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McGowan Fellows Program

The McGowan Fellowship is administered as part of the McGowan Fellows program which was established in 2010. The Fellows program is funded by the William G. McGowan Charitable Fund, whose interests include education, healthcare, and medical research. The Fund is named for the former chairman of MCI who broke ATT’s monopoly on telecommunications and ushered in a new era of free enterprise.

The purpose of the Fellows program is to create a community of highly talented business leaders who are dedicated to ethical leadership and who share an interest in making a global impact, especially improving societal conditions for those less fortunate. McGowan Fellows form life-long relationships, buttressing one another throughout their careers by serving as friends, sounding boards, and a source of contacts for the corporate and non-profit sectors. As the pool of Fellows increases – there are currently 30 –  the possibility of Fellows having a significant impact on the culture of business and society exponentially increases.


One Fellow is chosen annually from each of ten schools ranking in the top 20 MBA programs nationwide. The partner schools are: Carnegie Mellon, Columbia, Duke, Georgetown, and Northwestern Universities; the Universities of Chicago, Michigan and Pennsylvania, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Dartmouth College. Each Fellow must be a full-time MBA student  who has demonstrated leadership skill and an interest in ethical leadership.  

Fellowship recipients receive full-tuition for their second year of MBA study, which is intended to provide them with increased freedom to pursue careers of their choice.

Eligible students are required to complete an application form which is due in the spring of the first year of study. The winning Fellow is selected in May. Please contact the Financial Aid Office for more information.


McGowan Fellows must participate in the program’s Annual Symposium and Retreat weekend which takes place in early November. Keyed to an engaging topic as seen through the lens of ethical leadership, the Symposium introduces new Fellows to alumni and offers opportunities for spirited discussion, networking with classmates and business leaders, and a refreshed view of the workplace.

New Fellows also complete a group project during their Fellowship year. The project is outlined during the Symposium and fleshed out via conference calls and a group spring retreat, provided by the Fellows program. Representatives from the class present a project update to the Board in July, after graduation, and a final report the following November, during the Symposium.

Another key component of the McGowan Fellows experience is the Mentorship Program. Fellows are matched with senior-level professional mentors who mirror the Fellow’s career aspirations. These relationships enable Fellows to navigate their career options by providing guidance, ongoing education, introductions, feedback, network connections, and leadership development opportunities.


William G. McGowan (1927-1992), an American entrepreneur with a pioneering spirit, was the motivating force behind the success and innovation at MCI. McGowan joined MCI in 1968 and through his vision and grit, the company went nationwide with microwave telecommunications services at low prices, breaking the stranglehold of the ATT monopoly. MCI became one of the largest providers of telecommunications services in the world.

McGowan’s interests stretched well beyond the confines of business. He believed that every child had the potential to achieve if provided opportunities. Recognizing the importance of education in reaching one’s potential, he supported efforts to find ways in which to advance low-income children and youth.  

Following his death in 1992 from heart problems, McGowan’s legacy was preserved through the William G. McGowan Charitable Fund. The Fellow’s program grew out his interest in education and dedication to a career in business.

To learn more about the McGowan Fellows Program and William G. McGowan, visit their website

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