The Rock Summer Fellows program, funded by gifts from Arthur Rock and the John F. Lebor Family, enables students to continue to explore their entrepreneurial path, both as founders and as those interested in joining early-stage startups, during the summer between their RC (first-year) and EC (second-year) year.

Through a 10-12 week summer fellowship that provides substantial financial support as well as a peer network and community, RC students can work on their venture idea or work at an early-stage startup. Fellowships are limited in number and awarded based on the order in which your application is received.

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Key Steps

  1. Plan early

    This is a competitive program and those interested in applying, should begin working on their startup idea or meet with potential early-stage startups as early as possible.

  2. Attend the Info Session on Summer Fellowships

    Learn all about the Rock Summer Fellows program, HBS and the key information needed to submit a strong application. Keep an eye out for the info session date in the Rock student newsletter.

  3. Review our selection preferences

    We set these guidelines so that you may know how we are reviewing applicants but acknowledge that there may be some limits that are flexible depending on the total application.

    We are excited about the energy around entrepreneurship. However, only those applicants committed to an entrepreneurial endeavor - whether as a Founder or Joiner - with well-defined plans and goals for the summer will be selected. As such, we would like all applicants to thoughtfully consider these selection preferences.

    Founders, please read more below, as characteristics for an excellent application are as follows:

    • You will dedicate 100% of your time to a startup over the summer.
    • RSF favors operational startups over consulting, research, brokerage, or investment funds/companies.
    • Founders should not apply until they have completed customer discovery. In your application, indicate the primary and secondary research you have conducted and the insights you gathered. Be sure to include any surveys, focus groups, or interviews and how many potential customers participated in each.
    • Include a thoughtful and detailed plan for the summer (roadmap for development, experimentation, accomplishing other key milestones, etc.) and note the amount of capital you have raised. Ventures that have raised more than $500K in capital are ineligible for RSF funding.
    • You may not participate in another accelerator program that provides funding to be eligible for the RSF funding.
    • A maximum of two (2) fellows may be fully funded per startup (e.g., a maximum of $15,600 to any single startup). If three (3) fellows apply, the total allocation will be divided by three ($433/ea per week).
    • Students may only receive one type of fellowship: Rock Summer Fellowship, Social Enterprise Summer Fellowship, or General Fellowship. Students will not receive funding from more than one.

    Joiners who are seeking an early-stage startup should consider the following for their application:

    • You have secured a 10 to 12 week internship.
    • The startup is operational and funded with fewer than 50 employees.
    • The startup has less than $5 million in revenue; this is a general guideline.
    • Consulting, research, brokerage, investment funds/companies, and well-established SMBs are generally not favored.
    • There is a maximum of one HBS Fellow per startup per summer.
    • Student responsibilities are articulate and defined by the startup.
    • A senior executive and/or internal mentor should be assigned by the startup to work with the student regularly. An operational function or exposure to operational function(s) is preferred.
    • The internship work should not be solely research and analysis. The RSF applicant should articulate their anticipated type of work thoroughly in the application and startup letter.
  4. RSF Program Commitment and Performance Expectations

    Before students apply, you must know that you are agreeing to the following Rock Summer Fellow commitments:

    The Rock Summer Fellowships are reserved for those who have a desire to participate and share in a peer exchange network and community. All Rock Summer Fellows participate in:

    • RSF Kick-Off
    • Periodic socials/dinners (regional if possible)
    • Workshops (online and as needed)
    • Submit a final report and survey
    • Fall RSF Wrap-Up

    RSF founders participate in check-ins to update the Rock Team on their progress.

    Social and check-in meetings are to adapt to the needs of current RSFs. Based on that information, the Rock Team will call upon its network of experts, legal counsel, or other resources to aid in moving your venture or experience forward.

    The final report will be submitted through the HBS Summer Fellowship survey and is at least 1000 words in total across the following sections:

    • Reports
    • Accomplishments
    • Challenges encountered
    • Goals for your EC year
    • How the experience will influence your career and professional goals
  5. Application round due dates

    Incomplete applications will not be reviewed until all information is submitted.

    Students may only have one application in review at any point. Funding is provided to a student for a specific opportunity and cannot be transferred to a new opportunity.

    Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis with decisions delivered within 10 business days.

    Founders: The final date for application is now extended to May 29 at 9 am EST.

    Joiners: Strong preference is given to applications submitted by April 24. We will accept applications until May 29 at 9 am EST.

    Any applications received after the deadlines may be reviewed on a funds-available basis.

  6. Prepare application

    All RCs in the MBA program are invited to apply to the Rock Summer Fellowship program via the general HBS Summer Fellowship online application.

    If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact or