When considering scholarships, it can be tempting to only consider the short-term benefits. These include the value of the award, how much of your education will be paid for, and any additional stipends and allowances.
However, focusing solely on your educational prospects and financial gains is missing the big picture. It is important to look beyond the bond towards your long-term career goals. A scholarship is much more than simply a means to higher education, it spells great gains for your career as well!
Scholars are expected to become leaders and game-changers, so you will be groomed right from the start with an accelerated path to greater opportunities and a detailed career roadmap. Many scholars start with internships and experience days even before university begins, giving them a head start in forming professional connections and gaining on-the-ground experience. In our interviews, scholars often quoted being promoted to managerial level positions soon after joining their organisations, or being headhunted for big projects and new initiatives. In contrast, a fresh jobseeker may work for years before reaching such heights.
Mentors and a collaborative support network also count amongst a scholar’s career blessings. Without the scholarship, a fresh jobseeker may take years to find and form such professional connections. On the contrary, scholars are often linked up with scholars’ communities and attached to a mentor from the get-go, providing them direction and encouragement as they take their first steps.
There is also career freedom to consider. As part of the career roadmap above, you can expect to be rotated to different departments to be exposed to a variety of roles and gain a more comprehensive overview of your organisation. The autonomy you will be given to chart your own growth will shape you into an independent thinker and learner. Thus empowered, you may lead your own career from strength to strength.
It is important to note that you benefit whether you leave the organisation or not. For whatever reason, you may choose to follow a different path after finishing your bond. Rest assured that your achievements will not end with your tenure with the organisation. As s scholar, your reputation precedes you – any prospective employer will know that you have been groomed by your previous organisation for a leadership role, with skills and capabilities to match. Your scholarship is a mark of academic and career excellence that follows you everywhere, making you a highly sought-after employee.
So, if you hesitate to apply out of fear of a long bond period or being “trapped”, lay those fears to rest. Instead, look at the offers as opportunities instead. A scholarship will continue to benefit you throughout your career.