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International Development Consulting Project Travel Fund

The Tamer Center for Social Enterprise provides financial support to Columbia MBA students who complete international development consulting projects involving travel outside the United States during intersession periods. The International Development Consulting Project (IDCP) Travel Fund partially covers airfare costs incurred as part of the consulting project. Projects initiated by non-governmental organizations (NGOs), public, and nonprofit organizations will be given preference over startup ventures and companies.

The IDCP Travel Fund provides partial support for air travel only for teams of three or four students, based on the country where the project takes place (see reimbursement grid). "Business" and "First" class airline tickets will not be reimbursed. This is a strict maximum — for airfares where the ticket cost is greater than the amount listed in the reimbursement grid, the difference must be covered by the student or client. Air ticket costs and other out of pocket expenses should be considered when selecting the project. The IDCP Fund does not cover any other expenses including accommodation, food, visas, insurance, vaccinations, phone calls, taxis, and other materials costs. The equivalent value of a ticket purchased with frequent flyer miles or points cannot be reimbursed.


To be considered for travel support, you must be enrolled in the Columbia MBA or EMBA program and have completed at least one semester of courses at the Business School at the time of travel. Students may work individually or in teams. Teams may include non-Columbia MBA students, but those students will not be eligible for financial support. In addition, travel outside of the United States must take place during the Business School's intersession periods (including winter and spring break), as shown on the School's academic calendar.

The IDCP Travel Fund does not cover travel expenses incurred as part of a summer internship. Please see if you are eligible for the Summer Fellowship Program.

The IDCP Travel Fund does not cover travel that occurs after the student has graduated, even if the project commenced while the team member was a student.

Pangea Management team members are ineligible for travel support unless approval from the managing director of the Tamer Center for Social Enterprise is given prior to project teams and clients being notified of staffing decisions.

It is recommended that student teams find a Columbia Business School faculty advisor for their project.

Three Cairns Fellows are not eligible to apply for the travel fund.

Students should not ask faculty or Academic Affairs to miss/record classes, or move exams or request exam makeups to accommodate extra-curricular activities, including travel for projects. Projects are subject to the School's Honor Code and the School's Academic Policies.

Columbia University's International Travel Planning Policy requires all student team members to register international trips through the University’s global travel portal. The Columbia University Global Travel site also provides important travel alerts, logistics information, and other resources for international travelers. In addition, travel to high-risk destinations should be vetted through the Tamer Center for Social Enterprise and may require approval from the Dean's Office at Columbia Business School. Please note that risk categorizations may change quickly because of pandemic and other country or global risk factors. Travel may be cancelled in cases in which the project team’s safety is at imminent risk. The Dean’s Office retains the right to prevent student travel to any location deemed unsafe, and is able to do so up until the day of travel. In these cases, students will be reimbursed for non-refundable travel expenses (air ticket, hotel, visa) incurred.

If your travel is prevented because you fail to obtain a visa, you will not be reimbursed for the ticket price. If there is uncertainty over obtaining a visa, students might wish to purchase a partially refundable or changeable ticket. Additionally, change fees for ticket prices can only be added to your reimbursement form if it is caused by security, safety, or personal health issues, and requires approval from the Tamer Center for Social Enterprise. However, these fees will not change the maximum reimbursement amount for that country. Any student who is concerned about budgetary issues should carefully consider the region of travel when applying for projects.


Selection is based on the quality and relevance of project analysis and tasks to the MBA skillset, and available funding given the number of students requesting support. In addition, preference will be given to projects initiated or organized by non-governmental organizations (NGOs), public, and nonprofit organizations.

MBA project team leaders seeking support for their team should contact the Tamer Center for Social Enterprise as early as possible, and before making travel arrangements for the project. Prior to travel, students (including teams staffed on Pangea Advisors projects) must demonstrate progress and provide the following information (teams leaders should upload this information to the Projects Wiki):

  1. Project description: one page that contains an organization and/or client description, contact details for the project supervisor, project scope, analysis and deliverables.
  2. Team member resumes.
  3. Finalized Statement of Work or detailed letter of engagement from the client and/or organizing institution: email correspondence with the client showing agreement on a "Statement of Work." This should contain project scope, work streams/workplan, deliverables, timeline with key dates and milestones and any other relevant details.
  4. Intended dates of travel and list of who will be traveling (see "Documentation" below).
  5. Spreadsheet indicating the total budget for the trip for all team members who plan to travel. Categories may include: air travel, ground travel, accommodation, food, and other sources of funding provided by the client and/or other supporting organizations.

