Frequently Asked Questions: ProInspire Fellowship in Digital Finance

Why should I consider the ProInspire Fellowship in Digital Finance?
The ProInspire Fellowship in Digital Finance is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to gain valuable work experience, engage in public service, collaborate with leaders in the field, and advance global financial inclusion.

If you are a U.S. citizen and have a minimum of seven years of relevant, professional-level experience, you will have the opportunity to bring fresh thinking and best practices to the formulation and execution of U.S. policy.

In addition to their full-time fellowship in the U.S. Government, ProInspire Fellows in Digital Finance will participate in varied and immersive digital finance experiences that include inter-agency projects with their cohort of Fellows and interaction with diverse partners such as MasterCard, PayPal, and McKinsey, and nonprofits such as Accion and the Aspen Institute.

ProInspire Fellows in Digital Finance return to the marketplace with a deep knowledge of government and of global issues after undergoing a transformative professional experience that expands their perspectives and exposes them to new thinking. Whatever path they choose, fellows will be equipped to make a lasting impact.

How long is the ProInspire Fellowship in Digital Finance?
ProInspire Fellows in Digital Finance serve for one year, with potential to extend into a second year. Results and impact, along with fellow and agency interest, will drive decisions on renewals.

How much will ProInspire Digital Finance Fellows be paid?
Fellows will receive a fellowship award from ProInspire, the nonprofit organization that manages the ProInspire Fellowship in Digital Finance. Once fellows begin their fellowship year, they will receive compensation of $110,000/year (paid as a monthly fellowship award), a stipend of $1,000/month for health insurance, reimbursement of relocation costs (limited funds available), and access to a professional development fund. A ProInspire Fellow in Digital Finance is classified as an independent contractor with ProInspire and will receive IRS Form 1099.

Can I do the fellowship if I am on a paid sabbatical? What if I don’t need to receive compensation for the program?
Yes, you can do the fellowship if you are on a paid sabbatical. If you are receiving compensation from your employer, or you don’t need compensation (i.e., self-sponsored), ProInspire will adjust the Fellowship award accordingly. Fellows are uncompensated U.S. Government employees subject to the government ethics rules. They are encouraged to consult with an ethics official in their assigned agency before assuming their duties.

Where is the ProInspire Fellowship in Digital Finance located?
Fellows will work at the federal agency to which they are assigned, in the Washington, D.C., area. Some travel may be required.

What can ProInspire Fellows in Digital Finance do after leaving the program?
Fellows will gain tremendous knowledge of how the U.S. Government works. They can use this experience to further enhance their work in the field in a variety of ways, including through working with non-governmental organizations, private-sector companies, multilateral bodies, and other entities.

Are there any part-time positions available?
No. The ProInspire Fellowship in Digital Finance is a full-time, one-year program, with the possibility of extending into a second year. There are no part-time positions.

Who qualifies to be a ProInspire Fellow in Digital Finance?
The ProInspire Fellowship in Digital Finance is open to established professionals with at least seven years of work experience related to fintech, digital finance, or financial inclusion, drawn from the private sector, nonprofit sector (including NGOs, foundations, associations, and others), multilaterals, or academia.

Candidates must:

  • Be a U.S. citizen.
  • Have at least seven years of relevant working experience.
  • Be able to obtain a security clearance. The clearance will be processed by the host agency prior to the start of the fellowship.
  • Fellows are U.S. Government employees subject to government ethics rules. Fellows are encouraged to consult with an ethics official in their assigned agency before assuming their duties.
  • Have expertise in fintech, digital finance, or financial inclusion, specific to the particular role requirements.

What is the selection process?
Fellows will be selected through the following process:

1. Interested individuals submit an application for the ProInspire Fellowship in Digital Finance. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis. ProInspire expects to be in touch with all applicants no later than August 31, 2017.

2. ProInspire reviews applications and conducts interviews. ProInspire will select applicants for interviews by phone, likely to occur in August 2017.

3. ProInspire selects candidates for the ProInspire Fellowship in Digital Finance. Applicants who best meet the job description requirements will be deemed “candidates.” ProInspire will conduct reference checks for candidates, who will then be recommended to the participating agencies. At this stage, all applicants will be notified of their status.

