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St. Gallen Wings of Excellence Essay Competition Award 2017

Deadline: Deadline: Always Open01-Feb-2017
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AwardSwiss Franc (CHF) 20,000
EligibilityGraduation, post graduation and above
Scholarship provider contact details

St. Gallen Symposium, Dufourstrasse 83, P.O. Box 1045, 9001 St. Gallen, Switzerland, Phone: +41712272020, Fax +41712272030, Email:

What is St. Gallen Wings of Excellence Essay Competition Award 2017?

St. Gallen Wings of Excellence invites students for Essay Competition Award 2017 to share the thoughts, ideas and visions, to write an essay on any topic in not more than 2100 words. The winner will get the chance to debate with 600 top global leaders and decision makers. The cash prize of amount 20,000 CHF (Swiss Franc) will be distributed among three winners and a recognization.

Your essay must be a professional, creative and thought-provoking containing the answer to this question:

Breaking the status quo; what's your disruptive idea? The notion of disruption captures today’s innovation zeitgeist. Nowadays, it seems everyone claims to be a disruptor - particularly young people with an entrepreneurial mindset. Let’s think beyond disruptive innovation in management and look at disruption more generally as something that breaks the status quo – be it in business, politics, science, or society. Pick one of these four fields you are most passionate about, identify a problem of greater magnitude and come up with a disruptive idea to solve it. Your idea must aspire to inspire top-notch leaders worldwide. Do not free ride on the buzzword “disruption” but rather be bold and develop a truly novel and radical concept to win our prestigious award.

Who can apply for this scholarship ?

  • Must be enrolled in a graduation or post graduation program in any field of study.
  • Age must be 30 years or less i.e born in 1987 or later
  • Copy of passport or other identification (in English for non-Roman languages).
  • Confirmation of enrolment in a graduate/postgraduate level programme as of 1 February 2017.

How can you apply ?

The application can be done online with the following steps:

Step 1: Write your email id and a password to create the account.

Step 2: A page will open, write down your personal details and contact details there.

Step 3: Write down about the award and the title of your essay.

Step 4: Write down the essay in about 2100 words (maximum) bibliography and abstract not included, size of the uploaded file must not be more than 100 MB. The essay must be in doc, docx, rtf, pdf format.

Step 5: Make sure the file does not contains the author's name in any way.

Step 6: Upload your valid id proof such as passport, national citizenship I'd card, driver's licences, students I'd card (must contain your name, date of birth, photograph, nationality).

Step 7: Accept the terms and conditions and submit.


Q. Who can compete for a participation as a Leader of Tomorrow at the St. Gallen Symposium?
Students enrolled at a regular university, who are matriculated in a graduate or postgraduate programme.

Q. How can I become a member of the Support Crew or the ISC Team?
The Support Crew and the International Students’ Committee are only open to students of the University of St. Gallen. If this applies to you, further information can be found here.

Q. What is the St. Gallen Wings of Excellence Award? 
The St. Gallen Wings of Excellence Award is a global student essay competition, offering students who study at the graduate or postgraduate level around the world the opportunity to apply for participation at the St. Gallen Symposium. Further information can be found here.

Q.What is the Knowledge Pool?
The Knowledge Pool is a group of Leaders of Tomorrow with a strong affiliation to topics of relevance to the St. Gallen Symposium. They show outstanding track records in the particular fields they work or study. They are hand-selected by the International Students' Committee. It is not possible to apply for membership in the Knowledge Pool.

Q. How much does it cost to participate? 
The participation in the symposium is free for all Leaders of Tomorrow. Moreover, expenses for travel, board and lodging are covered by the ISC. However, they recommend bringing a small amount of pocket money for your convenience.

Q. Who is eligible for the 47th St. Gallen Symposium?
Students enrolled at a regular university, who are matriculated in a graduate or postgraduate programme as of 1 February 2017, from any field of study, born in 1987 or later. 

Q. What is a “regular university”?
In the context of the St. Gallen Wings of Excellence Award, a regular university is defined as an institution of higher education that also conducts research and offers at least one PhD programme. Exceptions are possible and are granted on a case-by-case basis.

Q. Can Bachelor students participate?
Unfortunately, students on bachelor level do not fulfil the eligibility criteria and therefore cannot enter the competition. There is no other way to apply for participation and they, therefore, encourage all students to join the competition once they pursue their studies at graduate level. You may, however, be eligible if the level of study in your current year is equivalent to an international graduate-level which must be confirmed in writing by your university.

Q. Can teams participate?
Only individual submissions are allowed as we can only grant participation to one contender per contribution.

