2023-24 Perlman ETA Fellowship
The Perlman ETA Fellowship
The Perlman ETA Fellowship is a competitive opportunity designed specifically for Penn and Wharton Master’s Degree and Ph.D. students who are in their final year of study and graduating in 2024. This program provides support, both financially and through additional resources, to students who plan to acquire and operate a business immediately after their graduation. Selected fellows will receive up to $50,000 in financial support, aimed at helping them achieve their entrepreneurial goals directly following the completion of their studies.
Perlman ETA Fellowship Program Timeline
|Monday, December 18, 2023
|Sunday, February 18, 2024
|Monday, February 26 - Thursday, February 29
|Round 1 Interviews (w/Venture Lab staff)
|Thursday, March 21, 2024
|Finalist Interviews (w/Finalist Judges)
|Week of March 25, 2024
|Final Decisions Announced
Perlman ETA Fellowship - Frequently Asked Questions
Who is eligible to apply?
In the program’s second year, the Perlman ETA Fellowship is broadening its eligibility criteria. This opportunity is now open to any Penn or Wharton Master’s Degree or Ph.D. student in their final year and set to graduate in 2024.
- Eligibility includes the students pursuing degree-granting Executive programs (Ex. Wharton Executive MBA, Fels Executive MPA, etc.).
- Applicants should note that if they are selected as Fellowship recipients and are graduating in either August or December of 2024, they must complete all graduation requirements and receive their degree before they are cleared for the initial disbursement of grant funding.
Applicants must be in good academic standing as defined by the academic policies of their home school, and adhere to all policies of the University of Pennsylvania and The Wharton School.
- View each respective school’s Academic Good Standing policy here: https://catalog.upenn.edu/graduate/policies-procedures/academic-withdrawal/
Eligibility also includes a commitment to pursuing a full-time acquisition search immediately after graduation from the respective Penn or Wharton program.
If a student raises funds from search fund investors, acquires a company, or begins receiving a full-time salary, they will not be eligible for the second tranche of funding.
Are there any limitations to the type of acquisition model the searcher can pursue to be eligible for the fellowship (e.g., self-funded search with SBA funding, search fund backed by search fund investors, self-funded search without outside investment, Search Fund Accelerator, or C.E.O. in Residence Program)?
No, there are no limitations. The Perlman ETA Fellowship award is open to applicants regardless of the type of acquisition model the searcher pursues.
What is the structure of the Perlman ETA Fellowship Award, and how is it distributed?
The Perlman ETA Fellowship provides an award ranging from $25,000 to $50,000. The award is non-dilutive, meaning Venture Lab or the university does not gain a financial stake in the Fellow's search. It's important to note that the award is considered taxable income by the IRS.
The Perlman ETA fellowship award is distributed in $25,000 tranches. The first tranche is released in June of the program year (June 2024) upon confirmation of graduation from the respective Penn or Wharton Master's or Ph.D. level program(s). If deemed eligible, the second tranche will follow in January of the next year (January 2025).
How is eligibility for the second tranche of the Perlman ETA Fellowship award determined?
Eligibility for the second tranche of the Perlman ETA Fellowship award is contingent upon the fellow's active involvement in searching for a business to acquire. To qualify for this portion of the award, Fellows are expected to be diligently engaged in the acquisition search process.
Ineligibility for the second tranche occurs under any of the following circumstances:
- The fellow ceases their efforts in searching for a business to acquire.
- The fellow takes on a full-time job or starts receiving a full-time salary.
- The fellow closes a formal search fund or raises funds from search fund investors.
- The fellow successfully acquires a business before the scheduled distribution of the second tranche.
The determination of eligibility for the second disbursement of the Perlman ETA Fellowship award is at the discretion of the Venture Lab team, which oversees the ETA Fellowship program. This team will assess each fellow's engagement and progress in the business acquisition search to make their decision.
What do Perlman ETA Fellows receive?
The Perlman Entrepreneurship Through Acquisition (ETA) Fellows receive an award that can be leveraged for living expenses and other business expenses connected to the acquisition search process.
Additionally, Perlman ETA Fellows receive additional support services, that can include executive coaching, small group workshops targeting tactical aspects of the search process, support, and connection to professional services essential to completing an effective search process.
How many Perlman ETA Fellowships will be awarded?
In the program’s second year, up to 4 students will be selected as Perlman ETA Fellows.
What does the application process for the Perlman ETA Fellowship entail?
The application process for the Perlman ETA Fellowship is a multi-stage procedure that begins with a written application and a video submission. Interested candidates must submit these through Survey Monkey Apply before the deadline, which is Sunday, February 18, 2024, by 11:59 p.m. ET.
Those with successfully submitted and eligible applications will move forward to the review stage. A shortlist of semi-finalists will be chosen based on their submissions. These semi-finalists will be notified for semi-final round interviews with the Venture Lab staff administering the ETA Fellowship program on or before Friday, February 23, 2024. The exact number of interview slots will be determined at this stage.
From these interviews, up to eight finalist candidates will be selected. These finalists will be determined and notified on or before Monday, March 4, 2024.
The finalist round involves interviews with a panel of alumni ETA Judges, scheduled for Thursday, March 21, 2024. Details about the ETA judges and the format of this interview round will be announced closer to the interview date.
Finally, the recipients of the 2024 Perlman ETA Fellowship will be selected and notified on or before Monday, March 25, 2024.
How are Perlman ETA Applications being assessed?
The Perlman ETA Fellowship applications are reviewed to see how ready and suitable each applicant is for the Entrepreneurship Through Acquisition (ETA) pathway. The categories below provide a few key areas of focus:
Interest and Commitment to ETA Pathway: This aspect assesses the applicant's clear and demonstrated interest in and commitment to the ETA pathway. The focus here is on gauging the depth of their understanding and dedication to this unique entrepreneurial journey.
Understanding of the ETA Process: Applicants must exhibit a comprehensive understanding of the ETA process, including the timeline and potential expenses incurred during the search for a business. This involves evaluating their grasp of the practicalities and financial implications of the search process.
Proposed Market or Geographic Opportunity: The evaluation includes a review of the applicant's proposed market or geographic area of focus. This category examines the thoughtfulness and clarity of their choice, ensuring it is well-considered and feasible.
Awareness of Challenges and Solutions: It is essential for applicants to demonstrate an understanding of the potential challenges they might face while searching for a business and to propose viable solutions to these challenges. This assesses their problem-solving skills and foresight.
Ability to Execute and Operate: The assessment looks at the applicant's demonstrated ability to not only execute the search effectively but also to operate the business successfully once acquired. This includes evaluating their practical skills and aptitude for managing a business.