SBI | YOUTH FOR INDIA
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Frequently Asked Questions

For any additional queries on the program, please refer to the commonly asked questions.

I. ABOUT THE FELLOWSHIP

WHO ARE WE LOOKING FOR?
  • A highly motivated graduate/bachelor's degree holder from any discipline or stream
  • Aged between 21 and 32 as on the date of commencement of the programme
  • Indian citizen/OCI Candidate
  • A team player with a proactive approach and strong leadership skills
  • People-oriented as you will be interacting with rural communities constantly
  • Willing to commit to a 13-month long rural fellowship programme and adapt to life in challenging rural conditions
WHY HAS SBI LAUNCHED THIS PROGRAMME?

SBI has always believed and worked towards the progress of the country. Through the SBI YFI Fellowship, we are investing in the future of the nation. On one hand, we are trying to create leaders of tomorrow and on the other hand, we are making a much-needed difference in rural India. To learn more, continue reading.

WHAT’S THE AIM OF THE SBI YFI FELLOWSHIP PROGRAMME?

SBI Youth for India is a rural fellowship programme initiated by the State Bank of India, funded and managed by the SBI Foundation in partnership with reputed NGOs. It seeks to address rural India's most pressing problems by:

  • Providing educated Indian youth with an opportunity to touch lives and create positive change at the grass root level in rural India.
  • Providing NGOs working on development projects in rural India with educated manpower whose skill sets can be used to catalyze rural development.
  • Promoting a forum for the Programme alumni to share ideas and contribute to rural development throughout their professional life.
WHY IS IT ESSENTIAL TO LIVE IN RURAL INDIA?

Living in rural areas not only takes you closer to the complexity of the issues plaguing rural India but also to the rural community. It equips you with an ability to see the world from their point of view, which ensures that the solutions you come up with are practical, feasible and sustainable.

HOW WILL THE PROGRAMME BENEFIT ME PROFESSIONALLY?
  • The programme is about addressing and challenging rural problems which will train you to think innovatively, act proactively, exhibit leadership qualities and acquire management skills.
  • You will gain hands-on experience of rural markets, their linkages and an insight into the mind of the rural consumer and what comprises the "bottom of the pyramid".
  • This combination of knowledge and skills will be highly valued by several organizations in India and will be of relevance in any career that you choose to pursue thereafter.
Can I have professional or academic engagements along with the fellowship?

As this is a grassroots-based opportunity with a specific focus on closely interacting and engaging with communities, the Fellowship requires you to stay in the project location for the entire programme duration. The dynamic nature of grassroots work which goes beyond the expectations of a typical job opportunity also restricts the scope for any other part-time engagements during the fellowship. In the past, our alumni have opted for a sabbatical from their organizations and re-joined post the completion of the fellowship. Hence, in order to make your stint successful and to make your efforts count, it is advised that you give your complete attention to the Fellowship.

WHAT DOES A CANDIDATE RECEIVE AFTER COMPLETION OF FELLOWSHIP?
  • On successful completion, the Fellow receives a readjustment allowance of Rs. 50,000 and a certificate of completion from SBI Foundation
  • Our Fellows also gain access to a vibrant ecosystem comprising our Alumni, partners and other relevant organizations in the social sector. This ecosystem can be leveraged to explore opportunities or other meaningful engagements/collaborations.
WHO IS ELIGIBLE TO APPLY FOR THE FELLOWSHIP?

The candidate should:

  • be an Indian citizen, or an Overseas Citizen of India (OCI).
  • be between 21 and 32 years on the day of commencement of the program, i.e., you must have been born not earlier than 2nd August 1989 and not later than 1st October 2000.
  • have completed at least a Bachelor's degree before the commencement of the program

Note to OCI Candidates: In case you don’t possess an OCI card currently, please visit the website of the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India for OCI registration. As the process takes at least 1-3 months, we recommend that you apply for it as soon as you initiate your Fellowship application

II. APPLICATION

IS THERE A PROCESS OF SUBMITTING THE APPLICATION OTHER THAN THROUGH THE ONLINE PROCESS?

No, applications can be submitted online only.

