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 interface of business, government and nonprofit organizations, dealing with challenges in such critical areas as health care, the environment, economic development, and government relation. 


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

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 trip in New York City 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.

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.

  • Does the fellowships selection committee have access to my Harvard Kennedy School admissions materials?
    The Rubenstein Fellowship Selection Committee does not see the personal statements, transcripts, or letters of recommendation submitted to the HKS admissions committee, only the documents submitted on this form.

  • May I apply to more than one fellowship?
    Students may apply for multiple fellowships at CPL, but we encourage applicants to think about which fellowship aligns with his/her experience and goals.

  • Where do I send my fellowship application materials? Where do I send my fellowship recommendations if sent separately by the referrers?
    All students’ application materials go to the Financial Aid office; any questions regarding the Financial Aid site or general application should be directed to Student Financial Services. CPL may only accept those letters sent separately by recommenders.

Please Note: the fellowship/scholarship review process requires that we be able to electronically compile your submitted materials into a single document. It is imperative, therefore, that none of the documents you submit be protected by passwords or any other means. For example, documents submitted as PDFs should be configured to permit edits, changes and copying. If the fellowship/scholarship for which you are applying requires you to submit a letter from a recommender, please remind your recommender not to protect these documents. If you do submit protected documents you risk not being considered for the fellowship/scholarship for which you have applied.