4. Agencies interview candidates. Participating agencies will then review the candidates and interview their top choices. We anticipate that interviews will be completed by September 2017.

5. Agencies select their fellows. The U.S. Government will select 4-5 ProInspire Fellows in Digital Finance in the first year. Candidates who are not selected by an agency may be invited to a waitlist, to be considered should an opening arise later in the year and/or for future cohorts. We anticipate fellows will be selected and offers made in October 2017.

6. Candidates accepting contingent offers apply for security clearance. Federal agency security clearances usually take at least two months and sometimes as long as eight months or more.

7. Fellows begin work. Those passing security and ethics clearances will be contacted to work out a mutually agreeable date on which to start work, which in some cases could be within a few weeks after notification of security clearance. We anticipate fellows will begin work in late 2017 or early 2018.

8. ProInspire hosts orientation for fellows. ProInspire will develop a two-day orientation for the cohort in early 2018.

How many people will be selected as ProInspire Fellows in Digital Finance?
Four or five fellows will comprise the first cohort of the ProInspire Fellowship in Digital Finance. Fellows will be selected by October 2017 and will begin their placements after receiving security clearance. It is expected that Fellows will start working in late 2017 or early 2018, depending on their clearance timeline.

Where will I be placed?
Those accepted into the ProInspire Fellowship in Digital Finance will be placed in one of five U.S. Government agencies:

  • Millennium Challenge Corporation
  • Overseas Private Investment Corporation
  • U.S. Agency for International Development
  • U.S. Department of State
  • U.S. Department of Treasury

Click here to review the role descriptions.

When will the ProInspire Fellowship in Digital Finance start?
Fellow start dates will vary, depending on factors such as agency needs and how long the security clearance takes. It is expected that fellows will start between October 2017 and March 2018. Please see “What is the security clearance process?” for more information.

If I don’t get accepted into the fellowship, can I reapply?
Yes. If you are not selected as a candidate in 2017, you can reapply for the ProInspire Fellowship in Digital Finance in subsequent years.

What is the security clearance process?
All fellows must be approved for a security clearance by their agency before they can begin work. Security clearance is initiated once a fellow has accepted an offer. The time it takes to get security clearance varies widely and depends on multiple factors. According to this article, initial Secret clearances are now taking an average of 116 days.
The agency that selects you as a ProInspire Fellow in Digital Finance will cover the expense of the security clearance process itself. You will need to cover costs for fingerprinting, document preparation, and mailing related to the security clearance process.

Will I be reimbursed for travel expenses during the recruitment process?
Yes, ProInspire will reimburse candidates for travel expenses associated with one trip to Washington, D.C., as part of their interview and selection process.

Will I be reimbursed for relocation if I am accepted as a fellow?
ProInspire will provide limited funds to help with relocation expenses. Fellows will be asked to provide receipts for relocation costs. There is no additional amount outside of the relocation cost to cover housing.

What is the ProInspire Fellowship in Digital Finance Advisory Committee?
The Fellowship Advisory Committee is comprised of leaders from nonprofits, private sector companies, think tanks, and other organizations and networks that are setting the pace and direction of digital finance innovation.
Fellows will have the opportunity to engage with these senior industry leaders and gain exposure to digital finance activities in their organizations.

Members of the ProInspire Fellowship in Digital Finance Advisory Committee include:

Usman Ahmed, Head of Global Public Policy, Paypal
Monica Brand Engel, Partner, Quona Capital
Greta Bull, CEO, CGAP
Ann Mei Chang, Former Executive Director, U.S. Global Development Lab
Raj Kumar, President & Editor-in-chief, Devex
Lisa MacDougall, Vice President, Office of Corporate Engagement, Goldman, Sachs & Co.
Ida Rademacher, Executive Director, Aspen Financial Security Program, Aspen Institute
Beth Rhyne, Managing Director, Accion – Center for Financial Inclusion
Shamina Singh, EVP of Sustainability, MasterCard
Jennifer Tescher, President & CEO, Center for Financial Services Innovation
Amina Tirana, Sr. Director Government and Partnerships, Expanding Access, Visa
Olivia White, Partner, McKinsey & Co.

 


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