YLP – Young Leaders Program

Indian School of Business (ISB) essay analysis for ISB YLP (Young Leaders Program)

Young Leaders Program (YLP) is designed for undergraduate students in their pre-final or final year of study. 

YLP Application Deadline:

Stage-1 (Round-1): October 22, 2023

Stage-2 (Round-2): March 31, 2024

Stage-1 Essay: Mention one challenging situation that you have faced in your life till now. How has it transformed you as a person? (300 words max).

The essay title is very clear in terms of its expectations. What is required is significant contemplation and self-reflection. While relatively recent instances would be preferable, there should be no shying away from going as far back as your childhood, if the corresponding instance is impactful.

The challenging situation that you mention, could span across your personal or academic experiences. The challenges could be the challenges in your undergrad entrance preparation, challenges at home due to family’s financial constraints, challenges in school with keeping up your grades, challenges in college with your room-mate, challenges in a college society to keep up the motivation levels of the team, or challenges with a study-group mates who believes in being a freeloader.

As important as it is to narrate the challenge, it is equally important to highlight the lessons learnt.

As is aptly said:

The only real failure is our inability or unwillingness to learn from the challenges.

Stage-2 Essay: What is the ideal career which you always wanted to pursue? Do you still want to pursue the same or has it changed? How do you plan to make your ideal career a reality? (300 words max)

So, what passion do you want to turn into your profession?

Essay Tip #1
Treat essays no differently from critical reasoning: There should be a logical flow of ideas and coherent cause and effects. Statements loosely "hanging in the air" disrupt the flow of the entire essay.
Essay Tip # 2
Even if you are not seeking professional editing services for your essays, make sure you send across your essays to at least two people, whose judgment and expedience you trust. Essentially it is important to get an Independent third-party view of your essays.
Essay Tip # 3
Applicants should be wary of mentioning philanthropic activities or stipulate ambitions of Entrepreneurship, just in the hope of winning favor with Admissions committee. Unless you have a strong case to make, such claims actually have a reverse effect, making your entire application weak.

As a YLP candidate, you are most probably pursuing your graduation. Through this essay, ISB wants to know your career aspirations. Aspirations evolve over time, but by this time, you should have some idea about your interests. Accordingly, the school expects that through your extra-curricular or academics, you should have taken some steps towards furthering those interests.

For instance, for a candidate currently pursuing Bachelors in Business Administration (BBA), Finance may be an area of interest. If that’s the case, the candidate could have chosen electives in Finance, during BBA; additionally, the candidate could have participated in case-study competitions in Finance, or could have done some online courses in Finance outside of the regular coursework, or could be an active participant in the Finance Club in one’s college. All these efforts that the candidate has taken towards nurturing the interest, need to be highlighted in the essay.

Since you are applying to YLP,, you would have to work for 2 years after your college, before you join ISB. Hence, the essay should also mention what’s your plan in those 2-years. That plan should again be related to your career aspirations. For instance, if you are depicting your career aspiration as ‘Equity Analyst’, it would be completely out of place to mention that you would be joining an IT services firm after your college.

A very common mistake that students commit in this essay is that they deviate from the topic. For instance, if a candidate has done significant voluntary work in a social-service organization, the candidate believes that mentioning the voluntary work in the essay will help get brownie-points. However, mentioning the voluntary work in the would make make sense only if you are stating areas such as impact consulting or social-sector consulting as a career goal. It doesn’t take much to appreciate that for a candidate who aspires to become (say) a Marketing manager, voluntary work adds very little, if anything, to nurture skills in Marketing.

Lastly, it is imperative that you mention how ISB will further catalyze/expedite the process of achievement of your career goals. The specific courses offered in ISB, the pedagogy, the cohort diversity, the clubs, and the culture are some of the aspects that can be highlighted in this regard.



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YLP Stage 1 Deadline: 22 Oct’23