Open for applications

McKinsey Academy - Young Leaders Forum Scholarships - Round 2, 2020

McKinsey & Company and the Australian Scholarships Foundation are offering emerging leaders from the not-for-profit sector the opportunity to apply for a scholarship to attend McKinsey Academy's Young Leaders Forum, beginning in September 2020.

Program Overview: Young Leaders Forum

A foundational leadership program designed to accelerate the development of emerging leaders

Emerging leaders are operating within an increasingly complex and ambiguous context. Leadership teams know that great leadership talent is scarce. We know that it is great leaders - more than rewards, job opportunities, and the company itself - that drive distinctive employee engagement. With a focus on strengths and stretch, this program develops unique, inspirational, and supportive leaders through the layers of your organisation.

The Young Leaders Forum provides participants with the necessary skills, ways of thinking, and insights to become a better leader in a world of accelerating disruptive change, by maintaining a radical focus on what is within their control.

Designed for high potential future leaders with typically 7-12 years of work experience who are ready to further their leadership skills, the program focuses on experiential learning with group discussions, and empowers participants to coach each other so they can reproduce the exercises in their teams.


The Experience:

Participants will join a large cross-industry cohort of ~250 rising leaders for a blended program. Participants will:

  • Attend an in-person workshop over four days, to explore leading self by building on personal strengths and influencing others
  • Explore concepts in small groups of participants and create an external support network for ongoing coaching and support
  • Complete a digital course on the principles of leading teams; including building alignment and engagement, feedback models, and coaching techniques.


"I can honestly say that I have been blown away by the whole experience. McKinsey Academy fostered such a powerful atmosphere of trust and sharing during the forum that we were and still are having very meaningful and vulnerable conversations and really tackling our own development areas in a supportive yet challenging group. The calibre of guests speakers and topics open for discussion was also exceptional and unlike anything else I have seen."

Sally Davies, Project Manager - CCHL People, Culture and Transition at Royal Far West.


Course Details / Delivery

The Young Leaders Forum spans several weeks and is predominantly completed remotely via e-Learning components and peer-coaching over the phone apart from the in-person workshop in November. Successful applicants should allow approx. 1-2 hours per week to complete the required work.

A note on COVID-19: The health and wellbeing of our scholars remains our utmost priority, as do our efforts in protecting our broader community. McKinsey Academy are monitoring this situation very closely and will ensure all course activities adhere to current government guidelines. Should the course dates or delivery change, all attendees will be notified immediately and every effort will be made to ensure scholarship recipients are still able to attend (either via virtual delivery or on another course date). If you have any questions or concerns prior to submitting your application, please contact ASF.


Course Dates

From mid-September* - Complete the 360-degree leadership assessment and course pre-work, including an Online ‘Team Management’ course consisting of 6-8 hours of learning (scheduled so that it can be completed with a 1-2 hour per week commitment). 

Tuesday 10 November - Attend an informal not-for-profit networking lunch to meet other NFP participants before joining the wider cross-industry cohort.

Tuesday 10 - Friday 13 November - Attend the in-person workshop in Sydney CBD. Participants will need to be available for this entire period and allow for the possibility of evening activities. More details will be provided to scholarship recipients.

November/December* - Two peer 'mini board' sessions lasting approximately 90 minutes each via VC or phone, and scheduled within these recommended timeframes.

*Course dates either side of the in-person workshop will be advised as soon they are available.


Who Should Apply

The Young Leaders Forum (YLF) is designed to benefit high potential future leaders with typically 7-12 years of work experience (please note, this is a general guide and does not exclude those with a little more or less experience). Participants are typically making the transition into people leader roles and ‘stepping up’ to take on greater degrees of responsibility for driving business unit strategy and execution.


"The Young Leaders Forum has been inspirational and invaluable in my journey in becoming a leader in my organisation and wider community. The skills and thought-provoking ideas explored during the course have challenged and changed my thinking on the meaning of leadership."

