Application Process

Exceptional candidates will be offered acceptance into the Kauffman Fellows Program based on the strength of their nomination, application, recommendations, interviews, and due diligence.

Application to the Kauffman Fellows Program consists of several steps.

Phase 1: Nomination

Nominations are accepted online starting September 5, 2018. Candidates may be nominated by a Kauffman Fellow or Kauffman Fellows Board Member, Faculty, or Mentor. Nominations will also be accepted from a candidate’s Managing Partner, regardless of affiliation with Kauffman Fellows. Only one Nomination Form will be accepted per candidate. After your nomination has been reviewed—usually within a few business days—you will be notified if you will be invited to complete an online application.

One enduring legacy of our founder, Ewing Marion Kauffman, is providing opportunities to people with limited access to resources. In the spirit of continuing Mr. K’s legacy, if a candidate does not have a nominator, the candidate may self-nominate. If you would like to nominate yourself, please contact Katlyn Mease ( for instructions.

Phase 2: Application

The application consists of two elements: the online application form, and 2 letters of recommendation. There is a $250 non-refundable application fee, payable through PayPal as part of the online application. Applications are  accepted beginning September 10, 2018. The first close is December 14, 2018. There is an advantage to applying by the first deadline. Typically 75-80% of our class are selected from this cohort of applications. The Admissions Committee will give careful consideration to each application and notify candidates by January 2018 if they will be invited to participate in the interview phase.

Candidates applying after the initial December 14 deadline will be considered on a rolling basis until the class is full. When the class is full, a notice will be posted on our website.

Candidates can download a PDF of the application to view the information requested in advance of completing the online application form.


We request that your 2 written recommendations come from individuals other than your Nominator. It is the candidate’s responsibility to send the recommendation form to these individuals and to ensure that recommenders submit the form by the December 14 deadline. Applications cannot be considered until all documents have been received. Only two Recommendation Forms per candidate will be accepted.

The best recommendations are written by individuals who know you in your capacity as an investing professional. One recommendation should be written by someone who can knowledgeably speak to your investing abilities.

  • If you are the most senior partner at your firm, please submit a recommendation from a peer at another firm or from a board member.
  • If you are not the most senior partner at your firm, please submit a recommendation from your Managing Director or direct supervisor. If this is not possible, please contact Katlyn Mease (

The second recommendation should be submitted by an entrepreneur with whom you have worked closely.

If you have questions about selecting recommenders, please contact Katlyn Mease (

Phase 3: Interviews

Candidates with strong applications will be invited to interview with Kauffman Fellows and Kauffman Fellows Team members during January and early February 2019. Candidates who apply after the original December 14  application deadline will be interviewed on a rolling basis until the class is full.

The written application only goes so far in portraying an accurate picture of who you are. There is much more we’d like to know about you—and you about us. What we desire in our interviews is a sincere two-way interaction that gives us a window into how you think and who you are as a human being. We want to hear about your goals, motivations, passions, and strengths—and also those areas you are hoping to strengthen in the Program. We want to know how your experiences have formed your character as a unique person.

We prefer to interview candidates in person, but given the geographic dispersion of our candidates, we often connect via video conferencing apps. You will be interviewed by two or three Fellows and by senior KF Team members. Interviews typically run 30 - 60 minutes.