MBA Applications

How Did A Fresher Achieve His ISB YLP Dream? And how you can do it too!


Are you a college student who is in the pre-final or final year of the undergraduate or postgraduate degree course looking to pursue an MBA? If you think that you need to gain several years of work experience before you apply to ISB’s MBA program, you are in for a surprise! The ISB YLP or Young Leaders Program is an early entry option that allows freshers to secure a seat in ISB’s Postgraduate Programme in Management.

While the B-school can give you information on the application process, there is nothing better than getting to know about the admission process from someone who has gone through the entire process, right? That is exactly what you can find in this article – Samyak Bardia, an ISB YLP admit will share his application, interview, and admission experience with you.

Here’s what you can expect to understand in the upcoming sections in this blog:

Who is Samyak Bardia?

Samyak graduated with a Bachelor in Business Administration degree (BBA) from St. Xavier’s College, Kolkata, in 2019. During his BBA, he interned with Kotak Mahindra Bank and PwC India. Currently, he is working as a Marketing Executive at YourDost.

Every journey will have a different beginning; Samyak’s YLP journey started with Facebook.

1. How did Samyak learn about the ISB’s YLP?

Just like you all, Samyak wanted to pursue his master’s degree after he completed his undergraduate program. His initial plan was to go abroad and enroll in master’s degree courses in Ireland and Australia. But he knew the importance of work experience, and he wanted to gain some real-world experience before joining a master’s degree program.

It is during his time in college that he came across an advertisement on Facebook about the ISB YLP. He found the program very interesting. Once he went and researched about YLP, Samyak knew that the program would definitely benefit him.

Also read: 8 Reasons to do your Masters Abroad

Here is how the ISB YLP helped him tremendously.

The YLP helped Samyak secure his seat at one of India’s top B-schools and thereby, gave him the flexibility to experiment and choose to work at an emotional wellness coaching center – YourDost.


The YLP allows students like you and Samyak to gain 20 months of work experience in any field of choice. It is not mandatory to work at a corporate. The YLP allows students like you and Samyak to gain 20 months of work experience in any field of choice. During these 20 months, it is not mandatory to work at a corporate. This time should be used to work on areas where you have an interest- dance, music etc. Whatever you can choose. The purpose of this is to help you understand yourself and develop your interests.

Now that we understood why Samyak chose the ISB YLP, let us learn more about his application journey at ISB.

2. What is the application process at the ISB for the YLP?

Sharing his view as a student, Samyak mentioned that the application process was comprehensive with three rounds.

The three stages in ISB YLP’s application process are:







According to Samyak, Stage 1 of the ISB YLP admission process is crucial. Given that this is the first stage of the admission process, the B-school receives numerous profiles and applications. For the same reason, this becomes the stage in which ISB eliminates several candidates.

Samyak mentioned that Stage 1 has several requirements- submitting academic certificates, filling out various internship and volunteer experience, citing the awards and recognitions received, writing about one’s hobby, and of course, the essay section.

The hobby section, according to Samyak, is crucial as it helps bring diversity into the classroom. He urges the YLP aspirants to be creative when writing about their hobbies so that their application stands apart from others.

In the next section, Samyak discusses the importance of the application essays.

3. How did Samyak approach the application essays?


Samyak’s essay question was “Tell us more about yourself.”

This question presented him the opportunity to dive deeper into his life and share instances which showcase his personality, his leadership skills and how he managed a crisis.

He started by sharing a story about an experience where he was in crisis. He mentioned that there was an event in his college that was about to be canceled. However, he showcased his leadership skills and successfully utilized his team’s resources to pull off a successful event.

Looking back, Samyak mentioned that the essay in Stage 1 was relatively more straightforward compared to the essay question in Stage 2.

Samyak’s Stage 2 essay question was- “Tell us an incident where you unlearned something about yourself.”

This question presented a lot of challenges to Samyak as he wanted to submit a story that impressed the ISB panelists yet was believable at the same time. Here, Samyak had to do a lot of introspection as he had to choose a compelling story.

Samyak also mentioned other vital aspects of Stage 2, which were:

-The evaluation
-GMAT score

The evaluation is a recommendation letter. Samyak mentioned that aspirants should choose an evaluator who was their supervisor at work or a teacher from their college. He also mentioned that aspirants should choose a person who has worked with them.

Also read: How to Pick the Right MBA Recommenders

For his evaluation, Samyak chose his project guide who was also his Marketing professor in college. Since they had a good rapport, he decided to go ahead and choose him as his evaluator.

Regarding the GMAT score, Samyak appeared for his GMAT exam twice. In his first attempt, he scored 690, and in his second attempt, he managed to score 710. This is a good score considering the average GMAT score for ISB is 709.

Now that we have covered Stage 1 and Stage 2 of the application process, let us look at Stage 3.

