The good news is: both public and private sector scholarships
are not set to be affected by Covid-19, and sponsoring organisations are still
on the lookout for people to groom.
However, the impact of Covid-19 has made some character
traits more necessary for future scholars than ever. In our talks with
sponsoring organisations like GIC, CAG and IRAS, executives noted changes in
the kind of scholar they want to see.
Beyond the basics like being a Singaporean/PR, what sort of
skills and character traits should you highlight on your BrightSparks application? We’ve found
Data technology and analytics
The pandemic has thrown the importance of digitisation into the spotlight like never before, as working from home is the “new normal” and retail moved largely online. In keeping with these changes, organisations are likely to look for candidates with a keen interest in IT and technology. URA, for example, confirmed that it had offered more scholarships in computer and data science.
Beyond simply wanting to study technology, organisations are on the lookout for people who want to contribute to the world through innovation and digitisation. Successful scholars shared with us that their interviewers were impressed with projects they had completed in school, IT solutions they had implemented during camps or internships, and other proof of advancement in the digital realm.
Intellectual curiosity and agility
Changi Airport Group (CAG) mentioned in a Straits Times article that having agility and intellectual curiosity, specifically in the area of data and technology, has come to the forefront in its scholarship selection process. "Covid-19 has brought about a huge digital transformation in the workplace, and it is important for our next generation of talents to be able to adapt and stay relevant to a digital future that is fast-changing and also more data-centric," CAG said.
If you’re not thinking of studying data science, don’t lose heart! An inquiring mind is a necessity for any scholar, not just one in the technology field. Sponsoring organisations want people who love to explore their chosen field of study, and are willing to delve deep into whatever interests them.
Are you involved in a club or CCA, and what do you look into on your off-time? Today’s scholars are a well-rounded bunch, always eager to take up something new. Alongside their studies, many of them attended educational camps and workshops, or actively sought our internships and work experience.
Problem-solving and leadership skills
The world after Covid-19 is full of question marks. As scholarships are meant for leaders, organisations are looking for those who want to take charge and help the world get back on its feet.
Someone who has demonstrated leadership capability and the ability to think on his or her feet is the kind of person an organisation wants to invest in today.
So, while it can be tempting to list only your accomplishments when writing your self-introduction or during your interview, it’s a good idea to include some examples of quick-thinking and fast reactions as well. How did you deal with the unexpected and unknown? Sponsoring organisations definitely want to know if you’re capable of the management-level positions they’ll want to track you for.
Covid-19 has affected the world deeply, and scholarship offerings are also feeling its impact. Be prepared to face what is coming both during the application and in life!