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Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Interview with Bank Negara Malaysia Scholarship Recipients

Name: Ammar Faris
Age: 21
Institution: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC)
Course: Computer Engineering
Scholarship awarded: Bank Negara Malaysia

Tell us why you chose that particular body to apply for a scholarship.
My strategy was to apply for as many scholarships as I could. I believe the bodies/companies that I applied to, Bank Negara Malaysia being one of them, have good reputations and funding. Besides, Bank Negara is the Central Bank of Malaysia and therefore makes it a good place to start a career after graduation.

Why apply for a scholarship?
Studying abroad costs a lot of money. Coming from a middle-class family and having a number of siblings, my parents could not afford to pay the expensive four-year tuition fees and other related fees. Why burden your parents when you have the chance to at least try your best to receive a scholarship?

What does it take to be a recipient of the particular scholarship?
I would say that at least to get to the interview stage you have to have a good academic standing (good scores in SPM) plus you have to be active in at least one or two extra-curricular activities and hold one or two leadership positions. Self-confidence, quick and smart decision-making, team work, and great English speaking skills are the vital attributes needed in order to succeed in the interview.

How did you find out about it?
I found out about it through the newspapers and online.

How did you apply for it? (obtained forms online, did you have to pay for the form, etc.)
I applied for it online without paying any fees.

What was the application procedure?
Wait until the application is open (usually right after the SPM results are announced). They will advertise on the website as well as in the main newspapers. Then, go to the link that is provided in the newspapers, or go to their main website (www.bnm.gov.my) and find the link that directs you to the application page. You have to create an account at the application page. Then, you key in your details which include basic information about yourself, your academic grades, extra-curricular and leadership positions, and other relevant details. After that, you submit the information and wait for Bank Negara to contact you if you are shortlisted.

Describe the interview process.
It is a little bit different from MARA and JPA since it has more than just the basic interview component. The Bank Negara interview consisted of four parts – the individual presentation, a group presentation, an interview (three interviewers to one interviewee), and two written essays (one in English and one in BM).

What were your preparations for the interview?
I have attended one or two interviews prior to my Bank Negara interview and thus, I considered that as one of my preparations. Moreover, I did some research pertaining to Bank Negara which included its mission, role and functions and its business areas. Knowing more about the company makes it easier for you if they ask a company-related question(s). Besides, before the interview, I role-played with my friends and family members. I also searched for useful information on the Internet such as interview tips and dress code. Not forgetting my final preparation (the night before the interview) – the outfit that I was going to wear, compiling all my certificates and documents that I was going to bring in a file and directions to the venue of the interview.

During the interview, be sure to…
Be calm and don’t panic. Yes, I felt nervous too. But let me put it this way; the other candidates were also nervous. You just have to try your best. Be sure to address the interviewers/officers accordingly. Make sure that you follow the instructions specified by the interviewers. Smile and be polite always (to everyone).

Be sure NOT to…
Be late. Dress improperly. Show disrespect to the interviewers or your teammates/other interviewees.

Interviewee ethics?
Be punctual! Dress appropriately, address interviewers correctly, don’t sit without asking for permission or without receiving a “please sit” from the interviewers.

Advice for those who don’t get the scholarship.
Chill!!! It is not the end of the world. There are always other scholarships available out there. I advise you to apply to as many scholarships as you can. Make sure you also apply for JPA or MARA since they provide more scholarships which will give you a higher chance of getting one. Besides, you can always apply for a scholarship while studying at local universities. If you are yearning to study abroad, you can try applying after your STPM or Matriculation.

Do take note that it does not matter where you study, what really matters is your education and how you cope and ace it and how it will affect your future.

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