Questions & Answers
What does the selection process look like?
It is a two-step process. First one is an on-line application. Out of the on-line applications, about nine students are invited to step two, which is the Assessment Center and out of these, up to three students are selected as the Wallenberg Fellows.
What is the assessment center? What type of questions are asked? Are there any cases?
The assessment center contains two parts. The first part is a case interview, where you will be assessed on your ability to solve the case, both from a business perspective and from a political perspective. The second part is a traditional interview, where some criteria they look at are your leadership skills as well as your personal maturity in handling difficult ethical questions (for example, should a company pay a bribe or not in a country plagued by systemic corruption?).
Do you have any piece of advice prior to the assessment center?
Think about something specific this program could give to you and why it suits your career plans. Think about what type of internship you would like to do during the summer and don’t be afraid to be specific! Learn about Georgetown as a school and find something that you like/find interesting about the school/the courses, or about being in Washington, D.C. Consider how you will contribute to the program and your long term commitment to being a alumnus of the program.
How important are grades for getting admitted to the program?
The program is seeking top students with an international profile who want to work in the intersection between business and diplomacy. The selection process is holistic where we do an overall assessment of your application where grades are one component but not a determining factor. Emphasis is given to interest in the subject matter, engagement and commitment to the program.
Can you choose courses freely at Georgetown University?
Primarily you are supposed to take the courses within the Landegger Program in International Business Diplomacy (IBD) – an honors program. Courses in the Landegger Program are prefaced by the GBUS prefix which stands for Global Business. You can choose these GBUS courses from the “IBD electives” list. In addition, you can choose courses from the list of “Courses accepted for IBD elective credit” which are pre-vetted to meet the standards of the honors program as well as “IBD electives – MBA course offerings.” (you don’t need to take the courses which are called Gateway or Compulsory courses). Furthermore, if you have specific requests on other courses you would like to take from other programs, then depending on the demand and specific requirements for these courses, there is a fair chance that you can get admitted to such courses as well. Remember that class sizes generally are very small at Georgetown, at around 12-20 students, and thus seating in the classes are very limited. Often some 50% or more of the seats are already reserved for students who have to take the classes as part of their specializations.
Academic credit earned by SSE Fellows at Georgetown may be submitted to SSE for evaluation in accordance with the regulations established by SSE. SSE fellows are responsible for verifying with SSE Program Office that courses taken at Georgetown will be approved for credit transfer to their SSE
MSc degree (as described in the document “SSE Regulations for Course Approval – Student Exchanges” available on the SSE web portal). SSE fellows are also responsible for providing documentation of course content and assessments and for preserving all correspondence with SSE concerning course approval.
How many courses are we supposed to take? Are there any mandatory courses?
The fellows are supposed to take 3 courses (9 credits at Georgetown). Normally students take between 3 and 4 courses for full time studies, but the grant only covers three courses. All the Wallenberg Fellows (the three students from Stockholm as well as the three students from Georgetown) follow the course Business & Investment Negotiation (GBUS 454). The other two courses you choose yourself. The maximum allowed credit transfer to an SSE degree is 30 ECTS credits. Course grades are not translated into the SSE grading scale, but will be reported as Pass/Fail and are consequently not included in the GPA at SSE.
What happens if I don’t like the course that I got admitted to?
At Georgetown, during the first two weeks of the semester, it is common that people drop off some courses as well as get admitted to new ones. During this time, it makes sense to contact the teacher of a course you are interested in directly and ask if there are any places, as well as to get help from the administration from the IBD-program to advise you on how to change your current courses.
What is covered by the stipend? What are you supposed to pay for yourself?
The stipend covers all costs associated with the studies (the course fees, books, mandatory health insurance, the fee for the gym and the sports center at the university). It also covers the rent for the apartment in D.C., the various visa fees paid in order to get the required visas to go to the U.S., the flight to and back from D.C., as well as insurance during the summer internship. The grant includes a living stipend at around 500-600 USD per month, meant to cover food and transportation costs, as well as Internet and cell phone subscriptions.
How do you live? How far is it from campus? Do you get help to find somewhere to live? Do you pay for your living yourself?
All the Wallenberg Fellows from Stockholm live together in a rather large apartment in Arlington, Virginia, with two bedrooms (so two of the fellows share a bedroom). It is approximately 25 minutes walking distance from the Georgetown campus, and there is a free shuttle bus going to Georgetown close to the accommodation. The apartment is rented and paid by Georgetown University, and it is already fully furnished.
How do I get the summer internship? What type of organizations can I apply to? Do I get paid for the internship?
Program administrators at the host program (Landegger Program) at Georgetown University will help you find a suitable internship for the summer. The internship does not necessarily have to be in Washington D.C. Depending on your interests, you can apply for corporations, NGOs, multilaterals or other organizations. In Washington many big multilaterals are represented as well as a multitude of think tanks and NGOs. Many corporations and consultancies are also represented in Washington. Most internships in Washington are unpaid, and the stipend from the program covers your living costs also during the summer internship period. The program/your visa does not specify if you can get paid or not, so it will depend on your position and internship placement.
Can I work during my studies at Georgetown? Will I have time for that? Can I get paid?
You can work (we get a J1 visa, which allows for working). There is a 20 cap on hours available for internship work during the academic semester. With the J1-visa, you can get paid for your work. The course load at Georgetown should allow you to work part time during fall.
When does the program start? When does it end?
It is a full year experience beginning upon selection. During the spring, there will be for example a gathering, interviews with prospective employers and the official kick-off. The internship starts as soon as the semester ends at SSE. Most U.S. internships have already started at that time, so you want to get started with the internship as soon as possible. The semester at Georgetown starts around the 24th of August and the internships usually end in mid-August, leaving you with some time prior to the courses start. Most exams take place in mid-December at Georgetown and the latest exam you will have is around December 22. Expect the semester to end somewhere around that time.
Can I stay and work in the U.S. after the end of the semester?
The J1-visa allows you to work in the U.S. for the same amount of time as the validity of your J1-visa. Thus, if you have a 4 month J1-visa (from end August to December), you can for example work half time during your studies and then work an additional two months (since you worked for ½ * 4 months while studying) or stay and work for 4 months after your studies, if you didn’t work during the fall semester. Of course you are expected to write your thesis at SSE during the spring semester, which will put constraints on your ability to stay on and work in the U.S. Note that the Wallenberg Fellowship program does not cover any of your expenses if you choose to stay in the U.S. after the end of the fall semester.