Felda Global Ventures(FGV) Scholarship Application

Before I begin sharing my scholarship experience, let me give you a quick introduction to FGV. Felda Global Ventures Holdings Berhad (FGV) is Malaysia’s leading global agribusiness and is the world’s largest producer of crude palm oil (CPO). FGV has operations in more than 10 countries across Asia, North America and Europe. I’m sure that most of you have came across the name Felda but not Felda Global Ventures. The difference between these two is that Felda (Federal Land Development Authority) is a government agency whereas FGV is a private corporate entity initiated by Felda.

Let’s go back to my experience now. I have basically applied for numerous scholarships before this, attended various interviews and even managed to qualify for final stages but sadly luck was never on my side. I follow a page called AfterSchool on Facebook and one fine day there was a post about FGV scholarship. Filling up forms became something very normal to me and again I went through the hassle to apply for it. Thank God I applied!

FGV offers a good scholarship programme where it covers your full tuition fee, accommodation, living allowance, books and stationaries allowance and also project allowance. Ten days after the closing date, I received an email stating that I was shortlisted to attend the scholarship assessment (Stage 1). This assessment was slightly different from the ones I have attended before because it was held in a hotel. A few assessments were conducted, and it took the whole day. There were about 200+ candidates shortlisted for this stage.

Stage 1:
• Test
– Four series of tests were given which are mathematical reasoning, verbal reasoning, IQ and the last one was an essay. To master this task you are encouraged to try out similar tests on google. (Each test was about 20 minutes)

• Boardroom discussion and presentation
– We were grouped into groups of 5. We were given a random topic to discuss and to present on a mahjong paper. There were 3 panels who are professional executives of FGV from various fields. The key to master this task is to stand out, speak and most importantly show them the fire in you. (The session was about 45 minutes)

• Interview
– After the presentation, the same panel interviewed us. This time they asked us direct and indirect  questions. Examples of the questions asked are why you chose this field, what is your weakness, why should we award you and not others together with issues happening in Malaysia and around the world. For this stage, you should read up about the company beforehand and brush up on your general knowledge. Make sure you volunteer to answer the indirect questions but at the same time do not be too dominating. (The session was about 25 minutes)


After 2 weeks FGV called and mailed me to inform that I was shortlisted for the final stage and this time it was at their HQ, Menara Felda itself. There were about 60 candidates shortlisted for the stage.

Stage 2:
• Interview
– Candidates were grouped into groups of 5 and were given a briefing before the interview session started. For this, there were 6 panels; chief human resource officer, top key people from the research and development, plantation, finance, human resource and production department.

I was a little bit nervous as I never expected that the “senior management” they meant, is THAT senior. Candidates were thrown direct and indirect questions at this stage too. This time was more for getting to know the candidates’ personality better and determine whether the candidates can adapt to FGV’s culture. (The session was about 45 minutes)

After 2 weeks, I finally received THE CALL. The call that I have always waited for. They informed me that the scholarship board has decided to offer me a full scholarship for my degree (Accounting) in University of Malaya. There were only 20 candidates that received the scholarship.


Prabhakar is currently a FGV scholar pursuing a degree in Accounting in University Malaya. Driven by strong motivations in life, Prabhakar can always be found on a laptop or notebook reading up on the latest technological breakthrough or playing Counter Strike. His nerdy facade masks his breathtaking musical talent as well as some below average football skills. If you intend to contact the author, feel free to contact the CollegeLAH Team at contactus@collegelah.com.

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Bank Negara Malaysia Kijang Academy 2018

Greetings, readers! I am Faisal, a Bank Negara Malaysia’s Kijang Scholarship recipient for the year 2018/2019 and I am delighted to share my experience with you. First of all, I would like to clarify that the assessments are carried out differently every year. This article will only then give a glimpse of the style of the assessment. I will not be able to describe the whole process to avoid revealing some confidential parts.

First Day

Contrary to previous years, there were only about 60 candidates that made it through the online application stage in 2018. On the first night, we were sorted into our respective groups and were briefed on the central bank’s organisational structure and the scholarship programme itself. There were no assessments held. Previous Kijang scholars (who are currently serving their bond) were assigned to each group as mentors. At first, when no one had the guts to start a conversation, it was rather awkward. However, our mentors were nothing but friendly and I found myself enlightened by the situation. They were the ones who started the conversation and we had quite a fruitful discussion throughout the night.

One of my mentors is an Economics undergraduate. She was definitely my point of reference as I myself applied to read Economics. If the same activity is carried out in 2019, my best advice for you is to ask as many questions as possible to understand what you will be facing in the future as a central bank scholar.

Second Day

The group assessment was split into four stages.

The first stage was ice-breaking with the assessing panel in our respective groups. One by one, we were given the opportunity to introduce ourselves to let the panel get to know us better. Towards the end of the session, each of us were given a blank A4 paper and coloured pens and was told to produce a simple magazine cover that summarizes our personality and interests precisely and concisely. Indeed, the first stage made us knew each other better and we became more comfortable around each other.

The second stage was a grouped task (balancing water bottles on a bridge made of straws and newspapers). Each group were given materials such as straws, newspapers, scissors and cellophane tape. It was more challenging as we were only allowed to use the materials to produce a bridge (of our own design) that is able to hold as many water bottles as possible. It was quite an intense activity as each group were divided into two and one subgroup was not allowed to communicate with the other. Hence, we had to make half of the bridge, hoping that we were able to connect them together and produce a strong bridge. Surprisingly, our bridge managed to hold 3 bottles compared to others in our room which could only hold 2 bottles on average.

