EDGE Fellows

Companies involved in 2022:  Avery Dennison, Fortune Brands | Global Plumbing Group, Great Work Employment Services, Pulsar Eco Products, and SweatID.

The Summer EDGE Fellows Program helps companies explore and validate new growth opportunities by engaging talented students and experienced business mentors in cross-functional teams.  Students have access to university databases and gain valuable insights in working with experienced business mentors and through primary and secondary market research as students (rather than as a company representative) – ultimately providing a comprehensive report and recommended action steps based on well-supported industry evidence.  In addition, EDGE is committed to helping Fellows develop their professional networks, foster personal development and expose them to professionals throughout NE Ohio (and beyond). While the work experience is great, students frequently talk about the access to quality mentoring and professional/personal networking throughout the summer as differentiators in this internship.

EDGE Fellows share short presentations on their findings, too.

Year after year, EDGE Fellows rate their overall experience in the program from “9.1” to “9.5” (avg. score) out of 10.  In 2022, the average score was a “9.8” out of 10.

Interested in learning more? Contact Chris Keller.

Impact:  Sparking profitable business growth

  • Well over 50% of the projects studied over past 15 years have generated new investment and/or revenue for NE Ohio.
  • Nearly 60% of the students choose to stay and work in the area after graduation. 

Special thanks for support provided by:
The Burton D. Morgan Foundation, The Harvard Business School Club of Northeastern Ohio and the Participating Companies.

About Program: The goal of the EDGE Fellows Program is to research the up-side potential for new business opportunities for area companies. Additionally, the program provides students with a truly unique consulting experience, connecting area companies with top talent from area universities and skilled business mentors. Started in 2007, the EDGE Fellows Program has explored 103 project ideas, and several projects led to multi-million-dollar business ventures.

The “Coolest Internship” in NE Ohio – per NOCHE & CBC Magazine

The Summer EDGE Fellows’ Program is a great opportunity to get more acquainted with the fabric of the business community in Northeast Ohio – including small, medium and larger companies. Each year participating EDGE Fellows rate their experiences very highly — often the best experience of their graduate studies — and they gain:

  • Consulting and Marketing Experience as student teams work with business leaders to identify and validate new business opportunities and make recommended go-to-market action steps.
  • Mentorship and Networking with the local business community, seasoned business mentors, and a network of EDGE Fellows that provide benefits well beyond the program.
  • New Opportunities to pursue post graduation as students can learn about creating their own opportunities within companies.
  • Broad Exposure to many different Northeast Ohio businesses (small, medium and large) in different industries, often including healthcare/medical devices, IT/logistics, manufacturing, chemicals/coatings, polymers, agriculture and innovative technology.

The two-month paid summer internship is a guided process that offers students the flexibility of working remotely, as part of a collaborative team and with other highly motivated students. Successful EDGE Fellows develop a great working rapport with their research partner, host company contacts, business mentors, EDGE staff, and other EDGE Fellow teams. There is a lot of focus on conducting primary and secondary market research, getting out to meet and connect with industry professionals throughout the summer, and an increasing interest in data analytics. Access to reliable transportation is a must as there is some required driving throughout northeast Ohio.

Each EDGE Fellows class is made up of a select group of primarily graduate-level students from multiple disciplines, and students are paired to projects based on their background, experience, and expressed interest. Many opportunities will also be available throughout the summer for networking and personal/professional development, and it does not end once the summer is over. Many stay connected with EDGE and a network of EDGE Fellow alumni for years to come – particularly as they seek job opportunities and career advice.

Testimonials:

“I learned so much and had a lot of fun doing it.  It felt like I learned more in this brief summer session about how to manage and work with clients, collaborate effectively with teammates, and create persuasive presentations than I did in my three semesters in grad school!”

“A bridge between academia and the real world (finally)!  Great contacts around Northeast Ohio! And, most importantly, confidence in myself as a professional. I feel well equipped to graduate and navigate what is ahead of me.”

“It’s hard work … overall, the experience (was) invaluable. This has been my best job so far. Ever. I would do it again in a heartbeat. I can’t say that about a lot of things I’ve done, but EDGE is one of the best things that’s happened to me.”

“An excellent opportunity to (work) with a diverse, intelligent, and motivated group of people. It will enable you to develop your skills as a business person and will expose you to different ways to approach challenges. The program will aid you in connecting with the business environment of northeast Ohio and challenge you to solve pressing issues affecting area businesses.”

“It is a great experience and helps you learn what you do or do not want to do in the future. … This is something I would not have been able to learn through classes. Also, there are so many connections through EDGE that will really help out in the future.”

“The EDGE Fellowship is a unique opportunity to do and learn so much in the course of only two months. It’s a real hands-on experience where you have the opportunity to apply everything you have learned at school. Plus, you always feel that you can rely on experienced mentors to guide you in the process. That balance of having enough freedom to do your work with having enough guidance and mentorship from experienced EDGE staff and business mentors is very important!”

“The EDGE Fellows experience was one of the most impactful experiences on both a personal and professional level. Meetings allowed me to leave with handfuls of new friends and see areas of Cleveland that I would have never known existed. The entire process was absolutely exceptional. My only regret is that it has come to an end.”

“The EDGE program has helped me gain valuable skills that will make me extremely marketable to companies in the future. Not all internships sit you down and teach you basic business skills such as market analysis, interview techniques, etc. and allow you to put them into action. I also enjoyed developing professional and social relationships with the EDGE staff and Fellows.”

I think this experience was fantastic, and I will forever cherish this opportunity. Students are rarely able to get this level of autonomy and responsibility at other consulting firms.”

I really enjoyed the weekly get-togethers with other Fellows. Making it through my own problems throughout the summer was made easier by hearing & understanding the similar/different problems other Fellows were experiencing.”

“I didn’t know much about what was going on with these small to medium sized businesses in the area. There’s a lot going on, and a lot of passion among the leaders of these businesses.”

“I really enjoyed meeting all the great people involved: EDGE staff, mentors, host company people, and Fellows alike. The experience itself was so worthwhile … and helped show me what I’m capable of.”