1. How many stages were there in your scholarship assessment?
2 stages. Before that, I submitted an online application. In the online application, I had to write about my ambitions and also there was a separate part called the Statement of Purpose which required me to describe my career aspirations and personal attributes that would help me in achieving my ambitions.
2. What happened during your scholarship assessment?
The first stage was an informal interview. I was interviewed by two HR staff. They asked about my family background, my education experience, my personality, my aspirations etc. The two interviewers were very friendly. I felt very comfortable in that interview as it was more like chat than an interview. The interview lasted no more than 30 minutes.
The second stage was held in a boardroom where there was a panel of interviewers, including the chairman of Maxis, two professors from reputable universities, the Head of HR of Maxis and a secretary. They all held a binded copy of my portfolio/application form while interviewing me. The approximately 45-minutes interview was conducted in a more serious tone with some questions about my dreams and aspirations, why I chose to study at the university of my choice (University of Warwick), what I hope to do in the future, how would the Maxis scholarship help me (in terms of a merit-based scholarship) etc.
There was also a question asked in Bahasa Malaysia where I had to explain what TEDxKL was about, in Bahasa Malaysia.
Before I got called into the boardroom, I was waiting in another boardroom room with other interviewees. I noticed the room had a lot of cameras around, including a big conference TV. Although I was the last one to enter and exit the boardroom, I met 4 other interviewees in the room. If I remember correctly, I was waiting for over an hour in that boardroom. Naturally, I just started talking and got to know the other interviewees. Only towards the end when there were only two of us in the room (another guy and myself), I noticed the cameras. I was not sure if they were watching us but among the interviewees I met in the room, only the other guy and myself got the scholarships. I would say we were quite chatty in the room…
3. What do you think you did right to get the scholarship?
I would say my personality and my aspirations to get into education sector. It was pointed out by the panel of interviewers that it isn’t a common dream/profession – perhaps it was what that stood out in my application.
4. What are some of the past experiences that the reviewers were most interested about?
My interest in Teach For Malaysia, as a link to my future aspirations and how it was partly my interest to get involved in the education sector; and my role in TEDxKL, which was a reason why I wanted to attend the University of Warwick as I was hoping to get involved with TEDxWarwick too.
5. What advice would you give to future Maxis Scholarship applicants?
Be calm and answer everything truthfully. Try your best to apply early so that you don’t rush through your application.
It was honestly the most enjoyable interview experience I have ever gone through.
6.How did you prepare for the scholarship application?
I didn’t prepare myself with questions but only spoke to my friends and family about things that piqued my interest and attention constantly – without realising it was indirectly becoming an aspiration of mine.
Definitely invest in a good suit to look professional (I always say this and I do believe it does make a difference in your interviews), get a good night’s rest, and don’t be late for your interview!
Yin Li Toh is a second-year Economics student at the University of Warwick under the Maxis Scholarship for Excellence Award. She loves travelling whenever she can and enjoys trying out new recipes in the kitchen.