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“Why should I become an Acumen Fellow?”

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This is the question we’re asked most frequently. It’s a great question, and it’s the right one to be asking before submitting your application. We asked Acumen Fellows about their most important takeaways from the Fellowship, and here is what they had to say:

1. To become part of a global community of leaders

“I remember the first time with my cohort. It was amazing. I actually had 20 people around me who thought the same way I did. I had never had that before. It was like ‘Wow, I think we could possibly do this.”
Irfan Keshavjee, CEO of Karibu Homes and East Africa Fellow ‘12

“My outlook significantly changed through the Fellowship, and I realised that we need to take people along, if we want to walk far. I started viewing my impact as a collective one”
—Abbas Dadla, Senior Associate at Acumen and India Fellow ‘14

“The Acumen Fellows community has really made all the difference, because the struggle is very real, and the accompaniment is extremely important. Without that, it’s very hard to keep working and keep working. But with that, we have a real shot at changing the system. Which is really exciting.”
—Benje Williams, CEO of Amal Academy and Global Fellow ‘11

“One of the biggest takeaways from the Acumen fellowship was the family I took away. A family of like-minded, energetic leaders who were doing it on the ground, not just planning sitting somewhere in a big city in a different place in the world.”
—Faisal Khan, CEO of Peshawar 2.0 and Pakistan Fellow ‘16

2. To get a deeper grasp of your purpose

“The Acumen Fellowship made me reality-check why I was in Kenya and what I needed to do.”
—Faith Muigai, Regional Director at PharmAccess Foundation and East Africa Fellow ‘13

“I thought if 20 Pakistanis could have such a healthy conversation and learn so much from each other in a matter of five days, imagine how great it would be to one day have a Pakistan where all of us could speak openly, listen and learn to get along.”
Samia Razaq and Pakistan Fellow ‘15

3. The opportunity to build your capacity to act courageously

“I saw that a lot of the Fellows had taken risks throughout their lives, and I started thinking about what leadership really means. I asked myself ‘Should I take this risk?’”
—Shameem Akhtar, Public School Teacher and Pakistan Fellow ‘15

4. To grow as a leader

“There are also some essential tools that actually came with the fellowship. I read through and I thought, ‘Yeah that would be good to have.’ When I actually went through them I was like, ‘This is real gold.’”
—Abu Musuuza, CEO of Village Energy and East Africa Fellow ‘12

“It’s what, four years later, I still feel what I went through in 2013, I’m still connecting the dots. In that sense it was such a powerful experience and in so many way, I feel over the years it has given me a free mark or guided me.”
— Marion Moon, CEO for Wanda Organics and East Africa Fellow ‘13

“I think Acumen fellowship has given me another lens to look at problems, the adaptive lens, as we call it. Is that, you know, you can have a lot of technical solutions to solve a problem. But many a times, it’s way much more complex in terms of involving everyone’s egos, and understanding what people have to lose and gain through any sort of decision or transaction that you’re trying to do. And that lens has really helped me have a lot of difficult conversations with people.”
—Suhani Mohan, CEO of Saral Designs and India Fellow ‘15

And our last note of advice is from Pakistan Fellow Sarah Farooq, who leads Operations for Generation You Employed: “And lastly get ready for a transformation, it’s an experience that will change you in ways you have not thought about and get ready to be out of your comfort zone!”

That’s all we’ve got! Good luck! We look forward to receiving your application before 11:59pm on September 9.