About the program
Russian Business Leaders (RBL) is a FREE program for young Russians engaged in business leadership positions to gain exposure to work in the US private sector. Selected finalists will participate in professionally-relevant, tailored four-week fellowships at a wide-variety of US businesses and non-profit organizations, university business departments, accelerators, and other related institutes and enterprises focused on building businesses. The program will conclude with a dynamic four-day closing program in Washington, D.C., that includes a leadership certificate program at Georgetown University.
RBL will provide participants with an array of modern business tools, concepts, and principles that will strengthen their leadership and technical abilities through interactive and personalized projects, as well as build enduring professional relationships between Americans and Russians who share an interest in driving economic development forward. RBL is designed to allow Russian business leaders to share their experience with American colleagues, learn more about the United States, and build ties that will benefit business and cultural relations between the US and Russia. Many finalists will also have the opportunity to live with an American family and invite an American colleague back to Russia to explore prospects for joint business projects.
Finalists are selected through an open, merit-based competition. RBL pays for flights and all living expenses while on the program. The program is being paid by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, which is part of the US Government. More information can be found on the US Embassy website: http://russian.moscow.usembassy.gov/exchanges-professional.html#RBL
To provide young business leaders with the skills, knowledge, and inspiration to foster entrepreneurship, engage in new forms of innovation, strengthen leadership abilities, stimulate economic growth and development in Russia, and establish productive ties with American society.
Create partnerships between companies and young entrepreneurs in the United States and Russia.
To be eligible for the Russian Business Leaders program, applicants must:
- Be a citizen and current resident of Russia. Applicants living outside Russia or on a long term program outside Russia will not be considered eligible to apply;
- Be born on/after October 15, 1989 and no later than October 15, 1995;
- Be proficient in English;
- Have two years of relevant experience in and commitment to a career in business. Relevant fields of business include entrepreneurship, innovation, social entrepreneurship, large corporations;
- Have demonstrated business leadership skills and experience.
University degree is strongly encouraged.
Individuals in the following circumstances are NOT eligible to apply to participate as fellows in the Russian Business Leaders program:
- U.S. citizens and permanent residents of the United States
- Individuals currently participating in academic, training, research programs, or who are currently working in the United States
- Individuals who have already been recipients of and participated in the Russian Business Leaders program
- Individuals currently residing or working outside Russia
- Individuals who have participated in an exchange visitor program sponsored or funded by the U.S. government (e.g., Public Affairs Sections at U.S. embassies or other U.S. government agency) and who have not fulfilled their two-year home residency requirement by the time of the application
- Individuals who have applied for U.S. permanent residency in the past three years
- Persons arrested for, charged with, or convicted of a crime as further detailed by the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs
How to apply
We do NOT accept applications by email. In order to apply for the program, please go to https://ais.americancouncils.org/RussianBusinessLeaders
You will need to create a new account (username and password), complete and submit your online application. In addition to the online application, you must submit the following application materials online to be considered for the program:
- Your resume or CV in English
- High quality digital copies of your international and domestic passports.
- Three candid photos of you that show your personality and interests, which may be shared with possible host families
- A signed copy of the Participant Terms and Conditions Agreement
- A passport-style photo (this photo may be shared with potential host family, worksite and published in orientation and closing program books)
Your application must also include 2 letters of reference. Applications without reference letters will not be considered. These letters must be submitted online. Applicants may not submit letters on their own behalf.
We do NOT accept applications by email.
In order to apply for the program, please go to:
We will match Fellows with worksites in the US. While Fellows may express a preference early in the process for a particular type of site, please note that American Councils has final say over all sites and Fellows may not choose their own sites. Fellows will be placed in a variety of organizations (businesses or organization, institutions, universities) that focus on start-ups or entrepreneurship or building a business so regardless of what particular background Fellows have, they will be able to learn about starting/growing a business and see US best business practices. All fellows will also attend a professional development course at Georgetown University and will receive certificates.
If this is your only occupation, then your chances of being selected are low. However, you can consider applying for a different program – Professional Fellows Program (Russia Innovation and Entrepreneurship cohort) that is intended for specialists aged 25-35 working in innovation and entrepreneurship support, development and policy. More information can be found at http://professionalfellows.americancouncils.org/
The RBL program is intended for specialists aged 22-27 working in the private sector (for-profit companies, business, entrepreneurship, large corporations, social entrepreneurship, innovation, and able to demonstrate leadership in their field.
If you are selected as a finalist, the RBL program will cover all costs associated with your international travel, visa, and basic living costs in the US. There are no required costs to Fellows.
Fellows are selected through an open, merit-based competitive nationwide search that involves an extensive online application and interviews in English.
Strong upper-intermediate skills are a must. All fellows are expected to actively participate in daily activities that involve speaking, listening, writing and reading in English and won’t be provided with interpreters.
