An Introduction to Orr Fellowship

November 23, 2019

* The majority of the following content was borrowed from various Orr Fellowship Marketing resources and compiled here to help readers achieve a comprehensive understanding of the program *

Orr Fellowship is a nonprofit organization created to match exceptional graduating college seniors with full­-time employment at dynamic, high performance Indianapolis area companies. Applicants for the program are carefully selected out of a pool of over 1,200 students with an acceptance rate of 6%.

The program provides two years of preeminent curriculum and operates under the mission of developing the next generation of business leaders and entrepreneurs. The four pillars of Orr Fellowship are:

  • Career – A full-time, salaried position
  • Curriculum – Continued learning, skill building, and professional development
  • Community – Vibrant peer network as well as robust alumni network
  • Commitment – Contributing to Orr’s growth as a program

Orr Fellowship began as a simple idea: attract new members to Indianapolis’ workforce and grow them into business leaders and entrepreneurs. The nonprofit was founded in 2002 by three executives at local crowd-sourced reviews company, Angie’s List.

The trio (Bill Oesterle, CEO; Scott Brenton, COO; and Angie Hicks, CMO) was searching for a creative solution to a common challenge: attracting and retaining talent into their company. Their idea quickly grew to include serving central Indiana by providing this service to other companies. There were eight Fellows and six companies in the first class.

Orr Fellowship was named after esteemed former Indiana Governor Robert D. Orr, for whom Oesterle worked in 1987 and for whom Hicks worked  in 1994. Governor Orr made economic development and education the cornerstones of his administration and was known for his dedication to making Indiana a better place for future generations.

Orr Fellowship is an organization guided by the Orr Board of Directors, an Executive Director, a Director of Programming & Engagement, but is mostly self-run by Fellows themselves. Fellows are able to have a hand in everything internally and make a difference immediately.

Orr Fellow Leadership Team (FLT) is comprised of peer-elected leaders of eight teams: Chief of Staff, Civic Engagement, Curriculum, Infrastructure & Technology, Fellow & Alumni Engagement, Finance, Marketing, and Recruitment. All current Fellows serve on one or more of these teams to achieve Orr’s goals and gain valuable experience.

Fellow Expectations

  1. Deliver high-quality work and a positive attitude at his/her company.
  2. Actively participate in Fellowship recruitment activities to attract top seniors.
  3. Represent Orr Fellowship well in the community through service, promotion, and conduct.
  4. Actively engage in Orr Fellowship offerings, with a priority on mandatory events.


  1. A full-time salaried position with a dynamic company. Fellows are matched with high-performing companies in Central Indiana. Fellows have the opportunity to explore their interests at their companies while gaining valuable work experience in a business environment.
  2. Continued learning, skill building, and professional development. Fellows participate in curriculum designed to develop skills vital to the spirit of entrepreneurship and business leadership. For example, design thinking training, entrepreneurial law series, personal finance workshops, personality assessments, and more.
  3. An extensive peer and alumni network. The Orr Fellowship alumni network base spans more than 15 years; current Fellows have access to alumni who started, formed and led companies across Indianapolis.
  4. Top-level executive access and 1:1 professional career coaching. Through events such as monthly Business Leader Speaker Series, Fellows have multiple opportunities to network with and learn from leading forces in the community. Fellows also receive personalized 1:1 professional career coaching.
  5. A focus on business leadership and entrepreneurship. Orr Fellowship hosts pitch and case competitions throughout the year. Additionally, philanthropic initiatives, such as Launchpad (facilitating entrepreneurship-based curriculum to middle school students), and non-profit consulting help.
  6. Immersion into Indianapolis culture and opportunities for civic engagement. Part of living life as an Orr Fellow is becoming immersed in Indianapolis. Fellows find themselves engaging in the vibrant city via local music and art festivals, volunteer opportunities, the food scene, and professional sporting events.

Orr Fellowship recruitment is a highly competitive process that lasts approximately four months (Aug-Nov). There are six major stages applicants must go through in order to become a Fellow:

  • Application – Submit an online application which consists of a resume drop and a brief questionnaire
  • Phone Screen – Answer a series of questions designed to help Fellows understand each candidate’s interest in the program
  • fORRum – Attend an invitation-only event to get face-time with current Orr Fellows and to ask questions about the program
  • Board Member Interview – Upon application review and fORRum, select applicants are invited to interview with current Orr Board members or an Orr staff member
  • Reception on the Circle – Following interviews, select applicants attend Reception on the Circle to interact with all current Fellows, Orr Board members, and Orr staff. Applicants are required to submit an updated resume, a short essay, and a personal statement to be considered for a spot on Finalist Day
  • Finalist Day – Select applicants are invited to participate in an all-day event interviewing with four or five companies. Shortly after Finalist Day, candidates are notified if they have received an offer from a company and are thus accepted into Orr Fellowship

Want to learn more? Check out some of the following links!

Fellowship Curriculum:

  • Workshops
  • Skills Enhancement
  • Professional Development
  • Speaker Series
  • Case Competition
  • Pitch Competition

Civic Engagement:

  • Launchpad
  • Nonprofit Consulting
  • Volunteer Events

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