Q. How long should the contribution be? 
The maximum amount of words is 2100 (excluding bibliography or graph descriptions and the like). There is no minimum word count. Please make sure to state the exact word count in your document. Also keep in mind that you must not state your name in the contribution. 

Q. Do I have to quote my sources?
All sources must be quoted and all essays are scanned for plagiarism. You must refer each source to the respective text passage. Please note that plagiarism is a serious offence and that we reserve the right to take further steps in case of deliberate fraud. Self-plagiarism will also result in disqualification, as the work has to be written exclusively for the St. Gallen Wings of Excellence Award.

Q. What file formats are accepted?
Please make sure to hand in your essay in either a doc, docx or pdf format. The document must allow copying the text easily (no document protections). 

Q. What documents do I need to submit?
In addition to your contribution, make sure to upload 

  • a copy of your passport (or any other official government ID but no driver’s license) to verify your age
  • a confirmation of matriculation from your university confirming your graduate or postgraduate student status as of February 2017
  • a short abstract (200–300 words) which can be entered in the registration form directly in the applicable field of the registration form.

Q. What happens after I submitted my application?
The ISC will verify your eligibility and check all submitted documents for completeness and readability. Due to a lot of essays, our response times might take some time, so thank you for your patience. If the jury selects your essay in the top 100, you qualify as a Leader of Tomorrow for an expenses-covered participation in the 47th St. Gallen Symposium (3–5 May 2017). The results will be announced via e-mail by mid-March 2017. You qualify as a semi-finalist to compete for the prestigious St. Gallen Wings of Excellence Award 2017 if the jury selects your essay for the top 20. You will be asked mid-March to pitch the essence of your essay in a 3-minute video presentation. The jury selects you as a finalist if your essay and your video presentation make it in the top 6. You will be invited to present and defend your idea on the big stage of the 47th St. Gallen Symposium. The award is endowed with a total prize money of CHF 20,000.

Q. Who’s in the jury?
The Award Jury consists of leading executives, journalists and professors from all around the world. The Academic Jury is composed of young top academics from the University of St. Gallen and the ETH Zurich.

Q. When will the results be announced?
The jury’s decision will be announced by mid-March the latest.

Q. How do the travel arrangements work?
The organizing committee will get in touch with you prior to the symposium to discuss your itinerary and to book your travel.

Q. Can the organising committee help me get a visa?
All Leaders of Tomorrow are self-responsible to get a visa. However, we will inform the applicable Swiss embassy about the invitation and will provide you with the necessary documents. Should a problem arise anyway, we are happy to help. Expenses for visa application are borne by the Leaders of Tomorrow themselves.

Q. Where am I accommodated during the symposium?
All Leaders of Tomorrow are accommodated at private student flats across the city. Please give us an early notice should you have any special requirements (e.g. female flatmates only).

Q. What transport is provided?
 They book flights or train tickets and provide shuttle service from and to the airport. Furthermore, all Leaders of Tomorrow receive a free ticket for the public transport in St. Gallen during the week of the symposium.

Q. How much money do I need? 
 They recommend bringing some pocket money (CHF 100–200) for your convenience. Please note that depending on your time of arrival and departure, some meals might not be covered.

Q. Can disabled people participate as well? 
Yes, of course. Most of the symposium sites are wheelchair-accessible and they are more than happy to help where they can. Although their ability to provide personal assistance is very limited, they do their best to provide the necessary services.

Q. Is there any touristic programme and do I have time for sightseeing?
During the symposium, there will be no time for sightseeing. However, we may offer selected touristic programmes a day before or after the symposium. These days can, of course, also be used for individual sightseeing. Nearby sites include the old town of St. Gallen, the lake Constance and the mountain Säntis.

Q. Can I extend my stay in Switzerland?
Yes, upon request they can move your return flight to a date of your choice. If the new flight is more expensive, they may ask you to cover the price difference. Please note that they are unable to provide any services such as accommodation or transportation after the end of the symposium week.

Q. Can I bring a spouse?
Unfortunately, they cannot provide any services such as travel, room, board or symposium access to any additional person.

Terms and Conditions

All commitments will be assessed by criteria by a free jury made out of professors, corporate officials and business visionaries. The creators of the best 100 commitments qualify as Leaders of Tomorrow will be welcomed by the ISC to the following St. Gallen Symposium. You qualify as a semi-finalist to vie for the prestigious honor 2017 if your article makes it in the top 20. You will be asked by mid-March the most recent to pitch the substance of your exposition in a 3-minute video presentation. Based upon the nature of both the exposition and the video pitch, the jury chooses the six finalists who will compete for the award against each other on the symposium’s big stage. The honor will be given to those finalists who demonstrate the absolute best exhibitions both on the essay and on the stage in St. Gallen.

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