Weng-Si Cheang, Communications Director at Country Arts WA


Scholarship Inclusions

There are multiple scholarships available to staff of charitable not-for-profit organisations Australia-wide thanks to McKinsey Academy's generous contribution and commitment to not-for-profit development. Each scholarship is valued at $4,000 and will grant recipients full access to the Young Leaders Forum workshop and program.

Employer Contribution

This scholarship requires an Employer Contribution of $800 from each recipient's supporting not-for-profit organisation. This amount is payable to ASF by 9 October 2020 (following written acceptance from the scholarship recipient and upon receipt of an invoice).

What is the Employer Contribution? The Employer Contribution is paid directly to ASF and allows us to expand the number of high-quality programs we can provide, assists with service delivery costs and enables us to invest in research and development that strengthens the NFP sector. The Employer Contribution is a way for not-for-profits to facilitate learning and development for their organisation via a small contribution to any scholarships ASF awards to their employees. McKinsey Academy does not receive any portion of this contribution. 

Click here to find out more about the Employer Contribution and which NFPs are eligible to apply for a waiver.

Travel / Accommodation

Travel and/or accommodation (if necessary) are to be covered by the successful candidates or their supporting NFP organisation to attend the 4-day, in-person workshop in Sydney. We estimate this cost at $0-$2,000 depending on your location and travel needs.


Key Scholarship Dates

Applications open Monday 15 June 2020
Applications close Monday 20 July 2020
Scholarships awarded by Wednesday 19 August 2020
Written acceptance from scholarship recipients by Wednesday 26 August 2020
Pre-work begins mid September 2020
Employer Contributions due by Monday 9 October 2020
In-person workshop in Sydney

Tuesday 10 - Friday 13 November 2020

Please reserve these important dates in your calendar. For more program dates, see the "Course Dates" section above.


Eligibility Criteria

Applicants must:

  • currently work for an Australian charitable not-for-profit organisation or *social enterprise
  • have approximately 7 - 12 years** of work experience
  • be an Australian citizen or Australian permanent resident
  • fulfil ASF's general eligibility requirements available on our FAQs page

*Check our FAQs page for guidance on eligible social enterprises.

**Please note, this is a general guide and does not exclude those with a little more or less experience.


"I had always wanted to access a program like what’s offered by McKinsey Academy and accessing the ASF scholarship allowed me to not only improve as leader, but meet and be part of a group of likeminded individuals who, regardless of industry or background, have the same passion for growth, innovation and opportunity as I do."

Ryan Kiddle, Senior Manager – Social & Community Groups at The Disability Trust. Click here to read his Scholar Profile.


Scholar Surveys & Feedback

All applicants (regardless of the outcome of their application) will be asked to complete a series of surveys about their expected and realised learnings (once before and on a few occasions after the course). Your survey responses will help us to quantify the impact of our scholarships and will help attract funding for education and training for the NFP sector in the future. Your feedback is extremely valuable to the work we do and by completing these surveys you'll be making an important contribution to the future of ASF and the NFP sector overall.


How to Apply

To apply, simply click 'APPLY NOW' and follow the prompts to create (or log into) your profile page, upload an endorsement letter and complete an online scholarship application.

For tips on what to include in your endorsement letter and who should write it, please see #12 of our FAQs.

Need help completing your online application? Download instructions for Creating a Profile Page and Making an Application.


More Information

For more information about the program, please click here.

Have questions? Check our FAQs page for answers to the most common questions. If you need assistance with the scholarship application process, please contact ASF via


Applications for the 2020 McKinsey Academy Young Leaders Forum scholarships close Monday 20 July 2020 at 5pm AEST.



About McKinsey Academy 

The mission of McKinsey Academy is to accelerate transformations of individuals, companies and countries by unlocking the potential of people. They work closely with human resource and business leaders to reimagine their approach to developing leaders and building capabilities across an organisation. Their combination of business and learning expertise uniquely positions them to support both private and public-sector clients.

Closing Date : 20/07/2020
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