Social Impact Fellowship

Students play a key role in driving forward WSII’s work.

The Social Impact Fellowship engages undergraduate and graduate students across Wharton and Penn in research, consulting, and internal strategy projects throughout the academic year and in the summer.

Through the Fellowship program, students apply and strengthen their strategic, operational, and leadership skills in relevant projects while gaining real-world experience.  Through this program, they apply business strategies for a better world.

“As a Wharton Fellow, the experience I gained has not only prepared me, but also inspired me, to re-imagine my future.”

Alexandra Tomlinson, PH’15, SP2’14

About the Program

All projects are scoped and managed by WSII staff.  Opportunities are project-based and vary from semester to semester.  Most projects will span one academic year (Fall/Spring), with some projects scoped to be just one semester long.  The average time commitment for Fellows ranges from 5-10 hours/week, depending on the project.

About the Work

Fellows work on projects that have real-world impact. This can look like:

  • Expanded an impact investing database housing financial performance information from private equity investors from around the world;
  • Created a market entry scorecard for anchor procurement-driven social enterprises with a specific focus on job creation and employment for West Philadelphians;
  • Gathered data and developed a report on the state of capital flows (<$1millon) into small- and medium-sized enterprises in Sub-Saharan Africa;
  • Designed a tool to inform entrepreneurs and investors about the market size and social impact of bikes to girls in Africa;
  • Built a template for a benchmarking report for impact investors to compare financial performance to industry peers;
  • Developed an impact index to assess the need for and feasibility of bringing a public-private community food model to Philadelphia;
  • Developed a strategic plan for a new WSII program, Wharton Africa Growth Partners, which focuses on facilitating early-stage investments in sub-Saharan Africa;
  • Launched consulting projects for USAID Development Innovation Ventures portfolio companies;
  • Created a strategic marketing and communications plan for the high-visibility Wharton Social Impact Conference;
  • And more…


Unless otherwise specified, Fellowship roles are open to all students across Penn.  Social Impact Fellows are recruited and selected through a competitive application and interview process.


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

Participation in the Social Impact 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 blog post at any point of the program on any social impact topic, to be potentially published on the WSII website

Fellows work closely with project stakeholders and are also invited to access special opportunities from WSII including networking, workshops, guest speaker events, and participating in WSII’s weekly Sirius XM show, Dollars & Change.


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