ISB YLP (Young Leaders Program) has an unsual format. While the regular PGP program at ISB Hyderabad & Mohali requires a minimum of 2 years work experience, the ISB YLP programs opens its doors to freshers (i.e. those with no work experience). But it is not a short cut for the selected applicants. All it offers is a guaranteed seat in the regular PGP batch after a couple of years. In this post we evaluate the ISB YLP, probably the best MBA option for freshers that considers GMAT scores, as opposed to CAT percentile for admissions.
Securing a place in any top educational institution (whether it is engineering, medical or any other professional degree) can be an ordeal. You either get in or you don’t. And when you do, there’s an expiry date on the seat offer. Following in the footsteps of the HBS 2+2 MBA program, ISB YLP is hoping to tweak the rules a little.
The ISB YLP program offers applicants a chance to gain one of the best MBA programs in India from a reputed well-respected brand. Students can apply while still in college (before completing undergrad) so that they can secure a guaranteed place for an MBA. This can come as a relief to those who would prefer to have a clearly defined idea about how their career or MBA goals would shape up.
This program has commenced recently and is aimed for fresh graduates who are selected from diverse educational backgrounds. Once they’re in, they have to attend four intensive weekend sessions spread across six months gap. Students get mentoring and guidance from experts that helps them transition smoothly from student life to a competitive professional environment. It develops their leadership skills and provides them with a well-grounded base so that they are able to identify their career goals.
The students get a chance to interact with peers from diverse backgrounds as well as other students and alumni. They are thus thoroughly prepared to face the ISB PGP program two years later. During these two years, students need to have worked for at least one year nine months to move on to the ISB PGP. Students would be required to do job-hunting on their own. After completion of work experience, once they join the ISB PGP program, they would be part of the regular ISB PGP class.
Students need to qualify for the ISB YLP on the basis of their academic record and extracurricular achievements. Students need to apply for this program by mid-March deadline while they are in their pre-final year of graduation which means that students need to be working on their application side by side along with their studies.
The shortlisted ones who are invited for stage 2 need to have their GMAT scores ready in addition to essays and evaluations. The final short-listed candidates have to attend an interview on the ISB campus on the basis of which the final selection would be done. By October, students have their admission offers in hand while they’re still in their final year. So even before students have their degrees in hand, they have an admission offer already waiting.
Each of the ISB YLP admits would be awarded a scholarship of INR one lakh. These students can also apply for the other regular ISB PGP scholarships.
A program similar to ISB YLP is already being offered by Harvard Business School (HBS). We discuss more on the Harvard 2+2 program in another post (you’ll find the link below). A lot of students tend to confuse these programs with the dual MBA programs. However both are very much different. ISB YLP will offer an MBA degree and you’ll have close to two years of pre-MBA work experience at the end of it.
Opinions vary. Some students may first wish to concentrate on their undergraduate stream, work for some time and then decide on whether an MBA is really required or not. In addition to Indian B-schools, candidates may consider international options as well. However if students have ISB on their wish-list and have made up their mind on an MBA and can spare time for working on their application while studying, they can perhaps give it a try by applying to this program.
You can’t have your cake and eat it too, right? There’s got to be some downside as well.
There are. For starters you need to shell out a significant amount of money (Rs, 50,000) to lock in your seat. And another 2 lakhs to be paid in a few years. This is the advance fee, which gets adjusted against the total tuition fee later.
If you are the ambitious type, you may get the feeling that you got in too easily (without experience) while other experienced applicants who apply through the regular application cycle have to really slog it out.
Which may also bring up the question – “Can I do better? If I can get an admit from ISB with zero experience (and join after 2 years), then why shouldn’t I apply to international programs in a few years and earn a much higher post-MBA salary?”
If you decide to try for greener pastures, you lose the advance that you’ve paid so far.
So, which way do you go? Well, it depends on which side of the fence you are on. For many, having a solid brand like ISB in their pockets even before they’ve started their careers is a huge relief. For others, it can give rise to a situation that’s called buyer’s remorse in marketing jargon.
Think about which side you are on, and then decide if the YLP is right for you.
Read these related articles:
– Is the HBS Harvard 2+2 program right for Indian students?
– Early career MBA: Is it right for you?