4. What happens once you complete Stage 2 of ISB YLP’s application process?


Stage 3 was the interview process. Samyak mentioned that the interview process had two objectives:

– First, to understand if the aspirant is a good fit for ISB
– Second, to check whether every information provided by the aspirant is true

He stated that the interview was very informal. He was asked to speak about himself so that the interviewers could analyze whether he will be a good fit for ISB.

Also read: How to Succeed in MBA Interviews? Here are 5 tips!

Regarding his preparation for the interview for the ISB YLP, Samyak mentioned that he used two strategies:

– First, he went through a lot of online forums to find the FAQs and then, he prepared his answers
– Second, he scrutinized his application to get more stories and build cohesion with his stories, and his application

Another interesting aspect of the interview process at ISB is that each aspirant is paired with interviewers who match their profile.

For example, Samyak’s interviewers were also from the start-up community, where one was the founder of four start-ups, and the other was the Head of Operations of a famous start-up.

Speaking about the B-school, Samyak mentioned that with the world-class faculty of ISB, he will be able to learn from the best and develop a keen understanding of the various business aspects. He also mentioned that ISB would offer him the platform to interact with peers from diverse backgrounds, which would expose him to different perspectives. thereby gain a broader perspective. Also, he would interact with peers from diverse backgrounds, which would expose him to different perspectives.

Thankfully his interview went well, and Samyak was happy to receive his admission into the ISB YLP.

Also read: How to Succeed in MBA Interviews? Here are 5 tips!

5. How does Samyak think that a candidate will benefit from the ISB YLP

Samyak mentioned that he wishes to focus on either Consulting or Product Management roles post his MBA.

Are you someone who would like to get into these job roles post your MBA?

He stated that several recruiters at ISB also focus on these roles, meaning that Samyak would have a greater chance of securing his dream job role after his MBA.

He also stated that, on average, 40% of the jobs offered are either in Consulting or Product Management. Since he always had nurtured a dream of pursuing a career in either of these professions, he felt that the ISB YLP would be a good fit.

Speaking specifically about ISB, Samyak mentioned that with the world-class faculty of ISB, he will be able to learn from the best and thereby gain a broader perspective. Also, he would interact with peers from diverse backgrounds, which would expose him to different perspectives.

Finally, we are at the end of the blog.

We hope this blog helped you understand the Indian School of Business and the ISB YLP in detail. We hope Samyak’s experiences also help you make wiser decisions if you wish to pursue the YLP.

Also read: ISB YLP: The Guide for Every Fresher’s MBA Dreams!

If you wish to know more about GMAT preparations in 2021 and the MBA applications, you can check our Youtube channel.

Additionally, if you specifically need help with your MBA application Interview prep, reach out to us, and we will be happy to help. Click on the image below for further information on the MBA Interview Prep process.

Want To Make Your MBA Dream A Reality 

Want To Make Your MBA Dream A Reality


What GMAT score do students have who secure admission at ISB?

There is no set criterion for GMAT score as ISB looks at your entire profile to shortlist and select you for their programs. ISB looks at five aspects of its PGP program.

These are:

– Academic score
– Work experience
– Essays
– Letter of recommendation
– GMAT score

For the ISB YLP, the parameters are:

– Academic score
– Extra-curricular activities
– Essays
– Letter of recommendation
– GMAT score

Aspirants who wish to appear for the YLP need to have a slightly higher GMAT or GRE score as these students will not have work experience. You can aim for a GMAT score higher than 670 to have a chance at ISB.

Is this program for experienced professionals?

No, this program is for students with no work experience in their pre-final or final college year. Experienced professionals can directly apply for the PGP program.

Is there a cut-off for YLP in Stage 1?

There is no cut-off across any parameter. Stage 1 looks at a student’s motivation and suitability for the program. Then comes the academic score, an essay that checks the student’s articulation and motivation. These parameters become the basis for selecting a student for Stage 2 of the admission process.

Other than the GMAT score, how can I improve my application?

Students need clarity to understand how they can improve their profile by clarifying their motivation for pursuing this course and what they wish to achieve in the future. Students need clarity on why they want to pursue an MBA from ISB with the YLP.

Also read: How to Improve your MBA Profile

Since my exams have been postponed for COVID, can I submit my results after submitting my application?

Kindly email your concerns at

How many ISB YLP admits are there?

There are a total of 200 admits. With 100 admits to prefinal year students and 100 admit to final year students.

How important is it to have work experience from well-established firms?

ISB focuses on your potential rather than your experience. If you have any experience, you can mention them, which will earn you some brownie points. But they do not have a more significant impact on your application.

Also read: 6 Traits B-Schools Look For In Applicants

Do I need to submit all the certificates of my achievement?

Whatever achievement that student mentions in their application, they need to carry those certificates after gaining admission at ISB.

What is the acceptance rate percentage-wise?

No B-schools will share their acceptance rate, but the YLP is much less competitive.