WHY SHOULD I APPLY AT THE EARLIEST?

Shortlisted candidates are notified on an ongoing basis during the application period. We continuously engage with shortlisted applicants over an online forum to get to know them better as well as to clarify their doubts about the Fellowship. The earlier you apply, the more you will be able to interact with us and you really don’t want to miss that!

IS THERE ANY TIME CONSTRAINTS IN FILLING THE FORM?

If and when a candidate is cleared for Phase 2 of the Application Process,  the Online Assessment should be completed and submitted within 10 days of receiving the invitation for Online Assessment.  
 
During the Online Assessment Phase, the candidate may choose to save their submission and logout, if required. The details will remain saved when the candidate resumes their submission. This phase does not involve any section with specific time constraints

I AM NOT IN INDIA PRESENTLY, BUT I AM INTERESTED IN THE FELLOWSHIP. CAN I INTERVIEW VIRTUALLY?

On successful short-listing for Phase 3 of the Application Process- Selection Board Interview, candidates may write to us at Applications@youthforindia.org. We will try to accommodate their request

DO I NEED SOME SPECIFIC EXPERIENCE TO CONTRIBUTE EFFECTIVELY?

SBI Youth for India offers a fair and equal opportunity to candidates from diverse streams and disciplines. Apart from the eligibility criteria, we do not require you to have a specific degree or experience. Regardless of your specific professional/academic background, if you are passionate about making a difference at the grassroot level, you will most certainly be able to find an opportunity to contribute in your own capacity. Our Fellows have successfully facilitated projects on a wide range of domains despite hailing from diverse backgrounds.

WHAT ARE THE PROFILES OF SBI YOUTH FOR INDIA FELLOWS?

In terms of work experience, Youth for India fellows have previously worked in a range of sectors including information technology, education, infrastructure, non-profit, healthcare, and others. Corporates such as the Tata Group, Capgemini, E&Y and MindTree have given their employees a sabbatical to join the fellowship. For more details, refer to the section on Fellow Profiles.

WHAT IS THE RECOMMENDATION SECTION IN STAGE-2 (ONLINE ASSESSMENT) OF THE APPLICATION FORM?

For the Recommendation Section in Stage 2 (Online Assessment) of the Application Process. Please note: 

  • The Recommendation section is mandatory and the candidate will have to fill the details of two recommenders - an Academic Recommendation (from your professor, Head of Department, etc.) and a Professional Recommendation (from your former boss/ supervisor, colleague, mentor, advisor, business/ project partner, ex- SBI YFI Fellows etc).  

  • In case of a fresher, we will accept a recommender from any organization you have previously interned or volunteered as your professional recommendation. We don't accept recommendations from family members or friends. 

  • Once the Online Assessment is submitted, a recommendation form link via email is triggered automatically to your recommenders. Kindly follow-up with your recommenders and ensure they send us the filled forms at the earliest. 

  • Please ensure that your recommenders are in a position to promptly respond to communication over email or phone. Once submitted, you will not be able to change the contact details of any of your recommenders.

WHAT IS THE PROCESS FOR SUBMITTING THE APPLICATION FOR SBI YOUTH FOR INDIA?

The Process for submitting the application is as follows:

Stage-1 (Preliminary Application)

Applicants can begin the first stage of the application process by sharing a few basic details in the preliminary application form. In this stage, the candidates are required to share their basic details like professional background, academic details, etc.

Stage-2 (Online Assessment)

Upon the completion of the first stage, the selected applicant will be invited for the Online Assessment Stage, where they will be required to answer in-depth essay questions, which will give us a glimpse into the applicant’s world-views, perceptions and overall approach towards the fellowship.

Stage-3 (Personality Assessment and Interview)

To understand certain attitudinal aspects of the potential candidates, they will be required to take the personality assessment test. Post successful completion of this test, the candidates will be invited for the final interview for an interaction with a Selection Board.

Learn more about the Application Process through this short video

WHAT IS THE LAST DATE FOR SUBMITTING THE APPLICATION FORM?

The last date to apply for the Batch of 2021-22 was 30th April 2021, and it has passed. Please stay tuned on our social media pages to get the latest updates regarding the next batch.

