“Ancora Imparo : I am still learning” – Italian philosopher.
First of all, I would like to praise the Almighty because I had the chance to be shortlisted by Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) for the Kijang Scholarship. Here is a short timeline of the subsequent process, and may this be an eye-opener and an inspiration to anyone reading this. May it help you in your future interviews insyaAllah.
So, a week before the Kijang Academy, I received a phone call from my sister who said that a representative from BNM wanted to talk to me. I promptly returned the call and spoke to a Ms. Rafidah of the Scholarship Department. She told me I wasn’t shortlisted for the Actuarial Science I had applied for, but they were willing to offer me Economics. I immediately gave them my answer: a flat-out YES!
6th April 2018
I arrived early at Lanai Kijang (the Bank’s purpose-built residence), perhaps around 2.30pm. My parents drove me there and they were admittedly more excited than me.
I registered at the reception and got my room number. While waiting for my keys, I leafed through the namelist and discovered only 61 candidates were given the invitation to join the Kijang Academy (a selection camp for the Kijang scholarships), including 12 candidates for Kijang Emas.
That night, all candidates sat in a full group for the first time and there, we met our mentors: Mr. Haziq, Ms. Sharlene and another whom I didn’t get to know. We had the chance to introduce ourselves and asked questions about the scholarship.
7th April 2018
Activity 1 – Magazine Covers
We stayed in Lanai Kijang but the group activities were held in Sasana Kijang (a nearby BNM complex housing conference venues). For the first activity, we had to draw a magazine cover of ourselves and present it to the panel one by one. Then, we had to exchange stories with partners. The session ended with us voting on the best magazine cover.
Activity 2 – Kijang Bridge
In the next activity, we were tasked to build a 60cm bridge using straws, old newspaper and tape. Challenging? Indeed!
The panel asked how many bottles we thought our bridge could withstand. I, representing my group (K2), confidently told them 13. Other groups (K1 and K3) put lower targets. At the end, our bridge was hideous. So when it was judgement time, the panel asked if we wanted to lower our initial target. K2 was firm in maintaining ours, while other groups relented. I justified why I wanted to stay with 13 despite the horrible structure, amid the panelists’ doubt over our bridge. The outcome was unexpected. K2’s bridge didn’t topple and managed to withstand 1 bottle. The K1 Bridge toppled before even putting any bottles. K3 withstood 1 bottle.
Activity 3 – Case Study
This was a failure. I’m definitely blaming myself because I didn’t understand the concept of CSR. Sorry team. But what was the case study about? No spoilers.
Activity 4 – Role Playing
Our group had to compete against another in planning a 7-minute drama. The topic of our choice was ‘Curious.com’, an online shopping website. Both teams were amazing and hilarious: in either team there were such talented actors.
At the end of the day, we had a session with the panel. They gave us feedback and motivation going on our future paths.
Thank you panel, if you’re reading this. Mrs Fauziah, Mr Chai and Mr KI, lots of love.
That night, we were assembled in the hall. Names were called out one by one and we were instructed to exit the hall. My name was one of the earliest to be called; I was scared but stayed calm.
29 names in total were called out and we were brought to a room. We were then told that we managed to proceed to the next stage. Alhamdulillah!
Personally, I wanted the whole team to proceed but the panel had to make the cut. So moving to next stage from K2, were Kah Hou, Faisal, Husin and me.
8th April 2018
The final assessment day, where I managed to proceed to the last stage.
For the final stage, we had to prepare an individual presentation. I’m not a creative person so I wrote words: just words, and not even sentences. We were then ushered to separate rooms. One by one, we wished our friends good luck and I was second to present. Alhamdulillah it went well. Again, not spoiling any content on the nature of the presentation.
Before we went home, we stopped by the Bank Museum. After the tour, we packed our bags from Lanai Kijang and went home. It was a sad moment for me, immersed in an environment with amazing people with unique personalities. I really wished it would have lasted longer.
A big thanks to Bank Negara for giving me the chance to experience Kijang Academy. Will I get the scholarship? InsyaAllah, I don’t know really. Do pray for me. The results will be out at the end of April.
Muhammad Alif Iman is currently a Bank Negara Malaysia Kijang Scholar. He completed his SPM in Sekolah Sultan Alam Shah Putrajaya and is currently pursuing his A-Levels in Epsom College in Malaysia (ECiM). As he is planning on pursuing an Economics degree, his A-Level subjects are Economics , Politics , Mathematics , Further Maths and EPQ. If you intend to contact the author, feel free to contact the CollegeLAH Team at firstname.lastname@example.org.