The third stage was a role-playing task. Each group were instructed to come up with a solution to a business problem (our goal was to develop a project with the objective of complying with CSR). I was assigned to the administration team. My responsibility was to assure that our proposals would not backfire and self-contradict. Perhaps, that was the task other candidates found the hardest. There was definitely pressure as we were allocated very little time and were required to complete a rather detailed proposal.

I am not able to recall the fourth stage accurately. From what I remember, each group had to present a daily life situation that requires us to apply knowledge from the respective fields we applied for. For instance, since some of the members of my group applied for Economics, we re-enacted a situation that portrayed how corporations use supply and demand theories to target consumers.

Third Day

Reality hurts but that’s just how life works. Only about half of us made it to the interview stage and we were sorted into groups according to the courses we applied for. Prior to the interview, we had to create a presentation based on a given topic using a mah-jong paper and marker pens. We were instructed to present our ideas before the interview.

The interview process was similar to the interviews that we have heard from other people. The interviewers could ask what you know regarding the structure of the central bank, your reasons for applying for the scholarship (why Bank Negara out of all?) and what made you choose to study the intended course. Most importantly, to get to know you and understand who you truly are.

What I think I did well and what should you do?

I think I should reiterate what was said by other previous (and current) scholars. The idea is to be as natural as possible. It is undeniable that your knowledge of current issues (particularly those pertaining to the course that you applied for) is a valuable indicator of your potential. However, I believe that some candidates might try to show their potential by plainly using economic jargon throughout the assessment. Some candidates can also come off as very weak team players especially when they are quick to dismiss other people’s ideas. Besides intellect, I believe that the central bank is looking for candidates that cooperate well in teams, an aspect that is vital for functionality in an organisation. It is advisable to stay true to your personality when you are being assessed. This way, not only are you able to express yourself truly, it will also help you go through the assessment calmly.


Faisal is currently a Bank Negara Malaysia Kijang Scholar who’s completing his A-level at Epsom College in Malaysia. Having full faith in his passion, he aims to study in Economics in the United Kingdom (particularly UCL). His A-level subjects are Economics, Chemistry and Further Mathematics. As an active member of the Epsom Debating Society, Faisal believes that discourses in a community are essential for positive outcomes. Even though you may see Faisal with his emo hair and grumpy face, Faisal is actually a highly friendly and sociable person so feel free to talk to him whenever you see him. If you intend to contact the author, feel free to contact the CollegeLAH Team at contactus@collegelah.com.

Bank Negara Malaysia Kijang Scholarship Application

“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 contactus@collegelah.com.

JPA National Scholarship

Applying for the JPA scholarship was not troublesome, that I can say. Compared to other agencies or organisations I applied to, which sometimes asked for essays and my CV, JPA’s was based solely on a two-stage selection process. The first was an online application in which all applicants were required to fill in their basic details, SPM results, preferred course and country plus a little bit of family members’ information.

If your application was taken into consideration, you would then receive an invitation letter for interview session via email from JPA. They usually hold their interview sessions over several days in each region scattered all over Malaysia, so fret not if you’re from Sabah or Sarawak, you don’t have to come all the way to KL just for it. Your interview location depends on which region you filled in earlier. Either way, in all places, the process would be the same. Included in the invitation letter was the dress code, which personally I thought was very simple during my time: just dark sports attire.

Next came the exciting part of the selection process; the second stage which was the interview itself. We were first divided into several groups of six or seven. From here on, the interview would revolve around 2 checkpoints. The first checkpoint was a group presentation, where they randomly provided a topic for each group to discuss within a time frame and present it visually on a piece of mahjong paper. Everything in this round was carried out in English. For my group, we were asked to discuss the pros and cons of working in the private and public sector. During the prep time, the JPA officers in charge would stay in the room and observe everyone, so it’s really important to be an active team player or team leader throughout the discussion. If you’re unsure about the assigned topic, make sure you grasp the whole concept before the prep time ended, as the JPA officers and other applicants from another group can ask anything related.

Let’s say you are suddenly aware of how passive everyone in your group is. The discussion still has to be done on time, so I’d advise you to take the role to lead the group by asking for their opinions and such. Contrastingly, if everyone seems to ooze with knowledge, then spice up the discussion by contributing more points and carefully manage the differences in input. Only then the team will come to a consensus. In case you have completed everything early, you probably will find it helpful if you occupy the remaining prep time with further discussion on possible questions that will be asked. As far as I can remember, the JPA officers didn’t go easy on us; they asked a lot of questions and even condemned our opinions when we were presenting just to see how far we could bend before breaking. Some of my teammates could not answer several questions posed, but luckily we had each others’ backs. Regardless, stand your ground and express your ideas clearly with supporting evidence. To the debaters out there, I’m pretty sure you would enjoy this round as much as I did because here’s when our defensive mode is automatically switched on.

Where at the first checkpoint we were assessed in groups, at the second the evaluation was more individual-based. Basically, all members in the group were assessed together in a room where everyone would have a go at the questions asked. However, the interviewers did not specifically mention which person they would like to hear from first, so it was all up to our prompt response to determine the turns. The first few questions they asked were our names, preferred courses together with our strengths and weaknesses. While it’s an easy task to brag about your positive traits, don’t forget to highlight on how these qualities can help you to propel yourself forward in your life, especially in the area you’re applying for. Instead of simply stating your weaknesses, remember to press on effort you’re currently putting in to fix them (just to tone down the said negative traits), and try to add the extent that your improvements have been successful. That’s one way to prove that you’re always open to beneficial changes and are willing to improve yourself in every aspect of life. At this stage, we were allowed to choose either to answer in English or Malay, whichever we were more comfortable with.

