WISE Fellowship

Make a difference. Your client is facing tough challenges and exciting opportunities on the path to greater social impact. What will you advise?

Join a small team of Penn and Wharton students to help a leading impact investor, start-up entrepreneur, or cutting-edge researcher tackle their toughest challenges and scale their impact.

Your WISE project will not only help your client grow their impact. It will help you grow your knowledge and your skills in research, consulting, and social impact.

WISE Fellows have worked with clients including Kate Spade, Hanover Direct, Kimbal Musk, FastFWD, iNTENT Ventures, and even WIRED, the world’s first social impact investing database researched and developed by Wharton.

WISE is true experiential learning. Deepen the knowledge you’ve gained in the classroom as you go into the field to help your real-world client answer their most pressing questions.

WISE is cross-disciplinary. WISE Fellows come from every college and corner of the University and include undergraduate students, master’s students, and doctoral students, too.

As with all Wharton Social Impact work, one key question drives this Fellowship: How can business be a driving force for a more inclusive, equitable, and sustainable economy?

Application opens

January 15, 2020

Application deadline

January 27, 2020, 11:59 PM EST

Time commitment

8-10 hours per week for 10 weeks

Please Note

The WISE Fellowship application for the spring 2020 semester has closed. Please check back in August 2020 to apply for a WISE Fellowship position for fall 2020.

“The experience I gained has not only prepared me, but also inspired me, to re-imagine my future.”


WISE Fellows are selected through a competitive process for the opportunity to work collaboratively with cross-disciplinary teams.

Participation in the WISE Fellowship and receiving the financial award is contingent upon the following:
  • Successful completion of the project scope
  • Participation in Fellowship programming
  • Completion of the end-of-semester survey for each semester participating in the Fellowship
  • One written prompt at any point of the program on any social impact topic, to be potentially published on our website

“The Fellowship gave me an opportunity to apply my coursework and past consulting experiences in a real-life experience. I gained exposure to the challenges associated with for-profit social enterprises, and the importance of a supportive community in delivering true impact.”

–Margaret Fletcher WG ’19 WISE Fellow

“The research fellows that I have helped advise over the past year have been fantastic and I am delighted with the progress that has been made on each of their urban analytics projects. I have no doubt that the continuation of these projects will result in several academic publications as well as substantive contributions to our knowledge about the urban environment in Philadelphia.”

–Shane Jensen, Associate Professor of Statistics and WISE client for Urban Analytics Project

WISE Fellows and clients are selected by the Wharton Social Impact Initiative team. Late applications will not be accepted, nor will supplemental materials sent separately from the formal application form.

The WISE Fellowship application for the spring 2020 semester has closed. Please check back in August 2020 to apply for a WISE Fellowship position for the fall semester. Explore past positions.

Questions? Contact Yuri Seung, Program Manager. For additional info, read our FAQ.

I am a current student at Penn interested in social impact. Am I eligible to apply to be a WISE Fellow?

All undergraduate and graduate students across Wharton and Penn who meet the specific position criteria are eligible to apply to be a WISE Fellow. Please read each project description carefully, and submit your application and all materials by the deadline to be considered. Our website will have the current application link and submission deadlines.

I applied to be a WISE Fellow. How long will it take to hear back?

We review applications on a rolling basis. If you are selected for an interview, you should expect to hear back within 1-2 weeks. Only students moving forward will be contacted.

How do you select WISE Fellows?

Fellows are selected based on the strength of their application and their performance during an in-person interview with members of our staff. Only applicants whose skills strongly align with the needs of the project will be contacted for interviews.

If I am accepted as a WISE Fellow, how many other students will I be working with?

The size of student teams will vary based on the project. Typically students will work with 1-2 other Fellows, in addition to WSII staff.

What kind of work will I be doing as a WISE Fellow?

This will depend on your project scope. Typically, Fellows spend the first part of their Fellowship researching their topic and reporting their findings to the client. The second part of the Fellowship is usually spent creating a deliverable based on any findings, which could be presentation deck or a report. Each project will have a scope that will help keep Fellows and clients on track throughout the semester. Explore past positions to see what recent Fellows worked on.

How many hours per week should I expect to spend working on my WISE project?

Students should expect to spend 8-10 hours per week working on their project. Client managers should expect to spend 2-3 hours per week overseeing the project. Students and clients are also required to have weekly or bi-weekly check-ins with WSII staff to discuss the progress of the project.

Will I be paid?

Fellows are eligible for a taxable Fellowship award:

$1,000/semester for graduate students
$12/hour for undergraduate, with a maximum of $1,500/semester
Undergraduate Summer Fellows: $4,000/summer
MBA Summer Fellows: salary determined on a case-by-case basis

I wasn’t selected to be a WISE Fellow this semester; what ways can I stay in touch with Wharton Social Impact Initiative?

You can keep in touch with us by signing up for our newsletter, liking us on Facebook, and following us on Twitter. This is the easiest way to stay up to date with upcoming events and opportunities. You may also reapply to the WISE Fellowship next semester.

How can I become a WISE client?

We accept applications from prospective clients twice per calendar year in the fall and mid-summer. Here’s what you need to know about becoming a client with the WISE Program. Please subscribe to our newsletter to stay up to date with all of our upcoming opportunities.

Today’s Fellows are tomorrow’s social impact innovators and leaders.