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Applications for the 2018 Class of Governor’s Management Fellows will be released in Fall 2015.



What is the Governor’s Management Fellowship Program?

The Tennessee Governor’s Management Fellowship is a prestigious and highly competitive fellowship awarded to exceptional applicants who wish to serve and learn with the State of Tennessee’s top executive leaders. The nonpartisan program offers a competitive salary and is open to recent graduates demonstrating outstanding academic achievement, a genuine passion for serving their community, and remarkable character and leadership abilities.

The gifted and highly-motivated fellows are awarded the unique opportunity to spend two years working full-time for senior and top-ranking government officials. After spending six months on initial statewide projects, fellows are assigned to one of Tennessee’s twenty-two state departments, where they will serve directly under the respective commissioner. Fellows also participate in an eighteen-month leadership development program, attend events with the state’s top public and private sector leaders, and assume responsibility on important statewide and departmental initiatives.

What is the mission of the program?

The fellowship program’s mission is to recruit exceptional leaders into the executive branch of state government in order to provide aspiring professionals with significant responsibilities and the opportunity to serve and learn with the state’s top executive leaders. The fellowship will infuse state government with enthusiastic and extraordinarily talented people, making Tennessee a better place to live, work, and raise a family.

What determines eligibility?

Eligibility is entirely merit-based. Although applicants must have graduated from an undergraduate institution or graduate program between December 2011 and August 2014, they are chosen without regard to race, sex, national origin, religion, age, disability, or political affiliation. Applicants shall have demonstrated excellence in academics, proven leadership ability, involvement in extracurricular activities, and a commitment to public service.

What is the Fellows Executive Committee?

The Fellows Executive Committee is a bipartisan commission composed of Tennessee’s most prominent public and private-sector leaders, representing a broad range of backgrounds and professions. During the fellowship application process, the committee interviews finalists and recommends individuals it deems most qualified for appointment as fellows. Biographies of committee members can be found on the fellowship’s Executive Committee page.

How long is the fellowship program?

The fellowship program is two years and begins on August 11, 2014.

What is the selection and program timeline?


September 1, 2013 - October 30, 2013: Application Period: The Governor’s Management Fellowship application for the 2014 Class of Fellows goes live on Sunday, September 1, 2013, and will remain open until Wednesday, October 30, 2013.

Early November 2013: Initial phone interviews.

Late November 2013: Interviews of finalists are conducted by the Fellows Executive Committee.

December 16, 2013 - January 27, 2014: Fellows are notified and must signify their commitment by signing a letter of intent within three weeks of receiving their offer.


August 11, 2014: The Governor’s Fellowship Program begins with orientation and individual statewide project assignments.

October 2014: The eighteen-month Leadership Development Program begins.

November 2014: Fellows list top departments for which they would like to work.

January 2015: Fellows are placed in departments and become part of the respective commissioner’s executive leadership team.

June 2016: Fellows give individual executive presentations on year-long projects.

June 30, 2016: Fellows complete formal program.

How many applicants will be selected for the fellowship?

A maximum of five candidates will be awarded fellowships.

Are fellows provided with compensation and benefits?

Yes. Fellows are considered full-time state employees and will be offered a competitive salary and benefits.

Does the fellowship provide housing?

No. Fellows are responsible for their own housing arrangements.


Are there age restrictions?

No. However, to be eligible for the fellowship, candidates must have graduated from an undergraduate institution or graduate program between December 2011 and August 2014.

Do I need to be of the same political party as the current administration?

No. Fellowships are awarded on a nonpartisan basis. The Fellows Executive Committee is bipartisan and will reward the best and brightest candidates, whatever their political affiliation might be.

How do I apply?

Applications open September 1 and can be accessed online by selecting “Apply Now” on the fellowship’s home page. The online application requires a resume, transcript(s), two short essays, and three letters of recommendation.

Do I need to submit official transcripts?

No. Unofficial transcripts, scanned and uploaded as PDF files, are sufficient. However, official transcripts may be requested at a later date.

I’m a graduate student. What transcripts do I need to provide?

Applicants who have recently completed graduate programs must upload TWO transcripts—both an undergraduate and graduate school transcript. Recent college graduates only need to provide one.

How are recommendation letters submitted?

Letters must be sent electronically from the recommenders directly to the following email address: You will not be able to read the letters; a confirmation email will be sent to you after your three letters are submitted. The authenticity of your recommendation letters may be verified later.

Please note: you are responsible for communicating these instructions to your three recommenders and ensuring that letters are submitted by the application deadline, October 30th.

What is expected of my recommendation letters?

Recommendation letters should reveal information about you that is not necessarily included in your application. It is best to have recommendations from people who know you well; a recommendation from a prominent individual is not helpful if he or she does not personally know you.

It is suggested that one recommendation be from someone who can speak to your academic or professional competence and another be from someone with knowledge of your extracurricular, community, and/or civic activities. The third is entirely up to you.

Letters should not exceed one single-spaced page.

If I am selected for the final round of interviews in Nashville, will my travel expenses be covered?

We encourage you to reach out to your university career centers, which can often provide stipends to cover costs associated with interviewing. Unfortunately, the State of Tennessee cannot pay for your travel expenses.

After Acceptance

What is the orientation process like?

Fellows are oriented to state government during the first six months of the program. Orientation includes a "crash course" in government management, overview of the governor’s priorities and those of each department, team-building retreat, introduction to the governor, his staff, and all cabinet members, bimonthly presentations from state subject-matter experts, networking forums, exposure to both statewide and department-specific initiatives, and individual six-month projects.

What is the Leadership Development Program?

The Leadership Development Program (LDP) spans the last eighteen months of the fellowship and will consist of periodic networking events, luncheons, seminars, and meetings with a personal executive coach.

How will fellows be placed?

After six months, fellows are placed in one of Tennessee’s twenty-two departments based on both the preferences of the fellow and the needs of each individual department. In January, each fellow joins the leadership team of a commissioner and reports to that commissioner for the remaining 18 months of the program.

What is expected of a Governor’s Fellow during the program?

To become a Governor’s Fellow is a prestigious honor and a full-time commitment. As part of a distinguished group of future leaders, fellows are expected to work hard, fully engage in their work placement, and take advantage of the unparalleled opportunities available to them as they serve at the top level of state government.

Is there any opportunity for career placement following the program?

Yes. However, a job offer is not guaranteed at the end of the two-year fellowship.

What is expected of Governor’s Fellows alumni?

Wherever their careers take them, Governor’s Fellows alumni—our future leaders—are expected to be champions of state government and public service.

More questions? Please e-mail us at

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