The interview questions revolved around government past and current policies plus our opinions on them, current global issues like refugees, brain drain, technology transfer, transnational corporations: basically anything debatable. From here, they would get a glimpse on the way we think, our personality and most importantly, if our traits and skills will be useful for them in the long run. So my advice for this section is to be extra careful on your choice of words: make sure they are not misleading but instead form sustained, coherent judgements. Keep in mind you’re applying for a government scholarship, so avoid any provocative remarks on their policies or decisions. However, do not spend too much time thinking to the extent that you look clueless about everything; even if you really have no idea on whatever they ask, try to extract some points from other applicants who have answered before you and elaborate them. Here hydration is not the key anymore, confidence is!

Overall, it was a fun experience. For my batch (SPM 2017), JPA also accepts applications for JKPJ Scholarship Programme (Program Khas Kejuruteraan Jepun, Korea, Perancis, Jerman) from those who have achieved all A+. I actually applied for both JKPJ and this PPN (Program Penajaan Nasional). Of course they were generous enough to send invitation for both programmes, but at the end they only offered me the PPN one even though I did not submit the PPN form on the day. It was odd actually, considering I always answered JKPJ as the programme I was applying for and never mentioned about applying for PPN throughout the interview, not even once. I suspect it had something to do with preferred language I chose in the individual assessment, as they already hinted their preference during briefing. It makes sense in a way, since all PPN scholars would eventually have to sit for IELTS before studying abroad meanwhile JKPJ scholars will take other languages proficiency assessments. Thus, if you’re aiming for either one of the programmes offered, it’s better if you just apply for the targeted programme.

On a different note, after receiving the offer you might want to consider several things before signing the agreement. One of them is the fact that JPA’s allowance is not that much compared to the amount provided by other agencies, which might be a huge problem unless your family/relatives can provide additional financial support. However, rest assured that they wouldn’t put too much pressure on you throughout your preparatory period in A-Levels as they’re pretty lenient about semester exam results and are always open for any proposed discussion. Those are crumbs of factors to be weighed up again.

I hope you will have an enjoyable time during the interview. Even if you are rejected, please think of all the new friends made, what the many new acquaintances including the evaluators impressed onto you, what new skills you’ve gained and what new observations you got out. I could go on and on, but I’m sure you will all try to find something positive from your participation. Whatever it is, all the best and good luck!


Tasha Aziera is currently a National Scholar under JPA. She is completing her A Levels at Kolej Yayasan UEM and is hoping to further her studies in the UK, majoring in psychology. You can often catch her nibbling on a chocolate cookie browsing through Instagram or looking at pictures of corgis. If you intend to contact the author, feel free to contact the CollegeLAH Team at contactus@collegelah.com.

NTU ASEAN Undergraduate Scholarship

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What’s NTU ASEAN Undergraduate Scholarship?

It is a scholarship for NTU students that covers the tuition fees and allowance per academic year while your results will be assessed every semester to make sure scholars get at least 3.50 out of 5.00 of CAP (Cumulative Average Point). The scholarship works in this way: half of the tuition fees is subsidized through Tuition Grant and the scholarship will cover the rest. There is no bond to the scholarship whereas the tuition grant provided by Singapore government has 3 years bond with any Singapore registered companies. Do note that this scholarship does not cover your hostel fees, so you have to use the living allowance to pay for that.

Cool! How do I apply?

To apply for this scholarship, you would need to fill in a scholarship application form after submitting your application form to NTU. The form is used for application for other scholarships as well, such as CN Yang Scholarship, College Scholarship, Nanyang Scholarship and NTU Science and Engineering Undergraduate Scholarship during my academic year, so it’s convenient for students to apply for multiple scholarships with just one application form. It requires students to fill in their past results, academic awards, extra-curricular activities and then write an essay not more than 300 words based on one topic chosen from 3 options.

So, what did you write about?

I chose the topic about the values and beliefs I hold strongly to. In my opinion, every essay that you need to write and submit before the interview is extremely crucial. This is the chance for you to express yourself truthfully while convincing the interviewers that you deserve to be awarded the scholarship. For my case, I wrote about the turning points in life that led me to my new beliefs. Students should look for something unique in themselves and write about it, instead of those same old stories about how determined or hardworking he or she is. Therefore, I would recommend people to try out new things and explore more, not only for the sake of applying scholarships but also for your personal development!

Ok! What’s after that?

If you are shortlisted for scholarship interview, NTU will notify you via email so keep an eye on that! NTU Scholarship Section of Financial Aid Office will come to Kuala Lumpur to interview all the applicants from Malaysia. If I am not mistaken, there is only one venue for the interview. My tips for the interview:

  1. Be prepared! Do your homework on the scholarships, the university, especially the courses you applied, and also some common interview questions. (Google! Google! Google!)
  2. Relax yourself by believing in yourself. Try not to compare with others, you must know that somebody will be better than you. That’s why you should focus on your unique personality.
  3. Be confident but not too arrogant. Avoid telling the interviewers that they will be living in remorse for the rest of their lives if they don’t offer you the scholarship.
  4. Be polite to the interviewers. Never forget to smile and thank them for their time in the end! First impression is extremely important.