ARE THERE ANY TIME CONSTRAINTS IN FILLING THE FORM?

For Stage-1 (Preliminary Application) -

The Preliminary Application typically takes between 10-15 minutes to complete. Hence, applicants may plan accordingly. As the Stage-1 would be open for a limited period of time, applicants are advised to initiate the process at the earliest.

For Stage-2 (Online Assessment) -

If and when a candidate is cleared for Stage 2 of the Application Process, the Online Assessment should be completed and submitted within 10 days of receiving the invitation for Online Assessment. During the Online Assessment Stage, the candidate may choose to save their submission and logout, if required. The details will remain saved when the candidate resumes their submission. This Stage does not involve any section with specific time constraints.

CAN I APPEAR FOR THE INTERVIEW VIRTUALLY ?

As part of the application process for the 2021-22 batch, the interviews for candidates who have been shortlisted for Stage-3 shall be conducted through a virtual platform. OCI candidates can also appear for the interviews virtually, however the orientation program will require every selected Fellow’s physical presence

III. POST SELECTION

WHAT SHOULD I DO TO PREPARE FOR BEING A FELLOW?

Post selection, you will have access to further material about the programmes of our partner NGOs. You will research, read and familiarize yourself with these to be able to decide on your preferred programme area and partner NGO. Any doubts, questions, suggestions can be clarified and discussed with the partner NGOs, other fellows as well as our alumni. As the fellowship is physically challenging, maintaining good health and high fitness levels are advised.

HOW WILL I BE EQUIPPED TO ADDRESS THE DEVELOPMENTAL CHALLENGES IN A VILLAGE?

The programme begins with a carefully designed orientation and training programme which includes both classroom sessions and field visits. Thereafter, you will be sent to a rural location to work on a project. For the entire duration of the project, a mentor from the partner NGO will ensure that you can successfully address the challenges you may face. There will also be 2 periodic review workshops to provide you with the necessary guidance and support. During the course of the Fellowship, a dedicated team member from SBI YFI shall be available to Fellows to extend support and offer guidance.

HOW WILL THE NGO PARTNER I WILL WORK WITH, BE DECIDED?

Based on a combination of your interests, skill sets and the needs of the partner NGOs for their various projects.

IS THIRTEEN MONTHS ENOUGH FOR FELLOWS TO SOLVE AGE-OLD PROBLEMS?

The fellowship provides fellows with a platform to focus their efforts effectively. However, rural problems are complex and sustained effort and time are required to bring about visible change. Some projects can bring about tangible change in a year, others not so much. Few of our past fellows, through small steps, have been able to sow the seeds of change. From past experience, we find that those who picked up and continued work on projects of previous Fellows have been able to achieve remarkable results. You can read about the ongoing projects in the Projects section. Similarly, it is observed that projects that were aligned with the community needs and vision of the NGO have been carried forward post the Fellows leaves the location. The thirteenth month also ensures an overlap with the forthcoming batch to facilitate smooth transition and handover of projects.

WHAT IF WISH TO CONTINUE IN THE FIELD AFTER THE FELLOWSHIP PERIOD?

The Fellowship cannot be extended by SBI. However, interested fellows can try to work out an arrangement with the partner NGO, to continue to work on mutually agreed terms beyond the fellowship. A number of our alumni have done so.

WHAT WILL I BE PROVIDED ON COMPLETION OF THE FELLOWSHIP?

The Fellowship will conclude with a valediction and award of a Certificate of completion.

WHAT OPTIONS WILL BE OPEN TO ME AFTER THE FELLOWSHIP?

Apart from the jobs or positions that you previously might have held, the fellowship opens up a host of new avenues for you. You can choose to:

 

  • Continue working with NGOs or organisations in the sphere of public policy, planning, research and advocacy.
  • Become a social entrepreneur.
  • Return to the corporate world and leverage the insights you have gained to influence perceptions and policy and develop products and services suited to rural markets.

 

Post fellowship, SBI YFI continues to support fellows through mentorship, guidance, recommendation and referrals.

