A British diplomat shared with young Vietnamese last weekend what he thought to be the key to winning a prestigious scholarship offered by the UK government, pointing out some of the candidates’ misunderstandings.
British Consul General Ian Gibbons said on the sidelines of the ‘Leader from Below’ workshop, organized by the British Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh City on January 12, that Vietnamese candidates tend not to fully understand what Chevening looks for in its two main requirements: leadership and influencing skills.
Chevening is the UK government's international awards scheme. It is understood that applicants have to have two main qualities: leadership and influencing skills.
It is a common belief among many Vietnamese applicants that a leader must be a person on top of an organization.
However, this appears to be unconvincing for Consul General Gibbons.
“Mostly those that I know at the top of an organization would say the whole company are leaders,” he said.
“You can be a leader in every single aspect of the work you do in the company, because without a leader you don’t have a team, and without a team you don’t have an effective organization.”
The diplomat added that Vietnam has a huge talent pool, with the number of high-quality applications and the number of potential achievers having both gone up.
To meet Chevening requirements, an individual does not need to be one of the best candidates in their field, but has to be someone able to prove their leadership and influence.
These qualities are somehow different from the youth’s concept of a strong competitor for scholarships, Gibbons said.
Some speakers, who are Chevening fellowship alumni, said at the workshop that applicants should be clear-headed about how they can contribute to their society, and how the program can help them.
“I think it’s just about the right moment, right time, and right person. I think the Chevening Scholarship Committee or other scholarship committees are looking for the most suitable one, not the best one,” said Nguyen Nhu Ngoc, a 2015-2016 Chevener.
She advised young people to research the criteria of each scholarship they want to apply for, and try to prove that they have met all the criteria.
Several other speakers delivered the same message that each applicant must show consistency in their study and work schemes.