During my interview, I talked about myself and shared my experience of backpacking in Bangkok. I related it to myself as that is my interest. After that, since I applied for Civil Engineering, they asked me a basic physics question of calculating force acting on a block on a slope. I saw a simple chemical equation on the back of the paper though. My friend who applied for Chemical Engineering was asked to differentiate methane and methene, and guess what – methene does not even exist! Then, they asked me about my favourite building in Singapore and what’s so special about it. Of course, you don’t have to answer the question like a professional; they are just testing your critical thinking skill.

Any last advice for future applicants?

Have faith in yourself and don’t stop believing!


The author, who wishes to be anonymised, is currently an undergraduate ASEAN scholarship holder at the Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.

MyBrainSc Scholarship

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Editor’s Note: Please be advised the the renditions of the MyBrainSc Scholarship from 2016 and the foreseeable future no longer sponsor students to overseas institution. However, the basic principles behind the application process for the scholarship highlighted in this article still apply. 

Are you still scratching your head to look out more scholarships desperately on the Internet? Please take a serious glimpse of this article if you wish to know more regarding the details of this scholarship. MyBrainSc scholarship is offered by the Ministry of Education (MoE), and open to all Malaysians. This scholarship sponsors successful candidates financially to pursue both undergraduate and postgraduate studies (Bachelor Degree/Master/PhD level) in local and overseas universities. For your information, only four pure-science disciplines are sponsored by this scholarship- Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Mathematics. If you wish to practise Chemical Engineering, Statistics, Forensic Science, Biomedical Science or Biotechnology, then you are barking up the wrong tree. Thus, I am writing this to share my experience and equip you with ample information so that you are not far from materialising your big dreams.

Stage One – Online Application

The online application is open from December to March. Make sure you always check out the website of Portal Kementerian Pelajaran Malaysia (KPM) during the period. You must meet the minimum requirements before applying for the scholarship. The documents required in the online application are softcopies of your original ICs, passport-sized photos, SPM transcripts, Matrikulasi/STPM/Asasi/IB/A-level/Diploma/SAT transcripts and university offer letters (if available).

Stage Two – Psychometric Test

In the mid of April, you will start receiving an e-mail which demands you to sit for a psychometric test. This test is implemented to evaluate your main interests in particular fields, ambitions, mentality, emotionality, hobbies, potential abilities and other psychological abilities. It is almost like the test we usually did in our secondary school to determine which field or job you were excellently cut out for. Compared to the previous years, the psychometric test has taken the place of an IQ test without doubt.

The test embodies two sections- Section A and B. Each candidate will be allocated roughly 120-180 minutes which are quite adequate for him or her to complete both sections separately. The questions are in Bahasa Melayu. Examples of the test are: “Adakah anda suka membaiki mesin dan motor?”, “Adakah anda suka mencatat, mengira, menulis dan membaca?” & “Anda dapat menerima nasihat orang lain dalam satu organisasi.” It consists of 300 questions and repetition of multiple questions occurs in the two sections. The answers are only “Yes” or “No”. The questions are not esoteric and you will be having plenty of time to complete them. I am sure you can answer the questions well as long as you possess a moderate command of Bahasa Melayu. Even so, please do not make light of this test because many candidates are eliminated from this stage either.

Stage Three – Interview

Eligible candidates will be notified of the interview through e-mails in due course. Interviewees need to attend the interviews in different states as to your respective residences. The wisest thing to do at this stage is searching for plenteous interview tips on the Internet, for example, blog spots of the scholars and interviewees, CollegeLah, ScholarStories, Lowyatnet and etc. The tips obtained are requisite in giving you an idea on how the interview is conducted and what kinds of questions will be asked during the interview.

Two candidates will be paired randomly in a group after the registration together with a panel of two interviewers. The interviewers are normally the professors or experts in the pure-science related fields. In my case, I was paired up with another guy who was doing his first-year Physics degree locally. Our interview took about 45 minutes and was fully conducted in English. We took turns at answering the same set of questions. You can round your points out to enable your ideas to be graspable even further. Moreover, keep up with current issues nationwide. I would suggest chatting with other candidates first before the interview helps to relieve your pent-up pressure and disquiet.

Speak confidently to voice your own opinions even though you are stammering sometimes throughout the interview. It is a no-brainer everyone is not like-minded in essence, thus, you must be level-headed by the time you encounter rebuttals from the interviewers. Take it as a piece of advice from them as it is just an exchange of opinions between both parties. Just be frank if you are ignorant of ideal answers to a question, it will not impinge on your overall performance. Also, try to engage them in a conversation with you as it can make you be yourself more and mitigate your apprehension.

I am listing out the following questions asked during my interview session:

 

  • Introduce yourself briefly.
  • What would you like to be besides becoming a lecturer?
  • Which department would like to join after your graduation? (Private, government or university)
  • Besides being a lecturer in university, what else do you think the lecturer should teach his students other than emphasising on the academics?
  • To study in England, what do you think you can do so that the foreigners will appreciate Malaysian students?   
  • If you get an awesome offer from the overseas company, would you like to work there or come back to Malaysia?
  • From all the activities you joined, what is the most valuable experience you have gained so far?
  • How would you promote patriotism?
  • What is your biggest strength and weakness?
  • How do you overcome the weakness?
  • Do you think you deserve this scholarship?
  • Current issues asked in my interview- GST&1MDB

 

Scholar’s Advice

I would like to highlight that the MoE is not going to help you in the university application. All procedures are kindly handled on your own. If you wish to study in the UK, all you need to do is apply for the universities through UCAS. Getting the admission of universities done before securing the scholarship is sparing with time and efforts. MyBrainSc Scholarship does sponsor students, too, to study in the US, Australia and Canada aside from the UK. The lists of universities recognized by MyBrainSc are available on Portal KPM.

