The Young Leaders Programme at the Indian School of Business for students aspiring to join the flagship post-graduate programme in management after gaining work experience has grown in popularity.
When it was introduced in 2011, the programme constituted 2 per cent of the post-graduate class; today it is almost 10-12 per cent of the class which has an average size of around 900 each year, according to Dibyendu Bose, Director, Admissions, at the Indian School of Business (ISB). What’s more, the Class of 2020 consists of those who scored 96-98 per cent in the CAT but nonetheless proceeded to complete the mandatory 20 month work experience after they were selected.
ISB started the Young Leaders Programme as a deferred admission option for prospective candidates when in their pre-final or final year of engineering and non-engineering under-graduate or post-graduate studies. They can secure future admission while in college and join the programme on the scheduled year - or even seek a deferral to carry on with the mandatory work experience.
Just as the one-year flagship programme places work experience at the centre of class room learning, these students put a premium on being part of a classroom that comprises people who have years of experience from diverse fields.
this allows them to gain practical insights from fellow students who have already applied their knowledge and acquired skills while dealing with real life situations in management or business. About one third (296 out of the total strength of 889) of the students come with up to 3 years’ work experience. The current class has 343 students with 3-5 years’ work experience, 213 with 5-8, and 37 with 8 or more years of work experience.
According to Bose, the ISB allots Young Leaders Programme students in each section of the class in the same ratio. Once they join the class, they are all a part of the programme, with no differentiation whatsoever.
For those who join it straight after taking a break from work, the impact they were able to make on their work and the career promotions they received from the company during that period, also become part of the evaluation of their application for selection, in addition to college grades and GRE and GMAT scores.
“This focus on the holistic profile of people and the work experience aspect is what drew me to the programme. The Learning Weekends (when experts across domains mentor and counsel students, steering them towards the right career moves) provide a glimpse into ISB life and let you understand what business school gives you even before you join the programme,” said Sanjay Nayar, a student of the Class of 2020.
Sancheta Kalra, also a Class of 2020 student who got admission through the Young Leaders Programme, said she was honing her skills and knowledge as it was a given that only those at the top of their game could survive in the highly competitive corporate world.
Those who got selected for the post-graduate programme in advance by using the Young Leaders Programme window, mostly keep their interest intact, according to Bose.
“Given that only high calibre applicants will be made Young Leader offers, it is expected that they will have multiple options coming their way in the mandatory work period. However, ISB has a high yield rate and remains a preferred option. Students generally join the programme in the scheduled year or take a deferral for a year,” said Bose.
After the post-graduate programme, almost 60 per cent of the class moves into a new industry or new function or both. The FT Global MBA 2019 rankings rates ISB as third globally in terms of salary increases, when calculated three years from graduation.
The diversity in the background of students has also been increasing. For instance, the Class of 2020 is split into 64 per cent engineers and 36 per cent non-engineers.