David M. Rubenstein Fellowship

David M. Rubenstein established a fellowship in 2008 for first year joint degree students at the Harvard Kennedy School and the Harvard Business School. 

Harvard Kennedy School and Harvard Business School have created a fully integrated joint degree program in business and government that represents an innovative approach to preparing leaders for a growing area of practice of critical importance to global society. Students enrolled in the joint degree program will be prepared to work in positions of influence at the intersection of business, government and nonprofit organizations, dealing with challenges in such critical areas as health care, the environment, economic development, and government.

Student applicants admitted to the HKS/HBS joint degree program will be considered for the Rubenstein Fellowship during their first year at Harvard Kennedy School.


Step 1: Apply to Harvard Kennedy School or Harvard Business School.

Step 2: Apply for the Fellowship: Application deadline for the Rubenstein Fellowship is Monday, February 4, 2019 at 11:59 p.m. EST.

To apply for the Rubenstein Fellowship please visit the Student Financial Services web site.

  1. A biographical profile, not to exceed 150 words. (This profile should be short, concise and in the third person.) Please include the following highlights: an introductory sentence including your name; the degree you are pursuing at Harvard Kennedy School; where you are from and where you currently reside; an overview and highlights of your relevant work/professional experience; significant leadership achievements including awards or certifications; and educational credentials with the degrees earned and institutions attended.

  2. A document containing written responses to the following two essay prompts: 1. Please provide a concrete example of your leadership in the past and discuss how you plan to bring your experience, education, and capacity to bear to advance the common good. (300 words or less) 2. Please discuss your interest in the Rubenstein Fellowship and how your leadership goals have motivated you to apply. (200 words or less)

Program Information

Rubenstein Fellows will participate in a robust cocurricular program offered by the Center for Public Leadership.

This fellowship is available to first year joint degree students of the Harvard Kennedy School and the Harvard Business School.

The Fellowship Experience

Welcome Retreat: CPL Fellows interact with and get to know one another and begin the process of supporting one another's aspirations as leaders.

Cohort Sessions: The Rubenstein fellows meet approximately twice a month in sessions that allow them to engage with eminent practitioners and local and national leaders and with one another on topics of service and cross-sector leadership. Like other CPL fellows, the Rubenstein fellows engage in dream trust exercises which allow them to build on the knowledge and experience of their fellow cohort members as they tackle important leadership challenges together.

Faculty-led sessions: CPL Fellows attend faculty-led, competency-based workshops that are attuned to CPL's framework of leadership of self, leadership of teams, and leadership of organizations.

Field Experience Trip: Fellows will organize and participate in a multi-day field experience to any of the 48 continguous states in January to meet with compelling leaders who have navigated across public, private and civil sectors, helping to advance economic and social progress. The field experience is a crucial opportunity for fellows to see classroom learning executed on the ground and in practice. 

Connection with CPL and Rubenstein Fellows Network: Fellows engage with these other emerging leaders as they begin their careers through opportunities like roundtable discussions, mentoring experiences with fellowship alumni, leadership skill building workshops, and networking events.

Commitment to Nondiscrimination   

As a matter of commitment, policy, and law, Harvard Kennedy School does not discriminate on the basis of gender, gender identity, color, race, age, sexual orientation, religion, national or ethnic origin, political beliefs, intellectual focus, disability, or veteran status. The School strongly believes diversity enhances the value of all its activities, from research and teaching to degree programs and public events. The School encourages applications from candidates who are interested in careers in public service and acknowledges a special responsibility to train effective leaders in public policy and management.

David M. Rubenstein is a Co-Founder and Co-CEO of The Carlyle Group, one of the world’s largest private equity firms. Mr. Rubenstein co-founded the firm in 1987. Since then, Carlyle has grown into a firm managing more than $165 billion from 40 offices around the world.

Mr. Rubenstein, a native of Baltimore, is a 1970 magna cum laude graduate of Duke, where he was elected Phi Beta Kappa. Following Duke, Mr. Rubenstein graduated in 1973 from the University of Chicago Law School, where he was an editor of the Law Review.

From 1973-1975, Mr. Rubenstein practiced law in New York with Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison. From 1975-1976 he served as Chief Counsel to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Constitutional Amendments.

From 1977-1981, during the Carter Administration, Mr. Rubenstein was Deputy Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy. After his White House service and before cofounding Carlyle, Mr. Rubenstein practiced law in Washington with Shaw, Pittman, Potts & Trowbridge (now Pillsbury, Winthrop, Shaw, Pittman).

Mr. Rubenstein is Chairman of the Boards of Trustees of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the Smithsonian Institution, the Council on Foreign Relations, and the Madison Council of the Library of Congress; Chairman Emeritus of Duke University (Chair 2013-2017); Vice-Chairman of the Brookings Institution; President of the Economic Club of Washington; and Trustee of the National Gallery of Art.

Mr. Rubenstein is also on the Board of Directors or Trustees of the University of Chicago, the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Johns Hopkins Medicine, the Institute for Advanced Study, the National Museum of American History of the Smithsonian Institution and the National Museum of Natural History of the Smithsonian Institution.

At Harvard, Mr. Rubenstein is a Fellow of the Harvard Corporation; Chairman of the Harvard Global Advisory Council; Co-Chairman of the Harvard Campaign; and Chair of the Harvard Kennedy School Campaign; a member of the Harvard Kennedy School Visiting Committee and the Harvard Business School Board of Dean’s Advisors.

Mr. Rubenstein is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Business Council, and the Advisory Board of the School of Economics and Management at Tsinghua University.