Plus, you will need to come back and serve Malaysia for 5 years upon completion of your studies. The job prospects offered are becoming lecturers or researchers who will be affiliated with educational institutions and research centres in Malaysia. You should leap at this golden opportunity without scruples provided that you have an eye to Pure Sciences. The interview results shall be set forth approximately around the UPU results week.

Truth to tell, I have been harbouring a hope to study in England come what may. Finally, I have come across this scholarship which can bring my dream to pass and let me head for my dreamland, England. Perseverance is the key to achieving success and goals. To err is human. I do sail through trials and tribulations which have dampened my spirits. However, it takes courage and faith to begin the first step of everything you embark on. After going through a bad patch, you will see light at the end of the tunnel. Be a go-getter, and keep in mind that success does not come easy for any warrior. I truly hope that the information shared here will come in handy for you all in time to come.


Ka Chong

Ngui Ka Chong is a scholarship holder who will be pursuing his Biology degree in The University of Manchester under MyBrainSc Scholarship 2015. He loves making new friends everywhere, listening to music, reading novels and being a zealous writer. The motto of his life is “go confidently in the direction of dreams, live the life you have imagined.”

Yayasan Khazanah Global Scholarship Programme

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First stage

It was like any other scholarship application process. You are required to fill in personal details and also write an essay about how will you contribute back to Malaysia in the future.

Second Stage

You will be informed to log on into a system and answer the questions given within the limited time frame as stated. It is very likely that you will not have enough time to recheck your answers as the time given to answer them is very short. In my opinion, these questions are similar to the questions of reading comprehension where you need to have critical thinking in analyzing the data provided in these questions.

Third Stage

I received an email from Khazanah at approximately 11.40pm (yes, Khazanah workers do work late) In the email, I was informed to attend the third stage interview at Corus hotel, Jalan Ampang. The traffic at Kuala Lumpur is very unpredictable at times so I decided to travel early! I like the view of the skyscrapers in Kuala Lumpur as we do not really have such tall buildings with many storeys back in Seremban. I was a bit shocked because there were only 5 people including me when I reached Corus Hotel. After enquiring from the interviewers, they explained to us that they had separated many sessions for those that were selected where each session only consist a maximum of 6 people.

The interview consists of 3 parts, and it started with group discussion. Everyone was given 2 resumes and were required to discuss which person would be more suitable take up the position considering that the company has who to put in what position with company’s limited budget. It was less stressful as there were guidance such as data and instructions. The group discussion went on for 30 minutes with the Khazanah interviewers observing the progress of the discussion.

The next part was the case study personal presentation. We were given a case and were required to present individual presentation about launching a new phone. We need to analyse and decide the venue, time, types of advertisement and many more.  At this stage of the interview, everyone was guided as data and instructions were provided. After 30 minutes of preparation, we begun our 15 minutes presentation and ended with a question and answer session.

The last part was regarding a personal interview which I would personally advise those who will be interviewed to stay calm and be yourself. You need to be honest with everything you say or provide as it will not be surprised that these experienced interviewers will know whether or not you were lying. I would also advise to do simple preparation before coming for the interview. I prepared files containing my resume and certificates although it may not be used during the interview.

Fourth stage

I received another email a few days later, informing me to attend stage 4 interview at KLCC level 33. The relaxing room for the Khazanah workers was really very nice with yellowish lighting. Stage 4 was a personal interview with Yayasan Khazanah director Mr Kamarul Bahrein which lasted for 30 minutes. He asked me to introduce myself and some questions regarding my personal background, personal interest and also my curricular activities.

Fifth stage

After two weeks of waiting, I finally received an email from Khazanah. There are 14 of us that were fortunately selected into the final stage. I had fun chatting and getting to know them. The interview session was with the director of Khazanah and it only lasted for 5 to 10 minutes. It was considered a short and brief session.

This is the picture of me with YK director and managers during my pre-departure briefing 🙂
Khazanah

**All above are just my personal experience and it may be different for other candidates**


 

Belinda Lee

Belinda Lee Theng Lui had completed her matriculation at Kolej Matrikulasi Pulau Pinang(KMPP) last April. She is currently doing her bachelor of commerce at Australian National University under the Yayasan Khazanah Global Scholarship Programme. She loves travelling whenever she can and enjoys cooking in the kitchen. ‘Do not confuse your path with your destination, just because it’s stormy now doesn’t mean you aren’t headed to sunshine’ is a quote she believes for a lifetime.

