Overview of PESP
PETRONAS offers two types of education sponsorships to Malaysia’s most outstanding students in the oil-and-gas-related field. The first type covers from pre-university programme up to undergraduate studies, and the second covers undergraduate studies only. These sponsorships are known as the PETRONAS Education Sponsorship Programme (PESP). They are open for undergraduate programmes at Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS (UTP) and also overseas universities. Students are allowed to choose from the list of technical and non-technical sponsored programmes to pursue in the future.
Stages involved in the scholarship application
- Complete an application form and submit it along with your SPM and A-Levels results and your parents’ income statements.
- Eligible candidates will be shortlisted and interviewed.
- There will be two interview stages in a day. The first one will be conducted individually and the second one will be a group interview.
- Candidates will be grouped into teams of four or five and each team will be given a case study on different topics about the current issues happening in the world. Each candidate will be required to discuss the issue given and to solve it using different approaches stated in the papers given.
- During the individual interview, candidates will not be asked typical questions about themselves or the company. Instead, they will be questioned about the case study.
- After the individual interviews, all the candidates from each team will be asked to enter the room again to undergo the group interview. During the group interview, the groups are supposed to discuss among themselves and come to a conclusion as to which approach is the best to resolve the issue. The interviewers will stay quiet and observe each candidate during that period.
Atmosphere at the interview
The interviewers were really nice and friendly but also serious at the same time, especially during the first individual interview when they questioned me about the case study. There was a bit of tension as well, as you will not be able to predict what kind of questions they will ask and you will not know if the interviewers agree with what you said. However, the overall atmosphere was fine as long as you feel (or look) confident!
There is not much you could prepare for prior to the interviews besides knowing the current happenings in the world by reading more news. This is to prepare yourself for tackling the interview questions (case study). It is advisable to include any current news or latest happenings when presenting your ideas to the interviewers, e.g. I have included Soup Kitchen as a volunteering activity, which was a hot topic during that period of time and the interviewers were interested in that topic too. Besides, you should speak up and be an outstanding candidate during the group interview instead of just sitting there and listening to your other team members. However, you should also show that you are capable of being a leader by starting the conversation in the group interview when nobody else does so. Also, try to ask for the opinions of your other team members by saying, “What do you think of this idea?” etc. Last but not least, just be yourself, be confident, stay calm and may the odds be ever in your favour!
Joey Chin is currently pursuing Economics at University College London (UCL) under the PETRONAS Scholarship. She manages her time well between studies and leisure because having a balanced lifestyle is crucial to her, as the saying goes, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” But of course, she knows her priorities well!