Aspire Impact & Virginia-Darden’s Online Summer School on Leadership, Community Work & Performing Arts for High School Students in India

Leadership involves much more than giving commands and making decisions. It also involves understanding what it feels like to be the one having decisions made for them.

Today information gathering is no sure path to success in the era of internet and Google. It is the blend of the left brain with creative, aesthetic, leadership skills, and the right brain with the logical, rational, and scientific skills that can ensure success and happiness in life.

While some students might exhibit entrepreneurial and leadership skills at a young age, we must remember that everyone can be trained to be a leader. It is academically proven that most leaders gain skills through learning. Corporations spend considerable time and money on training their high performing personnel as future leaders.

Doing volunteer work for social enterprises enables students to develop capabilities like leadership, team-working, problem-solving skills, and empathy for others. Young people with these traits tend to stand out among their peers. Read more about why students should develop leadership and social entrepreneurship skills in high school.

Enhanced Importance of Leadership & Community Work on College Admissions

Earlier several colleges have already made the tests optional due to Coronavirus. Recently, the University of California took it a step further. On May 21, 2020, the University of California announced that it will stop using SAT and ACT in college admissions.

The California system (which includes marquee schools like UC Berkeley, UCLA, and 8 other schools) is highly influential in the American higher education system. It hosts 300,000 students and 6 of its campuses are in the top 10 in the US. So, it’s very likely that other universities might also follow the suit.

So, for the freshmen applicants (targeting college admissions in Fall 2021 and following years), leadership and community work will be even more important now on.

There are many summer programs on leadership. In this post, we will highlight the LeadershipPro summer program, jointly offered by Aspire Impact and Darden Business School (University of Virginia, US) – one of the best online summer programs for high school students in 2020.

LeadershipPro: Online Summer Program

Joint Certificate Programs by Aspire Impact and Darden Business School, University of Virginia

Aspire’s LeadershipPro has been running since 2012. The program helps students develop as successful leaders by using text-based Socratic Dialogues, developing decision-making skills using business school-styled Case Studies, nurturing them through their preferred style of learning by providing multiple pedagogies-

  • Soft Skills
  • Communication Skills (Writing & Oratory)
  • Dramatics
  • Film-Making
  • Community Service (eligible for CAS points for IB students)

The Aspire Impact summer program aims to fill the gap in India with a globally-benchmarked two-week program, worthy of a mention in their CVs, especially due to a leading partnership with Giving Voice to Values Program at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business.

Program Content & Curriculum

The 40-hour program (4 hours each day) will consist of the following:Online-Summer-School-2020-Leadership-Performing-Arts-Community-Work

  • Socratic Dialogue: 8 hours
  • Case Studies: 4 hours
  • Writing Skills (Pyramid Principle): 3 hours
  • Oratory: 3 hours
  • Soft Skills: 6 hours
  • Dramatics for a Cause: 4 hours (Eligible for CAS Points)
  • Film-Making for Purpose: 4 hours (Eligible for CAS Points)
  • Guest Speakers: 4 hours
  • Opening & Closing Sessions: 4 hours

Program Highlights

  • Who Can Attend: Grade 9 – 12 Students
  • Mode of Delivery: Online (via Zoom)
  • Dates: June 15 – 26
  • Timings: 10 am -12 noon and 3 – 5 pm every day (Monday-Friday)
  • Duration: 2 Weeks
  • Number of Participants: Max 20
  • Fees: INR 75,000 (including GST)
  • Scholarships: Select scholarships available (up to 40%)
  • Early Bird Discount: INR 10,000 (if enrolled by 31st May 2020)

Click here for LeadershipPro 2021 details

About Aspire Impact

Aspire Impact, a social enterprise founded in 2007 by Amit Bhatia has transformed the lives of 65,000 learners across 18 states in India. Amit also founded Aspire Circle, India’s Impact Investors Council, McKinsey Knowledge Center, and was the inaugural CEO of The Global Steering Group of Impact Investment. He does not mind if I disclose Aspire’s secret recipe for leadership.

Aspire Impact or Aspire has facilitated the Leadership Development training programs since 2012, and this program has been adopted by leading schools (e.g., The Shri Ram SchoolThe Doon School, The Oakridge School & The Lawrence School in Sanawar).

Aspire Impact is a pioneer of Socratic Dialogue-led, values-based, leadership programs in India. Moreover, Aspire has many honors and awards to its credit, e.g., $100,000 John P. McNulty Prize from The Aspen Institute, USA, is a testimony to its ingenuity.

About Darden Business School (University of Virginia)

When it comes to leadership and business management education and training, Darden Business School is one of the top business schools in the world.

The Financial Times, in its 2020 Global MBA Ranking, gave Darden the 18th spot. U.S. News names Darden the No. 6 MBA for management and the No. 18 MBA for entrepreneurship and No. 2 Public School in the US for MBA.

In past rankings, it was the top school for student satisfaction (Forbes 2015-16), General Management (FT 2016), career placement of top 20 US b-schools (US News 2016), and education experience (The Economist 2011-2016) for its MBA specialty.