 

Life@International School of Kuala Lumpur (ISKL) – International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP)

ISKL Ampang

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I first entered the International School of Kuala Lumpur as a student in 6th grade (form 2 equivalent). Previously coming from a British School background, the transition was admittedly difficult. At first I had to come to terms with quintessential American terms like “tardy” (which means late, not a contraction of retarded…), “cafeteria” (instead of canteen), and parenthesis (meaning brackets). Little differences in mannerisms let me know that ISKL’s American culture is quite strong, almost think of Mean Girls. The benefits of attending such an institution is the simple fact of internationalism. I marvelled at how a South African girl in my class was not black (excuse my initial lack of awareness and political correctness) and that it seemed like all of the koreans were from South Korea (where were the North Koreans?). ISKL helped me, for the first time, consider these questions. Not only is the school an active supporter of intercultural mingling, but also that mixed groups of friends just naturally form. Growing up, I had friends spanning from Cameroonian, French, Indian, (South) Korean, and Taiwanese, and each of these people helped me understand their own cultural backgrounds. The feeling garnered from ISKL’s middle school program (grades 6-8) is one of friendliness. I got a genuine feeling of happiness and appreciation from each of my teachers—they actually care about you!. While they perhaps weren’t the most harsh in terms of academics (the push for competitive academics to achieve high grades needs to come from within the student or their family), they certainly provided me the opportunity to succeed. In middle school I scored straight A’s while participating in basketball, volleyball, softball, and badminton. Global Issues classes and Model United Nations (MUN) are also offered to Middle Schoolers. Those three years are noted with much happiness.

After completing 8th grade, the introduction to high school was quite hand held. ISKL formulates an encouraging environment where bullying is virtually nonexistent and students thrive within their own interests (be it sports, academics, or intellectual clubs like debate and MUN). Grades 9 and 10 offer some rigorous courses like Advanced Placement United States History (APUSH is one of ISKL’s most challenging classes), AP Calculus BC, AP Computer Science, and AP Statistics. Other classes of potential interest include an accolade of music classes (jazz band, 3 different choirs, piano and guitar), fine arts (technical drawing, ceramics, and visual arts) and drama. A prominent highlight of grade 9, 10, and 11 is the annual Global Action Program (GAP) where students simultaneously travel to corners of Asia from Tibet and Bhutan to Minado and Bali. On these trips, GAP focuses on community service and in 11th grade students complete their Group 4 project (a mandatory requirement for the IBDP).

Currently on my penultimate semester of the IB, I am enjoying the challenges that comes with it. Since starting ISKL, enrolling in the IB was always an assumption. However, it should be noted that only about 60% of upperclassman (grades 11 and 12) are full IBDP candidates. The nature of the IB makes it such that I don’t have enough free time to be bored. For those that enjoy dabbling in a spectrum of courses (where math, english, science, language, social science, the extended essay and of course theory of knowledge are all mandatory classes) it is the right curriculum. As a jack-of-all-trades and the sort of student that finds all subjects interesting, I’m pleased that I can study physics in tandem with literature. The combinations of Higher Level (HL) and Standard Level (SL) courses keeps doors for university open in allowing me to apply to the US and the UK. However, students of ISKL don’t generally apply to any one country a, s my friends have applied to places like Denmark, Holland, India and the usual suspects like Australia, the UK and US. During my application process my counsellor is extremely helpful in regularly notifying me and other students of upcoming deadlines and providing her expertise in crafting the application. However, if for whatever reason, there are ‘creative differences’ between a counselor and the student, there are other faculty who are just as accessible and available to help. If you’re not sure as to where you want to apply, I feel like the counselors are especially good at establishing the right ‘fit’ for you. As for myself, I am more reserved and am very creative. Yet I take my academics very seriously and wish to pursue Political Science. Because of this, my counselor pointed me in the direction of some of the US’s top liberal arts schools like Amherst, UChicago, and NYU. ISKL’s academics are what you make of it, really. The resources and faculty expertise are enough to see through students to Harvard, Oxford, Columbia and UPenn (as we do have recent alumni currently studying there). You just have to seek the challenge and be organized. If anything, the school has exposed me to a nurturing environment where I have to pursue the tough rigour myself. But once there, the knowledge is rewarding. If you’re interested in ISKL but the sticker price is a shocker, ISKL offers 2 full scholarships every year to enrol in the IBDP after sitting SPM.


Sonja Fei English

Sonja Fei English is a rising senior who is enrolled in the IBDP at the International School of Kuala Lumpur . She hopes to study Law in the UK or Political Science in the USA. She is a self-proclaimed Spotify addict and foodie—you will likely find her at a mamak stall over the weekends.

Choosing the right uni as a sponsored student (UK v. USA)

USA-UK

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I received the JPA Biasiswa Nasional scholarship right after SPM results were released. Since JPA wanted the scholarship recipients to inform them of our choice of course and country, I wrote that I wanted to pursue Actuarial Science in the US. That was before I started A-Level at Taylor’s College. However, I was actually undecided about my future career and hence degree course. But at that time I’d heard that the actuarial field was lucrative and US universities were “better” in that field, so that was why I chose them. Plus, I wasn’t too serious while making that decision because JPA told us that we could change the course and country choices afterwards.

Up until it was time to apply to universities, I still did not have a country or even course in mind. One thing was for sure, I had always known that I would at least apply to the UK, but whether or not I would attend a British university was another matter. So to apply to the UK, I needed to know exactly which degree I wanted to pursue. At first I “decided” to apply for Electrical Engineering. After some really long nights trying to come up with a personal statement to show my “passion” towards Electrical Engineering, the end product wound up sounding like a Physics or Materials Science application. That was really frustrating, so I backed up and thought long and hard about what I wanted to do with my life after school and what interests me the most. Long story short, I arrived at Mathematics and finally settled on it.

Now that I’d decided to study Mathematics, choosing which five UK universities to apply to was an easy task because there were only five UK universities on the Times Higher Education Top 50 Universities Ranking for Physical Sciences that year.

