Student Summer Fellowships

Do you want to help cities design, develop, and implement innovative approaches and practices and have an impact at the local level? Do you want to help shape the rollout of a pioneering initiative that has the potential to reach 240 cities worldwide? Are you interested in a career in city government?

The Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative is an exciting new joint HKS-HBS Initiative funded by a $32 million gift from Bloomberg Philanthropies. The initiative provides participating mayors and their senior staff with access to world-class expertise, training and research — empowering these leaders to dramatically improve city government performance and deliver exceptional results for their residents.

The initiative opens this year with a three-day, in-person Executive Education session in New York City. A group of 40 mayors, selected from across the United States and around the world, will participate in a year-long learning program. Participants will deepen their engagement, learning, and ability to effect change through coaching and direct support from other mayors, fellow participants, Harvard faculty and graduate students, as well as through direct support from the Initiative team at Harvard.

The Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative Inaugural Fellowship, physically housed at the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at the Harvard Kennedy School, is designed to provide summer support for the launch of the initiative and for participating cities and a rich learning experience for students interested in exploring a career in local government.

In this inaugural year, a team of four student fellows will work closely with the initiative team to support mayors and their senior staff in deriving the maximum benefit from their participation in the initiative. For students, this is a unique opportunity to be involved in the formative stages of the initiative and to put their classroom learning into practice. Students will work with some of the most committed, creative, and effective public officials in the country, and help develop and implement cutting-edge practices in leadership, management, and public sector innovation.

Students will develop a more nuanced understanding of challenges facing city leadership. By being integrally involved in the operations of the initiative, students will not only learn about what a 21st century, data driven, performance oriented and collaborative jurisdiction looks like but also how cities can get there.

Students would undertake research and data collection and analyses, conduct stakeholder interviews, and support strategic planning and program development efforts. The inaugural fellows will also be instrumental in scoping future student engagement with the initiative, particularly services exploring best practices in city governance. Some travel to cities might be required.

Students will receive $8,000 for the 10 week fellowship, which includes living expenses. The fellowship is open to all Harvard graduate students, including 2017 graduates. 

Click here to fill out the short application. Applicants will be asked to submit the following:

  1. Resume
  2. Statement of interest (one page)
  3. List of relevant coursework
  4. Faculty reference from a current faculty member (faculty may directly email recommendations to Bulbul Kaul at

The deadline for application submission is March 10, 2017. Please contact Bulbul Kaul, Program Manager for Field Work and Student Fellowships, with questions.