The good news is: both public and private sector scholarships were not affected by Covid-19, and sponsoring organisations are still on the lookout for people to groom.
However, the impact of the pandemic has made some character traits more necessary for future scholars than ever. In our talks with sponsoring organisations like GIC, Changi Airport Group (CAG) and Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS), executives noted that they had revised some of the things they look for in scholars moving forward.
Beyond the basics like being a Singaporean/PR, what sort of skills and character traits should you highlight on your BrightSparks application? Here are some must-haves.
Data technology and analytics
The pandemic has thrown the importance of digitisation into the spotlight like never before, as working from home became the “new normal” and many retailers moved 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
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. Other organisations are also on the lookout for those who take a keen interest in the world around them and how things work.
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 future is always full of question marks, arguably now so more than ever. As scholarships are meant for leaders, organisations are looking for those who want to take charge and make a real impact in people's lives.
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 may be tempting to list only your accomplishments when writing your self-introduction or during your interview, it may be 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 are capable of the management-level positions they want to track you for.
The world is moving ever to the future, and scholarship offerings are also changing with the times. Be prepared to face what is coming both during the application and in life!