After submitting my UK application, I started to work on my application to University of California and Commonapp. The primary reason that got me interested in US universities was that they took about 70% of the entire Top 50 list. But later, as I learned more about US education and college life, I began to seriously consider them. Choosing a subject was not so much of a problem when applying to the US, because it is perfectly acceptable to apply as an Undeclared major. This was the main reason I eventually chose to go to a US university over a UK university.

The real headache when it comes to applying to US universities was choosing which schools to apply to. Since application fees are quite hefty, I limited the number of universities to five. The most important factor that narrowed my choices was how well-rounded the school was. I was looking for a school that has a solid reputation in not only math and sciences but also humanities and social sciences because I wanted to explore my interests in these areas and get a balanced education. I also looked at academic opportunities e.g. undergraduate research, the physical environment of the campus and the town surrounding it.

When it comes to game plan, I took nothing more than a realistic view. Generally, applicants are advised to apply to a few dream schools that are hard to get into, a few good schools that are less hard to get into, and a few safety schools that the applicant is very confident of getting into. But then hard and easy take on varying definitions to different people, and not everybody adheres to this general rule. As for me, I had already gotten a few offers from UK universities when I was choosing US schools to apply to, so I did not have to think of back-up schools and just chose five that I would definitely be happy to attend. I chose UC Berkeley, UC Los Angeles, Chicago, Cornell and Michigan. As for major, I applied as an Undeclared Physical Science major to the UCs, Statistics major to Chicago and Cornell, and Financial and Actuarial Mathematics major to Michigan.

On the first day of Chinese New Year, I was so happy to find out through email that I was admitted to Michigan. Then in late March through early April, I was admitted to UCLA and Cornell, but waitlisted by UCB and Chicago. I was eventually rejected by both these schools.

I chose UCLA by early May. As I said, I would love to attend any of the schools I applied to so finally coming to a decision was really hard. It came down to a battle between UCLA and Cornell, and the reasons that prompted my final decision were pretty trivial. One, I wanted to be in a big city yet have access to nature e.g. national parks so Los Angeles, California is perfect. While Ithaca has a lot of nature, it is not at all a big city. Two, it can get very cold in upstate New York where Cornell is during winter while the weather at LA is always warm and inviting. My scholarship also encouraged me to enter a Top 10 school because I would get to maintain my current benefits that included higher allowance rates. UCLA was in the Top 10 while Cornell was just outside. But the difference in allowance rates could easily be cancelled by the difference in living expenses between a big city and a smaller college town, so that didn’t play a huge part in my making the decision.

I’ve been in LA for a week now and I’ll say that I’ve definitely made a good call! The campus is gorgeous, the energy among students is inspiring and I can just see myself learn and grow here over these next few years. Although classes have not even started yet, I am excited for the adventures ahead.

Some final thoughts:

Although it is possible to apply with major undecided to US universities, it is good to know what you want to study and/or explore or at least have an idea of it. If you feel like you are passionate about everything but nothing in particular, take concrete actions to find out where your passions lie a little more specifically. It helps not only your application but also self-development to have more specificity and depth to your interests, instead of merely having breadth.

At first, you might feel that it is impossible for you to get into a good university, due to perhaps unreal expectations of university admissions, low confidence or just pessimism. You might give up applying to some universities just because you think you don’t stand a chance or because you need to write a lot of application essays. Don’t let these be reasons for you not chasing your dream.


Yeong Wern Yeen

Yeong Wern Yeen is a JPA scholar who will be going to University of California, Los Angeles this fall. She likes to indulge unapologetically in good food, all sorts of films (especially sci-fi and fantasy) and music, the company of friends and adventures! She is also co-founder and one of the site managers of CollegeLAH.

BNM Kijang Scholarship (January Intake)

Sasana Kijang

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Ever thought of acquiring a scholarship from the Central Bank of Malaysia, Bank Negara Malaysia (henceforth referred to as BNM), that not only covers pre-university education but extends to degree level as well?

Traditionally, BNM’s application only opens after the announcement of SPM results in the beginning of March. So it was as unexpected to me as to everyone else when we were informed that Bank Negara was offering the scholarship before SPM had even commenced. The selection process involved going through an interview process in December after our SPM ended in November with only our trial results.

As far as I know, this application could only be done through the school, and students who applied were mostly nominated by their teachers. Together with my other three peers, I applied for the scholarship using trial results and a compilation of certificates.

If you are aiming for the scholarships after SPM or other relevant qualifications, a piece of advice is to be actively involved in co-curricular activities that you enjoy and would potentially benefit you, alongside a good academic performance throughout your secondary education. Taking part in competitions, events, and sport tournaments, especially in your final years of secondary school, can set you apart from other applicants with your own unique talents and ‘flavour’.                                      

The notice that I was shortlisted for the interview came in early December, not long after SPM ended. Before the interview, we were required to do an online IQ assessment which consisted of these few sections:

1) Dimensions (Personality)

This assessment measures your behavioural preferences at work. It explores how you prefer to manage your relationships with others, your approach to tasks, and your sources of energy and motivation.

2) Elements (Verbal)

This assessment measures your analytical reasoning skills in relation to interpreting written information and reports.

3) Elements (Numerical)

This assessment measures your analytical reasoning skills in relation to using figures, data and statistics.

4) Elements (Logical)

This assessment measures your reasoning skills in relation to understanding and manipulating abstract or logical symbols.