Student team leaders will be notified about the status of their application prior to traveling if the project has been selected for support with the IDCP Travel Fund.

Before Booking Travel

Once you have received approval from your advisor and the Tamer Center for Social Enterprise, please be sure to complete the following before booking travel:

  1. Check the reimbursement grid and contact the Tamer Center if you have questions on the amount reimbursable.
  2. Review Columbia University International Travel Planning Policy and review up to date International Travel Restrictions. Follow CU Global Travel processes according to the designated risk category for your destination.
    - All students traveling for Columbia travel are covered under the student health insurance policy.
    - All travelers must be vaccinated and boosted if eligible — those who have received exemptions are not permitted to travel with Columbia at this time.
  3. Register your trip with International SOS using “MyTrips.” If you are new to using MyTrips you will need to register as a new user. Follow directions on the MyTrips page to register your trip.
  4. Complete and sign the Risk Waiver and Release Participant form that Columbia Global Travel will send to you after reviewing your itinerary.
  5. If specified due to ISOS risk assessment, wait for Dean's Office approval before booking travel.


After completion of travel, and in order to receive funds from the Tamer Center for Social Enterprise, the following is required by June 1 (no reimbursements for projects in the prior academic year will be processed after this deadline). Please read this section carefully before you travel, as incorrect paperwork significantly delays processing of payments. Team leaders should ensure that all team members who travel submit their expenses at the same time.

  1. Check to see that your banking information in SSOL is up to date and that your account is set up to receive direct deposit.

  2. Create a single Google drive or Dropbox folder with all files described below for your team. Missing information from one person's expense paperwork will delay payments for the whole team.

  3. Fill out the post-travel checklist listing every member of your team requesting reimbursement and a short project description.

  4. For each team member, provide a single (aggregated) PDF file showing airfare expenses in chronological order. ALL of the following items are required:

    - Payment receipts
    - Copy of the airline travel itinerary (e.g., email booking confirmation), including price paid and boarding passes
    - Credit card statement showing the student's name and relevant charges

    Expenses without receipts will not be reimbursed.

    Expenses in a foreign currency that were not paid by credit card should be converted into USD using the currency rate on the relevant date(s) from

    Only the person who actually paid for the airline ticket can be reimbursed. If you pay for yourself and another team member, only you can be reimbursed for both tickets. Please indicate charges clearly on your credit/debit card statement and itinerary. This is acceptable, as long as your cumulative expenses are less than the allowable maximum for the number of team members you paid for.

    All flights and cities shown on the itinerary should be directly related to the project. Stopovers and flights to locations not related to the project (e.g., your home city, US cities other than New York) should not increase the cost of your ticket. If you travel to other locations, or depart from or arrive at locations not related to the project, you must deduct the cost of that flight AND provide comparable return ticket cost information to show that your ticket price did not increase compared to a return flight departing from/arriving in New York. If a team member traveled on a flight without stopovers to unrelated locations and their ticket cost is lower than a comparable ticket you provide, the lower ticket price will be used as a basis for reimbursement.
  5. Project summary (1-page) with description of the organization, outline of project scope and objectives, and the outcome and experience for both the client as well as the student(s). For an example project summary, click here, and more examples are provided on the Projects Wiki. Also complete a Project Survey if this was requested for your team.

  6. Any project photos for School publications and donor reporting. Photos should be of the team, client, or project location and illustrate the subject matter of the project. A guide to taking good photos and instructions on where to upload photos are provided on the Projects Wiki.

  7. An electronic copy of the final report, presentation, or other deliverables provided to the client. Students should contact the Tamer Center for Social Enterprise if deliverables contain sensitive or confidential information to discuss what information should be submitted. A copy that can be shared with future teams should be uploaded to the Projects Wiki.

Please send your team’s Google folder or Dropbox link to us and set up a time to discuss your project and transport documentation. If you have any further questions, please contact the Tamer Center for Social Enterprise in Geffen 676 at [email protected].