WHAT PREPARATIONS SHOULD I DO TO BECOME A FELLOW?

Post selection, the candidates will gain access to resources touching upon the various aspects of the fellowship program. You will research and familiarize yourself with these resources to be able to decide on your preferred programme areas. Any doubts, questions, suggestions can be clarified and discussed with the partner NGOs, other fellows as well as our alumni. As the fellowship is physically challenging, maintaining good health and a high fitness level is advised.

HOW WILL THE NGO PARTNER THAT I WILL WORK WITH, BE DECIDED ?

Based on a combination of your interests, skill sets and the needs of the partner NGOs for their various projects.

WHAT IF I WISH TO CONTINUE TO WORK IN THE FIELD AFTER THE FELLOWSHIP COMPLETES ?

The Fellowship cannot be extended by SBI. However, interested fellows can try to work out an arrangement with the partner NGO, to continue to work on mutually agreed terms beyond the fellowship. A number of our alumni have done so. Post the completion of the Fellowship, our Fellows also gain access to a vibrant ecosystem comprising our Alumni, partners and other relevant organizations in the social sector. This ecosystem can also be leveraged to explore meaningful engagements/collaborations.

WHAT CAREER OPTIONS DO I HAVE POST THE FELLOWSHIP ?

Apart from the jobs or positions that you previously might have held, the fellowship opens up a host of new avenues for you. You can choose to:

  • pursue leadership roles with NGOs or organisations in the sphere of public policy, implementation, research and advocacy.
  • become a social entrepreneur.
  • return to the corporate world and leverage the insights you have gained to influence perceptions and policy and develop products and services suited to rural markets.

Post fellowship, SBI YFI continues to support fellows through mentorship, guidance, networking support and referrals.

IV. LIVING IN THE PROJECT LOCATION

WHAT KIND OF ASSISTANCE WILL I BE PROVIDED DURING THE PROGRAMME?

Financial Support:

  • A monthly allowance of 15000 INR for the duration of the programme to meet your living expenses.
  • A monthly allowance of 1000 INR for the duration of the programme to meet your transport expenses.
  • A readjustment allowance of 50000 INR upon successful completion of the Fellowship.
  • The cost of the return 3AC fare from your residence to the project site location as well as expenses incurred on travelling for training programmes.
  • You will be covered by a med claim policy.

Other Support:

  • You will be assisted by the local NGO staff to find suitable accommodation with safety in mind.
  • The partner NGO will also arrange for necessary medical attention when needed.
     
WHERE ARE THE PROJECT SITES LOCATED?

The projects will be located at Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Gujarat, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Meghalaya, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand, among others. To encourage our Fellows to explore Indian diversity and to also offer them the opportunity to work in a multicultural setting, we follow a strict "no home state" policy. The staff of our partner NGO present in the project locations shall facilitate the resolution of any potential concerns including the language and cultural barrier.

HOW MANY FELLOWS ARE POSTED PER LOCATION?

At least two fellows will be located at one project location.

WILL IT BE SAFE TO STAY IN A RURAL LOCATION?

Yes. Our partners are reputed and well-established NGOs with over two decades of work at the grassroot level with rural communities, which have earned them their goodwill. The location of your stay is decided keeping in mind your safety and security. Our partner NGOs have local networks to help during medical or other emergencies. However, it is advised to be aware, alert, align with local customs and closely follow the advice of your local NGO facilitator.

WHAT ARE THE CHALLENGES THAT I WILL FACE LIVING IN RURAL INDIA ?

Adapting to stay in rural India is an integral part of the learning experience. Basic stay, erratic mobile connectivity, poor power supply and unreliable internet facilities are some of the challenges faced by Fellows in the past which might help you to reduce your dependency on the props of modern living. You might not have ready access to a lot of shops and markets, although basic provisions will be available. Challenges vary based on the project location, and you can know more about them from the experiences of our alumni.

WHAT ARE THE CHALLENGES I WILL FACE LIVING IN RURAL INDIA?