In mid-December, I attended the interview along with two peers who were shortlisted. The interview process was largely similar to the usual interview process that commences every year in April-June after SPM results are released. We were provided accommodation in Lanai Kijang, BNM’s effectively private 5-star hotel, for three days and two nights (the duration of the interviews).

1st Day:

My first task was a half-hour essay which asked me about my thoughts and passion towards the course I chose, Law, and essentially, how I would contribute to the bank through my expertise in it. From my inference, this stage evaluates your thought process in structuring your essay and giving reasons that support your claim about your passion towards the course. Your aims in contributing to the bank should illustrate how you plan to apply and practise what you have gained from your degree in fulfilling the bank’s policies and aims when you serve your bond in the bank. My suggestion is to be realistic but optimistic when stating your views/ideas; don’t worry about using bombastic language that might sound overly flowery which you might use incorrectly in the end.

2nd Day:

The second stage was carried out in Sasana Kijang, BNM’s learning/research centre. We were divided into groups of 7 in which we worked throughout the day. The first few rounds were judged by three ‘facilitators’ who were also the assessors. The first round was an ice-breaking session that allowed me to know my teammates better, including their origin, course of choice etc. Speaking from experience, do grab the chance of this session to establish good rapport among yourselves and leave the assessors with a good first impression of yourself, especially when you work your way through dismantling the barriers among peers.

The following few rounds involved working as a team. One of them was a role play session when each of us was assigned a role in a company, whereby we were supposed to perform our respective expertise by drafting policies that were aimed to gain high profits for the company, and at the same time, increase welfare of the citizens. After completing the task within the stipulated time, I was bombarded with questions from the assessors who role-played as the board of directors about the drawbacks of the policies we had just drafted as a team. In the midst of convincing the BOD of your policies and defending your ideas, it is imperative that you are able to think critically while remaining calm and composed. Do bear in mind to show humility and respect to your teammates and assessors when expressing your views as the attitude you adopt in problem-solving and teamwork could be a deciding factor. Also make sure that you give adequate speaking opportunities to your teammates and always understand that your efforts should be collective and invariably for the greater good of the team as a whole. Remember that dominance does not equate to leadership.

The subsequent rounds comprised of competitions with other groups, judged by a larger number of assessors. Our first project was to design a theme park that could generate the highest revenue possible. If memory serves, one of the other winning criteria was best design. Like all the other rounds, it is important to choose a leader among yourselves who can lead the team to ensure efficiency and unity. As a leader, it is important that you embrace the opinions of your teammates before coming to a decision quickly. Go ahead and assume this responsibility if you are elected by your teammates who think that you possess these qualities. And if you are not the leader, fret not because it would not affect your chances of showcasing your abilities by contributing to the group as part of the team.

The next challenge was to build a boat that could support the most number of marbles without sinking into the water. The challenge in this project was not just deciding on the design of the body of the boat but also carefully planning our expenditure on the materials that could be optimally utilised to keep the boat afloat as we had to build the boat with minimal cost. We then made a presentation of our model by explaining the features of our boat and analysing on how well it worked.

3rd Day:

We had to do an individual presentation of a topic assigned to us. My topic was regarding how we can encourage children in Malaysia to think about personal finance and managing their money wisely. Firstly, we were given some time to illustrate and write the content of our presentation on a few pieces of mahjong paper. We then had to present it to a new set of assessors individually. Likewise, the assessors questioned us thoroughly about the content we were presenting about and expected to see a positive and spontaneous response. STAY CALM because candidates usually panic when they face the assessors alone. Ideally, by the third day you should be rather “experienced” in performing under pressure without being hindered by anxiety. Give it your best shot!

Through this stage, the interviewers generally want to know about what you have gained from previous stages, the reason of you choosing the course, and how suited are you for the scholarship and working in the bank. They expect honest and well-explained answers from you, so just be yourself when doing that.

The entire interview experience was enriching and definitely something worth a try. This exposure to an intensive interview process enabled me to pick up essential interview skills and know what qualities are expected of me in interviews. Making preparations before the interview is advisable, in the sense that you read up on the philosophy of their function as the Central Bank and also think of the reasons why you have chosen the course. This does not mean that you memorise scripts before the interview because this tactic would not work most of the time. It may cause you to be too rigid in making spontaneous response when you are being interviewed.   

After being awarded the scholarship, I joined the January intake at Kolej Tuanku Jaafar, doing an 18-month A-levels course. It is a great college to be in and I am extremely grateful to the bank for granting me this opportunity. Although being a January intake student for A-levels is a challenging task, it is a fun experience and I am enjoying the time I am having now. As there are expectations to be met as a Bank scholar, my advice is to appreciate your time when doing your A-levels and this effort will definitely pay off and bear fruits of success. As a matter of fact, Bank scholars are required to gain entry into the top-notch universities Bank Negara lists out. Hence, be wise when selecting your priorities and do not waver in your determination of achieving what you have set out for. Make the journey worth it at the end of the day as you have attained what could be a dream every student would have – a free education in a prestigious university abroad.

I hope this article is useful in giving you inspirations and insights into attending a scholarship interview be it in Bank Negara or other scholarship avenues. “STUDY SMART and PLAY HARD”- a meaningful catch phrase from high school.

ALL THE BEST!!!


 

si-qi

Si Qi Chung is currently doing A-Levels in Kolej Tuanku Ja’afar as a January intake and will hopefully read Law in the United Kingdom. She is a curious and eager learner and will pursue what she finds interesting. This aspiring lawyer is also a great watercolour painter who has won numerous awards.