No, you don’t. However, if you have a valid TOEFL/IELTS score, you can indicate that in the online application.
All Fellows will need to receive J-1 visas- nonimmigrant visas for individuals approved to participate in exchange visitor programs in the United States. Fellows may not participate on their tourist/business visas and will need to obtain a J-1 visa. All visa fees will be covered through the program as well as travel to the visa interview. However, the granting of a US J-1 visa is a requirement for the program, and if you are rejected for a visa by the Consular section at the embassy you will not be eligible to participate. The RBL program can assist fellows in the application process, but holds no sway over visa granting decisions made by the Embassy
Working a job other than your internship is prohibited. Participation in the RBL program carries an obligation for holding a full-time internship in a US organization that focuses on start-ups, entrepreneurship, building a business. As J-1 visa holders, participants are not permitted to be otherwise engaged in any form of employment while in the United States.
Where possible,RBL Fellows are housed with American host families who welcome Fellows into their homes on a volunteer basis and without remuneration. If for whatever reason it is not possible to secure a host family, we will arrange a hotel/apartment accommodation and will cover all expenses.
No, you will need to fulfill the two-year home residence rule before you can participate in the RBL program.
The age requirement is very strict so you can’t participate if you are not aged 22-27 at the time of application. Unfortunately, no exceptions.
Yes, the RBL program will organize a pre-departure orientation where Fellows will learn more about the program, its goals, parameters and logistics as well as will have an opportunity to talk to the program alumni.
You can contact our RBL team at RBL@americancouncils.org
You can follow us on facebook (https://www.facebook.com/RussianBusinessLeaders), vkontakte (http://vk.com/russianbusinessleaders) and twitter(@RBL2016)
You can apply for the program at https://ais.americancouncils.org/RussianBusinessLeaders
You will need to create an account (username and password). All emails you receive from the application website will be sent from email@example.com. Please add this email address to your address book/safe list/approved senders list to help prevent messages from being blocked as spam or junk mail. We do NOT accept applications sent by email.
In addition to the online application, you must submit the following application materials to be considered for this program:
• Your resume or CV in English
• A high quality digital copy of your international passport.
• Three candid photos of you that show your personality and interests, which may be shared with possible host families
• A signed copy of the Participant Terms and Conditions Agreement
• A passport-style photo (this photo may be shared with potential host family, worksite and published in orientation and closing program books)
Yes, you can. If you do not have an international passport, then please provide a high quality digital copy of your domestic passport. We also strongly encourage you to apply for an international passport as soon as you are selected as a semi-finalist.
Your application must include two (2) letters of reference. Applications without reference letters will not be considered. These letters must be submitted online. An eligible reference includes colleagues, advisers, supervisors, and other professionals who are familiar with your professional abilities. Applicants may not submit letters on their own behalf. In Section 5 of your online application, please provide your two (2) references’ names and email addresses. Press the “Request Recommendation” button for each of your recommenders to send the request by email. They should receive the emails with a secure link to our confidential online reference form within one hour. Confirm with your recommenders that they received these email messages and can access their online forms. Your references must then use that link to complete and submit their letters online. Be sure to inform your recommenders to expect this email message. It will be sent from “firstname.lastname@example.org”. Such emails are often misdirected to a spam or junk mail box. Inform your recommenders of this possibility.
The online reference form is also available in Russian so your recommender will be able to read questions and enter information in the Russian language.
It is not necessary to complete your online form in one sitting. To continue later, press the “Save Changes” button that can be found at the bottom of any page, and then log out of the system. You can then log in at any time thereafter until the form deadline to complete your form. To save your work at any time, press the “Save Changes” button that can be found at the bottom of any page. It is a good idea to regularly save your work while completing the form to ensure that none of your work is lost in the event you lose your Internet connection, your computer is accidentally shut down, etc.
22) I don’t know where I will be placed in the US – how should I approach the 3rd essay question? (“If you were offered the opportunity to invite your U.S. supervisor to your home region for two weeks and to develop a mutually beneficial realistic project on business development between your U.S. hosts and your home region, what project would you develop? Please describe the field, possible local partners, goals, activities, and any other details.”)
While on the program, each Fellow will have an opportunity to submit an application to host his US supervisor/colleague/mentor in his/her hometown. Fellows and U.S. participants will be competitively selected. At the time when you initially apply for the program, try to think about a hypothetical project with an “ideal” US supervisor- this project should aim at benefiting your community/region and be realistic. Think about potential goals, partners and activities. Be creative!
While there is not strict definition of “business leadership,” the selection committee is looking for individuals who have demonstrated initiative and leadership within their business activities. There are many ways to demonstrate this, and some examples include starting one’s own business, significantly contributing to a company’s growth or success, starting or growing an organization or association that has influenced the business sector of Russia’s economy. There are many other possibilities – if you are a business leader, you need to demonstrate this to the committee
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