Gain real board experience. Make a meaningful impact.

Kellogg Board Fellows presents a significant opportunity for students to gain experience with board governance while contributing to the advancement of nonprofit partners. Unlike internships that focus on day-to- day operations in a nonprofit, this program exposes students to the dynamics of board governance in nonprofit organizations. Fellows serve as ex-officio board members for a nonprofit partner while completing courses in board governance at Kellogg. Each fellow also completes a strategic project designed to leverage their skills and advance the work of their nonprofit partner. Please note you must be a first-year student in the two-year MBA program to apply to the Kellogg Board Fellows program.

Program Components

Fellows experience the program through three components: Academics, Board Service and Community. Each component has specific responsibilities.


Take two courses:

Board Governance of Nonprofit Organizations (KPPI 453-5)
Year 1, Winter Quarter course

Advanced Board Governance (KPPI 471)
Year 2, year-long course

Board Service

Attend board meetings and participate as an ex-officio board member for a nonprofit for 18 months

Attend board related committee meetings and events

Complete a strategic project that addresses an organizational need

Engage in regular communication with board mentor and executive director/CEO

Adhere to the norms and confidentiality of board/committee proceedings with utmost professionalism


Participate in social and service events as a cohort

Expand network to include nonprofit leaders and board members and learn from peers’ experiences

Take the first steps:

We encourage you to review our processes and reach out to us if you have questions about joining the program. The projects require a commitment from participants, but the benefits continue far beyond your Kellogg student experience.

Information Sessions

Kellogg Board Fellows holds two information sessions at the start of every school year. Incoming first-year students should plan to attend a session to learn more about the program’s application process, timeline and commitment.


The application has two parts:
  • Written application
  • Group case interview (by invitation only)
The written application is due September 29, 2017.

Students must apply for the program during their first year of study at Kellogg. Eligible students include those enrolled in the Full-Time MBA Program (2Y Program), MMM Program, JD-MBA Program and MD-MBA Program at Northwestern University.

Nonprofit experience is not required for admission to the program; however, applicants must demonstrate passion for social impact and civic leadership.

Selection and Matching Process

Applications are reviewed by the student leadership team, and program staff and faculty. Admission to the program is competitive, and only 50 students are selected for the program each year. Fellows are notified of their acceptance to the program by mid-October.

In December, fellows receive information on participating nonprofit organizations and rank their preferences. The program uses an algorithm, which accounts for these preferences, to match each student to a nonprofit partner. In 2017, more than half of fellows received their first choice.

Fellowship Commitment

In addition to the responsibilities outlined above, fellows agree to the following guidelines:

Commit to the program for two years. Fellows begin the program in October of their first year and serve on their respective boards through May of their second year.

Waive opportunities for exchange programs. When joining Kellogg Board Fellows, students enter a two-year partnership with a nonprofit partner. To avoid conflicts with board responsibilities, fellows cannot participate in exchange programs during the academic year. This includes study abroad as well as joint-degree programs with other universities.

Designate time for the program. The program’s time commitment can range from approximately two to eight hours per week, depending on the student, project and time of year. This time is distributed across the three components of the program.

Leadership Opportunities

The program is a partnership between Kellogg faculty, staff and the student leadership team. First-year fellows may apply for second-year leadership positions at the end of Winter Quarter. If selected, these leaders will serve in a leadership capacity until graduation.

There are five student leadership positions: President, Academics Chair, Prospective Fellows Chair, Student Engagement Chair and Alumni Relations Chair.

Through Kellogg Board Fellows, I have learned what it truly takes to join, contribute and lead a nonprofit board. Through this experience, I look forward to a life-long commitment to nonprofit board leadership.

Corey White / Christopher House