Acumen Global Fellows Program, USA

Deadline: 13 December 2013
Open to: applicants of any nationality
Fellowship: stipend that covers reasonable monthly living costs for the duration of the year-long program


Established in 2006, the Global Fellows Program is a 12-month fellowship for individuals dedicated to serving the poor and who have the business and operational expertise, and moral imagination needed to effect long-term social change. The fellowship begins with an eight-week training program in the Acumen New York office, where Fellows learn about business models for the poor, hone their leadership skills, and learn more about Acumen.

After training, each Fellow works for the CEO or senior management of an Acumen investee on a critical business issue facing the organization. Fellows have worked on projects ranging from leading operations of a new business unit at a cotton ginnery in Uganda, to expanding the clinic network of a pharmacy company in India, to developing branding strategies for a microfinance institution in Pakistan.

Since 2006, the Acumen Fund has received more than 4,400 applications from 100 countries and trained 63 Fellows from 21 countries. After the Fellowship year, Fellows continue to create social change, with 85% of the alumni currently in leadership positions at socially progressive organizations such as, Bridge International Academies, Endeavor, Bamboo Finance, New Island Capital, We the Change Foundation, Living Goods, Ashoka, Omidyar Network, and The Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition.

  1. September to mid-November: The Global Fellowship begins with two months of intensive training at the Acumen offices in New York. The training curriculum is based on the three core principles of moral imagination, financial expertise, and operational expertise. Acumen partners with some of the foremost organizations to deliver this leadership curriculum.
  2. Mid-November to August: For nine months, Fellows work at one of Acumen’s portfolio companies as key staff members. Fellows work directly with entrepreneurs, interact with customers, and grapple, first-hand, with the complex issues of addressing the needs of the poor.
  3. September & Onwards: Fellows return to New York to share their experiences and lessons learned with the Acumen staff and community. Fellows receive career development support to assist with their post-Fellowship career plans. After the Fellowship, Alumni remain connected through bi-annual gatherings, newsletters, participation in future selection processes, and other opportunities.

Please see the Frequently Asked Questions HERE for further information.


Acumen Fund Fellows are drawn from a pool of talented, passionate individuals from all geographies, sectors, backgrounds, religions and ages.  They welcome applicants of any nationality, and they are prepared to do what is possible and reasonable, within the guidelines of US and international immigration authority, to address Fellows’ visa and immigration needs in order to ensure that they include the most promising future leaders. There is no specific age or degree required for the program. However, they typically seek individuals with 3-7 years of work experience, and they prefer candidates who hold a graduate degree.

While each Fellow comes from a diverse background and brings a unique skill set to the Fellowship, they have identified some key indicators of a successful Fellow:

  • 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
  • 3-5 years of work experience


Acumen provides Fellows with a stipend that covers reasonable monthly living costs for the duration of the yearlong program. The stipend is designed to cover only costs associated and incurred during the program. You should not expect to save any money during this year or to use this stipend to cover previous expenses (e.g., student loans). 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. Acumen will also arrange appropriate health insurance and computing services including a laptop and video camera for use during the fellowship year.


This application will remain open until 13 December 2013 at 11:59pm EST (Eastern Standard Time). The application for the Acumen Fund Global Fellows Program consists of four major parts:

  • Background Information
  • 2 professional references
  • Your resume/CV (to be uploaded)
  • Short & long answer questions

To access the application, go HERE. You will need to create an account by entering an e-mail address (this will act as your username) and password. The detailed application instructions can be found HERE. All applications must be completed and submitted online. It is recommended that you submit your application well in advance of the deadline to avoid any last-minute technical difficulties or connectivity problems.

For more information, please visit the official website HERE and carefully read the FAQs.

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