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Graduate Student Programs

Board Fellows Program

The Board Fellows Program places Foster MBA, Evans MPA and Social Work MSW students as non-voting board members of local nonprofit organizations. With more than 75 graduate students, this is one of the largest Board Fellows Programs in the country and serving nonprofits throughout Washington State as well as California and New York. Board Fellows serve on boards that impact the lives of more than 2.5 million people annually.

This academic-year long program enables students learn how boards of directors lead organizations, make decisions, and make an impact on their community. Board Fellows participate in monthly board meetings, serve on board committees complete a board-level project and participate in board leadership webinars.

Vy Nguyen, [email protected], (206) 543-3681
Sean Mitchell, [email protected], (206) 290-1456

Student Experience

  • Application of graduate skills in a real-world setting
  • Increased understanding of board governance principles that apply in both non-profit and for-profit organizations
  • Expanded understanding of management in the nonprofit sector
  • Grow connections with local business leaders
  • Earn 4 credits (2 – Fall; 0 – Winter; 2 – Spring)
  • Can be used to fulfill 4 credit MBA elective
  • Project may be used to fulfill MPA elective credits
  • Board Fellows project may be used for MBA practical experience (with prior approval)

Nonprofit Experience 
The program provides nonprofit boards:

  • Gain new skills and a fresh perspective from MBA, MPA, and MSW students
  • Experience recruiting and working with young leaders
  • Leverage student expertise to advance a special board project
  • A foundation for the next generation of board leadership

Nonprofit organizations host two student Board Fellows who will serve as non-voting members of the board from September through May. The nonprofit board appoints a board mentor who should anticipate spending about one hour per month to guide and coach the Board Fellow. Often the board mentor is a committee chair or other committee member that is working with the Fellow on their board project.

Application Process
Nonprofit application period is mid-December to the end of February. Nonprofits interested in the board fellows page should read more about the Board Fellows Program for Nonprofits.

Student Application Deadline

The application for 2019-2020 Board Fellows Program has begun. All MBA, MPA, MSW students are welcome to apply. Note: students must be enrolled for the duration of the 2019-2020 academic year to be eligible to apply for the Board Fellows Program. The student online application will be open March 4, 2019 – April 5, 2019. Please note that students will have to complete the application and upload their resume in order to be considered.

Click here to apply for 2019-2020 Board Fellows Program.


Student Information Sessions 2019
Wednesday, February 20, 2019, 12:00 pm. – 12:45 pm. (Condon 309-C)
Wednesday, February 20, 2019, 4:45 pm. – 5:30 pm. (Condon 309-C)
Wednesday, February 13, 2019, 5:00 pm. – 5:45 pm. (Eastside Executive Center, Classroom 1)
Monday, February 25, 2019, 5:00 pm. – 5:45 pm. – (Eastside Executive Center, Classroom 1)
Wednesday, February 27, 2019, 5:30 pm. – 6:15 pm. (School of Social Work, Rm 305)
Wednesday, February 6, 2019 – 12:00 pm. – 12:45 pm. (Paccar Hall, Classroom 394)
Wednesday, February 6, 2019 – 5:00 pm. – 5:45 pm. (Paccar Hall, Classroom 394)

Board Fellows Important Dates 2019-2020
February 25, 2019 – Nonprofits application due
February 6 – February 27, 2019 – Student information sessions
March 1, 2019 – Nonprofits notify of selection
March 4, 2019 – Student application opens
April 5, 2019 – Student application dues
April 8-12, 2019 – Nonprofits receive students’ applications and resumes
April 26, 2019 – Nonprofits submit their selections for student interviews
May 6, 2019 – Students and nonprofits will be notified if they are selected for interview day
May 24, 2019, 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. – Board Fellows Interview Day at UW
June 10-14, 2019 – Nonprofits and students notified of matches
September 27, 2019 – Kick-off Breakfast

Program Overview
Students develop board leadership skills through three channels:

  • Board Service
    Students attend regularly scheduled meetings of the board (generally monthly) from September to May and actively participate in one board committee. Students are non-voting members of the board but are encouraged to participate in discussions and share their unique knowledge and perspective.
  • Board Project
    Each board will be assigned two student board fellows, and together the students complete a board-level project for their nonprofit. Students work with their board mentor to identify a project that is important to the board of directors, uses the fellows’ skills and furthers the work of a board committee or the board as a whole.
  • Board Leadership Class Webinars
    The Board Leadership Class Webinar assist the student in maximizing their learning by matching best-practice frameworks that they apply through their board service. Among topics covered are:
    – The fundamental responsibilities of board members
    – The challenges faced by board members during these present times
    – The ways boards shape the organization’s strategic direction
    – The ways that board members can strengthen their organization’s financial management and stability
    – The strengths and limitations of various board governance structures

September 2018 to June 2019. Students must be enrolled as students during this time.

Date Activity
February    Students apply for program
Monday Student/Nonprofit Interviews (Matching Event)
September Students meet with their board mentor and begin attending board meetings. (Students may begin earlier if available)
First Friday of Fall Quarter
Mandatory kick-off/training breakfast
Fall Quarter 2018 Attend Board Fellows Seminar. (2)
Winter Quarter 2019 Attend Board Fellows Seminar. (2)
Spring Quarter 2019 Attend Board Fellows Seminar. Complete the project. Fellowship ends May or June.

Consulting Challenge

Each year, MBA students compete in a week-long challenge to help real-world companies gain access to markets (customers) to grow their firms.  Similar to case competitions, student teams help their clients work through complex business issues and present a pitch to a panel of judges who are in positions to buy their clients’ products and services.  The student teams will compete against other teams who have created similar pitches for the same business owner. Top teams will each receive $250 per person.

Rebecca Thornton, [email protected], (206) 616-0455


MBA Scholarships

UW Foster School of Business MBA students can take advantage of financial support through the Consulting and Business Development Center to make a difference with multicultural businesses while strengthening business skills and rounding out the Foster academic experience.

This fund awards an annual scholarship to an African American student at the Foster School of Business who affiliates with the Center to provide consulting assistance to support the growth of African American-owned firms. You may apply for these opportunities through the MBA Scholarship Application. Please send direct questions to the MBA Program office at (206) 543-4661.
Named after the founder of the Washington State Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, this scholarship was established as a partnership between the Latino community and the University of Washington. Recipients of this scholarship are of Latina-American decent who affiliate with the Center to provide consulting assistance to support the growth of Latino-owned firms. You may apply for these opportunities through the MBA Scholarship Application. Please send direct questions to the MBA Program office at (206) 543-4661.