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Spotlight on Pro Bono: Presidential Management Fellows Program (PMF)

Since 1977 the Presidential Management Fellows (PMF) Program has matched outstanding graduate students with exciting Federal opportunities. This program is a flagship leadership development program at the entry level for advanced degree candidates, which was created more than 3 decades ago by Executive Order and has evolved over the years to recruit and train outstanding men and women for Federal service.

The PMF Program is a two year appointment where you work directly for a Federal agency, which will provide you with a fast-paced opportunity to gain experience and develop your talents. In addition to working at a single Federal agency, you may have the option to participate in a rotational opportunity at another agency.

During the two year appointment, PMF’s receive 160 hours of classroom training on leadership, management, policy and other topics; challenging work assignments; feedback on your work; at least one 4-6 moth developmental assignment; potential for promotions and career ladders; and upon certification of completion, a possibility of immediate conversion to a permanent or term position. Many PMF’s have continued their Federal service, while the rest move to the private sector, academia and the nonprofit world.

The PMF program is open each year to graduate and professional students who will be receiving their qualifying degree by August 31st in the year after the application process or to students who have received a graduate or professional degree less than two years prior to the application.

The PMF Program accepts applications annually during the application window, which will be from October 1, 2014 until October 15, 2014 for the upcoming cycle. The application process is divided between an initial application and on-line assessment, and then, if selected as a semi-finalist, an in-person assessment in Washington, D.C.

The on-line assessment, which must be completed during the two-week application window, is an un-timed and un-proctored assessment consisting of three parts: a video-based situational judgment assessment; a questionnaire designed to assess specific work styles and work-related characteristics required for success and fit in the PMF Program, and essay questions that are collected during the application process, but factored into the in-person assessment.

If selected as a PMF semi-finalist, you will complete an in-person assessment, which is a half-day immersion experience that puts semi-finalists through a series of group and individual exercises designed to simulate “the day in the life” of a PMF. The in-person assessment includes three components: a group exercise, behavioral interview and a written exercise to be completed on a computer. Semi-finalists will be timed, observed and evaluated by a panel of assessors in each in-person exercise.

If you are selected as a Finalist after the in-person assessment, you are then eligible to be appointed to a PMF appointment in a participating agency. The Finalist status expires 12 months after the date Finalists are officially announced. To be eligible for placement as a Fellow with a participating Federal agency, Finalists must complete all graduate degree requirements by August 31st of the year following the application period or earlier to start a PMF appointment. Becoming a Finalist does not guarantee placement with a participating Federal agency.

During the 2014 application, over 9,000 applicants applied and approximately 600 Finalists were selected. Over the past few years, an average of 50% of Finalists obtain appointments as Fellows as this is a highly competitive program.

Many notable figures received their start in the PMF Program including:

  1. Kenneth S. Apfel—13th U.S. Commissioner of Social Security
  2. Barbara Favola—State Senator for the State of Virginia
  3. Kyle Foggo—Former Executive Director of the Central Intelligence Agency
  4. Colleen Hartman—Deputy Director at NASA for the Goddard Space Flight Center
  5. Brendan Kyle Hatcher—American Diplomat
  6. Besty Markey—Former U.S. Representative from Colorado’s 4th District
  7. Jeff Merkley—U.S. Senator from Oregon
  8. Sean O’Keefe—Chairman and CEO of EADS North America, former Chancellor of Louisiana State university and Administrator of NASA
  9. Anne C. Richard—Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees, and Migration at the United States Department of State
  10. Dan Tangherlini—Administrator of General Services Administration
  11. Will Tiao—Actor and television writer

For more information on the PMF Program and how to apply, please come to the PMF Program Informational Session on Monday, September 22nd at 1:00 p.m. in room 109, where Mizzou Law Alum and former Fellow, Amber Cheek, ’12, will help guide students through the application, interview and fellowship process. You should also visit for more information. If you are unable to go to the informational session, but would like more information, please see Jennifer Riedy in the Career Development Office.

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