Faculty Members and Mentors of the Online Summer Leadership Program

Online Summer Camp 2020 on Leadership & Community Work

Performing Arts and Film-Making Summer School 2020

Virtual Leadership Summer Program 2020 for High School Students in India

Schedule of the LeadershipPro Online Summer Program 2020

Week-1 Schedule

Online International Summer Camp 2020

Week- 2 Schedule

Summer Internship on Community Work & Leadership for High School Students

Testimonials and Feedback of Previous Participants

Best Online Summer Programs 2020

[inbound_button font_size=”20″ color=”#e8f623″ text_color=”#0f0f0f” icon=”arrow-circle-o-right” url=”” width=”” target=”_blank”] Register for the LeadershipPro Online Summer Program 2020[/inbound_button]

Here is a brief message from Suchitra Marwah, Director, LeadershipPro, Aspire Impact


Online Summer Program on Leadership, Community Work & Creative Arts

By Suchitra Marwah, Director, LeadershipPro, Aspire Impact

Suchitra-Marwah-Director-Aspire-Leadership-ProgramThe celebration of summer in literature is unprecedented. Summer conjures images of joyous school holidays, great outdoors, fun family vacations, and heady music festivals. We discovered this with the success of our Summer Leadership Programs.

The Aspire Leadership Programs have pioneered leadership training for school students in India since 2012. We have had unprecedented success in positively impacting >500 senior and middle school students in India and introducing them to deep, holistic content in settings that create unforgettable experiences. The positive feedback about the program (cumulative rating >4.5 on a scale of 1-5 over 8 years, where 5=outstanding), along with a list of prestigious partner schools.

What is the Need for Leadership Development at High School?

Leadership Development has to start at a young age. Leaders are nurtured, not born. Young students can benefit greatly from careful nurturing if they receive a head start. Leaders like Sachin Tendulkar, the Indian cricketing legend, began taking professional coaching at age eleven from Ramakanth Achrekar, he made it to first-class cricket at age thirteen and represented the country in Test cricket at age sixteen.

Leadership is learnt in different ways, due to multiple intelligences and learning preferences of students. It is academically proven that most leaders gain skills through learning. Corporations spend considerable time and money on training their high performing personnel as future leaders.

Why did Amit start this summer program?

Amit, a beneficiary of the Socratic Dialogue himself, having made significant life decisions after experiencing the methodology, wanted young children to experience the Socratic Dialogue, including his own. In 2012, Amit’s daughter, Aadya, had just completed Grade 9 at The Shri Ram School, Gurgaon.

As he was Trustee of The Aspen Institute in India, Amit soon found himself in a three-way partnership, between Aspen, The Shri Ram School & Aspire, to create India’s first Socratic Dialogue-based summer leadership program. For teenagers, he made it outbound and used ten pedagogies so every child can learn, irrespective of his/her preferred learning style.

He created a 2-week residential program. Most importantly, so he can inspire Aadya and other students to values-based decision-making, he added Business School like real-life cases with deep moral conflicts.

The inaugural edition in Rishikesh was a runaway success. Aadya was naturally the first enrolment. Eight years later, thousands of students have gone through the methodology and seeds of values-based leadership have
taken root.

About the LeadershipProTM Program

LeadershipProTM is a 2-week program focused on students of Grades 9-12, with nine different pedagogies so that every child can learn, irrespective of his/her preferred learning style.

We designed the program to prepare students for real-life leadership and to create moral muscle to succeed in their personal and professional lives, by creating greater awareness of ethics, diversity, uncertainty, values-conflict, and need for a personal moral compass.

The program aids not just emotional, intellectual, and social growth but develops decision-making skills through business school case-studies from the “Giving Voice to Values” program at Darden School of Business, University of Virginia, our Certification Partners.

Finally, LeadershipProTM uses multiple pedagogies to ensure variety and versatility:

  1. Socratic Dialogues: Text-based, reflective and moderated group discussions which use questions to develop critical thinking
  2. Case Studies: Simulated, Business school like real-life situations with moral conflicts for analyzing conflicting goals/values and impact on people/planet
  3. Communication Skills: Train students in structuring, writing and oratory skills; using famous speeches from well-known leaders or communication frameworks (e.g., The Pyramid Principle) used by consulting firms like McKinsey & Company
  4. Soft Skills: Training in behavioral skills through experiential exercises, ensuring self-awareness, positive attitude, teamwork and productive relationships
  5. Performing Arts: Dramatics, dance and music- which also improves test scores by improving spatial-temporal reasoning
  6. Film Making: Create 1-minute movies with a social message with mentorship for professionals in the movie industry
  7. Profiling and Assessments: Psychometric Profiling through personality assessments like Career Preference Test (CPT)and National Employability Skills Test (NEST)
  8. Guest Lectures: By prominent National Leaders

How the Aspire Impact Summer Program Can Help With College Admissions?

It’s an important certification by Aspire Impact and University of Virginia -Darden School of Business, not just of leadership but of a student’s openness to learn, grow, and develop in an ethical manner. It will help the students to be career-ready by improving teamwork and soft skills.

They will learn to make independent decisions with Socratic Dialogue & Case Study practice. It will enhance their self-confidence by building emotional intelligence & social skills. Additionally they will be encouraged to speak fearlessly & write creatively with enhanced communication skills.

My Two Cents for Parents

High school students should be encouraged to take ownership of tasks and events in school, and volunteer for debates, student parliament, extempore, sports, excursions, etc. to develop leadership and teamwork skills. They should get more opportunities to innovate and hone their creativity so that they become responsive and responsible at an early age. These experiences will also foster problem-solving and decision-making skills that will help build leadership and entrepreneurial acumen in the youth.

This year, due to COVID19, the program is going online between 15-26 June. The online edition promises to be a life-changing experience for high-schoolers. Now that you know the secret- please do recommend or gift it to a 14-18-year-old, like I am gifting it to my daughter. We welcome you to apply at the earliest by writing to Suchitra Marwah Director- Leadership Programs @ or by applying here. We look forward to creating 40-hours of magical, leadership experience.

Click here for 2021 Program Details and Registration!

Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4.

Note: This is a Sponsored Post!

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