Move beyond the competition- benefits of a fellowship

Whether you dream of your own business, or of climbing the corporate ladder, or of creating social change, you need to get off your butt and do something about it. If you are a student and you want to work on a project along with a dynamic team of youngsters and experienced professionals, then do something about it. Choose a project. Start!

No, I’m not asking you to launch a start-up. There is another alternative. It’s called a ‘Fellowship’. We have heard of internships, traineeships, apprenticeships, partnerships and even mentorships. But what is exactly is a fellowship?

Fellowships are a mode of learning that combines formal learning with practically doing tasks, along with guidance from industry practitioners and mentors. There are many programs around the world.

If you are ambitious and are excited about change, about solving problems, and about innovation, you should consider doing a fellowship.

Here are 5 reasons why ambitious students should consider joining a program:

It creates a balance of formal learning and learning by doing

Typical college education focuses heavily on textbooks, instructions, curriculum, exams and assessments. Such programs balance the ration between theory and practical learning by creating opportunities to work on real-life problems.

You get to be a part of a diverse yet dynamic team of people

When I walk with a group of people who are as fit or fitter than me, my speed always increases. Such programs are selective and they recruit people based on their attitude and their personal drive and ability. Ultimately, only the most curious and driven find out about them, and actually get selected!

You get access to mentors and professional networks

Students are encouraged to meet and have interactions with leaders from various fields. Conversations outside the classroom, and based on real projects and challenges, are always deeper than just a social conversation. These programs provide a platform to network and work with industry leaders and practitioners.

It keeps you engaged in challenging, varied and exciting real-life projects

Knowledge learned but not applied, often decays inside our heads. However, knowledge applied to practical problems and situations becomes ‘deep-learning’ and, thus, a part of our set of abilities. Fellowship programs enable the power and impact of experiential learning.

You craft a powerful story that open doors of opportunity for further studies and career growth

Degrees and certificates are fast becoming too commonplace and not enough to distinguish you from the competition. Everyone has them. Recruiters and university selection panels want to know your stories, your challenges, your dreams, your actions and what you did with them. Stories sell. Thus, these programs are an opportunity to create a powerful story for yourself, that can be a gateway to multiple opportunities throughout your career.

Fellowship programs come in various flavours, ranging from:

  1. Social impact (Gandhi Fellowship),
  2. Education (Teach for India, Azim Premji Fellowship),
  3. Politics (LAMP Fellowship)
  4. Rural development (YFI Fellowship, Prime Minister’s Rural Fellowship, Art of Living Fellowship)
  5. Multi-disciplinary (Young India Fellowship)
  6. Biodiversity (Ravi Sankaran Fellowship)
  7. Leadership (Asia Leadership)
  8. Social Innovation (William J Clinton Fellowship, International Innovative Corps)
  9. Business and Entrepreneurship (Enterprise Fellowship)


So, go ahead, find yourself a project, and if possible a dynamic team too. And, if it appeals to you, join a program based on your interests and inclination. But, whatever you choose, get involved in projects beyond college and craft story for yourself. Move beyond the competition!

Read about the Enterprise Fellowship here.

You can apply for the program here.


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