Adapting to stay in rural India is an integral part of the learning experience. Erratic mobile connectivity, poor power supply and unreliable internet facilities might help you to reduce your dependency on the props of modern living. You might not have ready access to a lot of shops and markets, although basic provisions will be available. Challenges vary based on the project location, and you can know more about them from the experiences of our alumni.

WHAT WILL MY DAILY TASKS BE AS A FELLOW?

Daily tasks differ from fellow to fellow and project to project. After the orientation programme, you will be defining your project in terms of achievable milestones. Based on the requirements of your project, you may have to spend long hours attending meetings, interacting with the rural community, being a part of community activities and having to deal with an unpredictable work schedule.

WHICH ARE THE PROJECTS I CAN WORK ON?

The programme is not restricted to any specific area and offers you a wide variety of projects to choose from as well as the flexibility to design a feasible project of your own liking within the focus areas of the partner NGO's work. You can get more details in the Projects section. However, the projects in the Fellowship need to be necessarily in the form of an intervention attempting to bring about positive change and not simply administrative work, research work or surveys and assessments.

WHAT DID THE PAST FELLOWS DO AFTER THE FELLOWSHIP?

Post the successful completion of the Fellowship, the grassroots experience and the ecosystem support provided by SBI YFI enables our Alumni to pursue meaningful careers in the social sector.

Over 70% of our Alumni continue to contribute to the sector in various capacities across a wide range of organizations. Some of them include:

  • Leadership roles in the development sector - NGOs/CSRs/CBOs.
  • Closely working with Central/State Government/Panchayats etc.
  • Pursuing social entrepreneurship. (Over 30 Alumni have gone on to set up their own social enterprises/initiatives working on various domains.)
  • Pursuing Research/Higher Studies (Over 50 Alumni have pursued their higher studies/ doctoral research through premier institutions across the globe.)

A certain number of Fellows return to their previous job/sector with a renewed sense of purpose, empathy and leadership skills.

WHAT KIND OF ASSISTANCE WILL BE PROVIDED TO ME DURING THE PROGRAMME ?

Financial Support:

  • A monthly allowance of 15000 INR for the duration of the programme to meet your living expenses
  • A monthly allowance of 1000 INR for the duration of the programme to meet your transport expenses.
  • A readjustment allowance of 50000 INR upon successful completion of the Fellowship.
  • The cost of the return 3AC fare from your residence to the project site location as well as expenses incurred on travelling for training programmes.
  • You will be covered by a health and personal accident insurance policy.
  • Other Support:

  • You will be assisted by the local NGO staff to find suitable accommodation with safety in mind.
  • The partner NGO will also arrange for necessary medical attention when needed.
How many fellows can work/stay in one location ?

We aim to place at least 2-3 fellows in the vicinity of each other, however, it’s not necessary that the fellows end up staying in the same village/district. Depending on the nature of the project, and the need of the community, the final location will be determined.

WHAT WILL BE MY DAILY SCHEDULE/TASK ?

Tasks differ from fellow to fellow and project to project. After the orientation programme, you will be defining your project in terms of achievable milestones. Based on the requirements of your project, you may have to spend additional hours attending meetings, interacting with the rural community, being a part of community activities and having to deal with an unpredictable and dynamic work schedule.

WHAT ARE THE PROJECTS THAT I CAN WORK ON ?

The Fellowship offers the scope to identify community needs and accordingly conceptualize projects based on any of the 12 thematic program areas which lie within the focus areas of the partner NGOs. These 12 thematic program areas fall under the ambit of holistic rural development. Furthermore, the projects need not necessarily be focused on introducing a new product/service/initiative, it could also mean adding value to an existing project through the process and system improvement, process re-engineering, scale-up, marketing, exploring alternative approaches etc.

ARE THERE ANY MEASURES BEING TAKEN KEEPING IN MIND THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC ?

The SBI YFI team and our partner NGOs place utmost importance and priority on ensuring the safety of our Fellows. Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, our partner NGOs have worked towards putting in place safety measures and adhering to the guidelines provided by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India. By strictly adhering to the aforementioned guidelines, our Current Fellows (2020-21 Batch) as well as our recent Alumni (2019-20 Batch) have been able to successfully carry out their projects at their respective locations.

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