Essay Competition


»»» Register and apply here! «««


Seize your opportunity. 

Compete for the St. Gallen Wings of Excellence Award and qualify for participation as a «Leader of Tomorrow» in the world’s premier opportunity for intergenerational debates: The St. Gallen Symposium. 

  • Join the debate with 600 top global leaders and decision makers
  • Share your thoughts, ideas and visions with the global elite
  • Expenses for travel, board and lodging covered, travel service provided
  • Meet 200 of the world’s brightest young minds
  • Small and intimate gatherings with world leaders, exclusively for the Leaders of Tomorrow
  • CHF 20,000.– prize money shared by the three winners
  • Broad media coverage
  • Become member of a truly unique and strong global community

Qualify with an excellent essay.

Your essay must answer the following 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 the 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.

We expect a professional, creative and thought-provoking essay. Be bold and unconventional! The following criteria must be met:

 Form Essay (max. 2,100 words)
 Language English
 Deadline 1 February 2017, 11:59 p.m. last time zone (UTC-12)
 Anonymity Your name must not be mentioned anywhere in the contribution file
 Individuality Individual work expected, no group work allowed. The essay must be written exclusively for this contest
 Citation All sources must be cited and referred to the respective part in the essay

Check your eligibility and prepare documents.

To be eligible, you must fulfil all of the following criteria:

  • Enrolled in a graduate or postgraduate program (master level or higher) in any field of study at a regular university
  • Born in 1987 or later

Make sure you can provide the following documents:

  • Copy of passport or other identification (in English for non-Roman languages)
  • Confirmation of matriculation/enrolment from your university which proves your enrollment in a graduate/postgraduate level programme as of 1 February 2017 (download sample document here)
  • Your contribution file with no indication of your name in the file name, the file metadata or the file itself

Impress the Jury. 

All contributions will be evaluated according to specific criteria by an independent jury composed of professors, corporate executives and entrepreneurs. The authors of the best 100 contributions qualify as Leaders of Tomorrow and will be invited by the ISC to the next St. Gallen Symposium. You qualify as a semi-finalist to compete for the prestigious award 2017 if your essay makes it in the top 20. You will be asked by mid-March the very latest to pitch the essence of your essay in a 3-minute video presentation. Based upon the quality of both the essay and the video pitch, the jury selects the six finalists who will compete for the award against each other on the symposium’s big stage. The award will be bestowed to those finalists who show the very best performances both on the essay and on the stage in St. Gallen.

Apply for the competition and compete.

Take the following steps to maximise your chance of qualifying as a "Leader of Tomorrow" for the 47th St. Gallen Symposium (click here if the login does not display properly):


Meet the finalists 2016

The ISC proudly presents the semi-finalists of the St. Gallen Wings of Excellence Award 2016.

> finalists 2016


Meet this and previous year's winners and read their contributions.

> see the winners