The Mayfield Fellows Program (MFP) is a nine-month work/study program that selects 12-15 outstanding Stanford engineering and science students to study high-technology entrepreneurship. During the summer, each student has a paid summer work assignment in a start-up company, providing students with hands-on entrepreneurial experience.
General Criteria for Participating Start-upsIn order to qualify as a mentor company for the Mayfield Fellows Program, your company must be:
- located in the San Francisco Bay Area;
- at an early stage of growth (either as a pre-IPO start-up or having gone public within the past 3 years); and
- in a high-potential, growth-oriented business.
Mentoring Relationships and Reporting Structure
Stanford requests that each Mayfield Fellow is assigned a senior level mentor within the start-up (e.g., CEO, VP, or founder). Although an individual Mayfield Fellow may have daily supervision by another employee, it is critical to the success of the program that each student have a senior internal sponsor concerned with his or her welfare and activities. For example, a mentor will normally have a weekly or biweekly "1-1" with the student to check progress and goals.
Quality of Work Assignments
Mayfield Fellows are some of the most accomplished and dedicated engineering and science students at Stanford. They often have Bachelor's degrees and partial completion of a Masters degree. They have gone through MFP's rigorous admission process and have completed a comprehensive course on management challenges in growth companies. Smart employers will take advantage of this fact and create assignments that allow the student to demonstrate his or her innovation and design skills. Often, senior managers have critical projects in technical and operating functions that sit on the margin of organizational resources. A Mayfield Fellow could be given the responsibility to fulfill one of these high impact projects. Everyone involved in MFP is aware that menial tasks are part of life in an entrepreneurial environment. However, this program strives for special, mutually beneficial relationships between the student and the company. We seek to maximize the students' learning and their contribution to the venture's success. We have found that it works best if the entire company has an understanding of the Mayfield Fellows Program, to maximize the value of the placement for both the student and the company.
Mentor companies typically pay interns approximately $10,000 during the summer internship for three months of work, although the exact amount is flexible.
Although certainly not limited to Stanford-related ventures, MFP is particularly pleased when companies with Stanford graduates seek to participate. Previous connections to Stanford provides additional ties to prospective students and our faculty.
Process and Timeline
Interested companies with the above characteristics place themselves in the pool of employers by filling out a short on-line application. Starting in April, students and employers are introduced to one another through a password-protected section of the MFP website. The selection process is in full swing by the month of May. At the sole discretion of the employers, offers are made to students during the spring, and students have generally accepted a job by early June. The company employs the student full-time during the summer (June to September). In the autumn quarter, employers participate from time to time in the E140C course as guest speakers or case participants. Part-time employment during the school year is possible but it is not an expectation of the program (and is not encouraged if it negatively impacts the student's academic progress).
Respect for Intellectual Property
In all aspects of the program, Stanford endeavors to protect the intellectual property of companies in a professional and rational manner. All class discussions are treated with extremely sensitivity to this issue. MFP's mission is to expose Stanford students to the entrepreneurial process in a variety of high technology ventures, not to put participating companies at risk.
Next Steps for Potential Employers
If interested in participating, please proceed directly to the MFP Employer Sign-Up Page (available April - June).
Question: What is the deadline to sign up to participate in the program?
Answer: There is no specific deadline for employers to sign up for the program. However, companies will generally want to sign up by April to make sure they are in the company database when the students start their coursework and begin looking for summer positions. However, companies are encouraged to sign up throughout the spring. In the past, many students have signed with companies that were not in the database at the beginning of the spring quarter. Generally speaking, companies can assume that all students have accepted positions by June of a given year. After June, companies should wait until the winter and sign up for the program for the following year.
Question: How do I sign up for the program?
Answer: Go to the Employer Sign Up Page (available April - June) and follow the instructions.
Question: After my company signs up for the program, how long until we get our student?
Answer: Companies that sign up for the program are not guaranteed to have students assigned to them. In fact, there is no assignment process. Students and employers interview each other and reach their own agreement. This process is facilitated by the Employer Database that is made available only to students in our program. The program staff are not involved in the process, other than to make sure that the company conforms to the specified criteria for participating companies.
Question: After I sign up my company for the program, when can we expect to hear whether or not we have been accepted?
Answer: When the sign up form is submitted, the information is passed to staff and placed in the Employer Database. If you have not heard back within 48 hours, you can assume that you have been accepted.
Question: Once I have signed up my company for the program, how do we start interviewing the students?
Answer: Students and companies are encouraged to contact one another directly. Companies that sign up after the start of April should assume that their information is immediately available to students, and may begin contacting students immediately.
Question: How can we tell which students are still interviewing and available for hire?
Answer: Companies should refer to the list of current Mayfield Fellows to see which students have already accepted positions for the coming summer.
Question: How many students will be accepted into the program?
Answer: There are fourteen students accepted into the program each academic year.
Question: How are the students compensated during the summer? Doesn't the Mayfield Fellows Program fund them?
Answer: Students do not receive funding either from Stanford or the MFP during the summer. Rather, companies that participate in the program should understand that they are responsible for paying students a competitive wage.
Question: What other expectations are there for companies who participate in the program?
Answer: In addition to adhering to the criteria listed above, companies should expect to participate in a number of MFP-sponsored activities during the summer and autumn. During the summer, students take E140B, involving evening sessions, and participate in various writing activities to record their summer experiences. Companies can also be expected to host one summer open house (more open house details) for the other students in the program. During the autumn quarter, employers participate from time to time in the E140C course as guest speakers or case participants.
Question: Where can I learn more about the program?
Answer: Call Tina Seelig, MFP co-director, at (650) 725-1627 or e-mail her at email@example.com.