deadline to avoid any last-minute technical difficulties or connectivity problems.