> Sage Corps

Is An International Internship Program That Sends Students To Work With Startups. We’re Building The Next Gen Global Workforce

In 2003, Matt Meltzer graduated summa cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania. He thought employers would line up to hire him. He was wrong. With zero job offers, Matt flew down to South America with a backpack.

After living and working in Buenos Aires for one year, Matt returned to Chicago for law school. After graduating, he went on to develop a litigation practice representing Latin American companies at Kirkland & Ellis LLP, one of the most prestigious law firms in the world. Matt’s “investment” abroad had paid off.

Ten years later Matt made the life-changing decision to leave his career in law and founded Sage Corps. He knew that in a global economy, we need a globally-trained workforce. But each year, less than 2% of college students go abroad, and of those, only .1% have global work experience.

Sage Corps sends college students to intern abroad at startups while developing valuable skills for trending jobs. All students first spend 50+ hours completing hard skill training modules as part of our Online Skills Academy. Next, they intern at global startups where they gain real world experience, either in-person with a cohort or remotely from home. Assigned Sage Corps program managers work with each student individually during the program. They support students through the initial application, travel preparations, resume review and matching with a host startup, and in-country arrival where they meet our local team to complete a 2-day orientation before their internship begins.

During our programs, students work at host startups and attend professional events to immerse them into the local startup community, led by local Sage Corps staff. After completing our program, students join a talented alumni community who accepts full-time positions at some of the world’s top companies and startups. 93% of our alumni land full-time jobs within three months of graduation from college.

Sage Corps interns apply for our programs from universities all over the U.S. Our Chicago-area partners DePaul University, University of Illinois, and Illinois Institute of Technology connect us with local students who want to work abroad. And through our membership at 1871 Sage Corps brings emerging young talent from across the U.S. to work with Chicago startups each summer.

“I learned how to learn...I did not have many technical skills coming in, which is pretty intimidating in the start-up world. But, I had so many other things to offer — analytical, writing, and adaptability skills to name a few things. Now, all that was left was to mold my two worlds together: the 1871 project-driven go-getters with the Middlebury, Vermonter intellects.”

- Zorica Radanovic, Middlebury College, Chicago alum

Amidst international travel lockdowns in 2020, Sage Corps launched end-to-end online programming. Even as travel has resumed, the remote internship program attracts students who want to gain global experience from home, whether due to financial or other logistical constraints. In our new “normal” hybrid work culture, remote experience becomes increasingly important for students to gain before graduation.

Alongside our new program models, we know funding is still a barrier to student participation. In addition to the partial scholarships and stipends from employers, Sage Corps has introduced a new Income Share Agreement initiative for college seniors and recent graduates. Students can participate in our program for a fraction of the price upfront, and then make further program repayments only if they land employment with a minimum income after graduation.

We get our name from the word sage [sāj], which means “having profound wisdom”, and corps [kohr], which means “a powerful community of people unified by common beliefs, goals, or actions”. Since starting with 5 students in 2013, Sage Corps now counts over 1,000 alumni who have participated in programs across five continents as we continue on our mission to train the next generation global workforce.

“When I got back from Argentina and was applying for full-time jobs in consulting, I stood out...I am not kidding when I say that I talked about Sage Corps in EVERY SINGLE INTERVIEW, and I will ultimately be working at PricewaterhouseCoopers Strategy in Chicago next year.”

- Maggie Edmunds, Rice University, Buenos Aires alum

SAGE CORPS

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