Social Impact MBA

Board Fellows Program

MBA board fellows are matched with mission-driven organizations and serve on a nonprofit board as a non-voting member for one year. During that year, fellows contribute their MBA skills, develop strong networking relationships and learn first-hand how a nonprofit board of directors works. This program also gives students an introduction to an organization or a field where they may hope to work upon graduation. In return, participating organizations benefit from the unique perspective of an outside member with an MBA skillset. Board fellows provide a time commitment of approximately 10 hours per month for 12 months, depending on the needs of both the student and the board.

The Career Development Center facilitates board fellowships for students at organizations in Boston and elsewhere in the U.S. The fellows often join board subcommittees and/or take on board projects. After completing their fellowship, students frequently springboard into an internship, job opportunity or full voting board member position at the host organization. Students are eligible to participate after the first semester of their MBA studies.

Past host organizations for Heller MBA board fellows

  • Boston Impact Initiative
  • Boston Network for International Development (BNID)
  • Boston Partners in Education
  • Charles River Watershed Association
  • Citizen Schools
  • City Growers
  • End MASS Overdose, Inc.
  • Greater Boston Food Bank
  • Groundworks Lawrence
  • Health Policy Commission
  • HealthWorks Community Fitness
  • Hope for the Children of Haiti
  • Ipswich River Watershed Association
  • Mass Business Alliance for Education
  • New Sector Alliance
  • Next Mile Project
  • Prosperity Catalyst
  • REACH Beyond Domestic Violence
  • SCI Social Capital Inc.
  • Silent Spring Institute
  • Speakeasy Stage
  • Unitarian Universalist Service Committee
  • Yad Chessed 

Quotes from past MBA board fellows


Jess Rittner, MPP/MBA'16
Jess Rittner, MPP/MBA'16

"I gave a brief presentation this morning on the Governance and Nominating Committee conference call about a board engagement survey I conducted as part of the MBA Board Fellowship program. The MBA Board Fellowship has been an incredible opportunity for me to learn the ins and outs of a dynamic and thriving food bank, while also adding value to the GBFB's strategic leadership team as they think about ways to amplify the board experience. I even used Carole's TCP slides on 'effective presentations!' and received rave reviews about the professionalism of the slides, so thank you!"

- Jess Rittner, MPP/MBA'16, Board Fellow at Greater Boston Food Bank

Head shot of MBA student Meadow Didier
Meadow Didier, MBA'16

“If you have the chance to do the Board Fellows Program, DO IT! It is a wonderful way to see all the things you've been learning this past year in action, in a real organization, from a perspective we don't often get. Learning how an established board works by watching was an invaluable experience for me. In fact, in many ways it was better than any classroom in cementing the things I had been learning in my classes, from Leadership and Organizational Behavior to Social Justice to—you guessed it—Financial Accounting. The time commitment is not that big but the learning is enormous, so I definitely recommend it to all of you!”

- Meadow Didier, MBA’16, Board Fellow at the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee

Heller MBA student Gabriel Ellis-Ferrara
Gabriel Ellis-Ferrara, MBA'15

"Working as a board fellow at Prosperity Catalyst has been a phenomenal experience. From drafting a new strategy scorecard with the Chair of the Board to facilitating a multi-stakeholder meeting with our partners in Haiti, I have gained practical experience while feeling genuinely valued as part of the wider team. Couple this exposure with the ability to interact with other staff and board members who represent an incredibly strong network of successful individuals, and you have an opportunity I would not miss."

- Gabriel Ellis-Ferrara, MBA’15, Board Fellow at Prosperity Catalyst