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Tuesday, November 29, 2005

SPM, Overseas, Local, Scholarship - Petronas-MISC Scholarship

Although I am under MISC scholarship, confusion often arises as I am not really under MISC. MISC is a subsidiary of Petronas, and I applied for my current scholarship through Petronas. When I am asked on how I obtain my current scholarship, my answer, in a short version will be, “Well, it has never been easy.” The long version is this:

It was after my SPM Trial Exam. Application for Petronas Scholarship was open shortly after the application for Matriculation began. It was a busy period: to apply for Matrics and also to cram for SPM and now, Petronas Scholarship. This period is actually testing the students on time management. Game-playing time should be minimized, if not totally cancelled at this time.

Petronas Scholarship is NOT a scholarship; a better word to describe it is sponsorship. This means that the scholarship is given in the form of a convertible loan. If you obtain a good result in Pre-U level and make it to one of the universities of their choice, the sponsorship will be continued. If you fail to achieve that (which rarely happens), your sponsorship will be terminated and you will have to pay back whatever you owe Petronas. The same concept applies when you graduate from the university. Although the placement rate is high, disappointing results in the university exam will result in the termination of the sponsorship and the same consequences follow. However, if they assign you a job in Petronas, your sponsorship will be automatically turned into a scholarship (which means you don’t have to pay back a cent) but you have to work for them until your bonding period ends. If you resign before that, the same consequences will follow.

For Petronas Scholarship, everything matters. They require a whole lot of information from you: Total siblings, parents’ income, extra-curricular activities, positions, achievements, parents’ occupation, results (of course), your preferred course and more. If any or both of your parents are Petronas employees, I don’t think I have to tell you what to do. Your parents will be faster than me. Your chance will be much higher than others. However, your results will still have to shine. There are two intakes for the scholarship: October or March the following year. Let’s start with the October version.

Application for Petronas Scholarship in October will require your SPM Trial/Forecast Exam results. If you think you have a favourable results (ie. All A1s in their chosen subjects) then by all means, go for it. If not, I think it’s a better idea to wait for next year. In my year, Petronas lists down 5 subjects they see as important or essential: English, Modern Mathematics, Additional Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry and I don’t it has changed. From unconfirmed news, for new applications from October 2006, an A in BM is a prerequisite. However, there is no absolute truth in this statement yet. Please find out. Although what matters the most is the five subjects, Petronas still looks for applicants with many As as possible. For every A1, you get a point. A2 will be 2 points, B3 = 3 points and so on. For overseas application, you must not get more than 10 points (ie. At least an A2 in all 5 subjects). For local scholarships (UTP), you must not get more than 15 points (ie. At least a B3 in all 5 subjects). As it will be very competitive, getting 5 points will give the applicant an extra edge when it comes to selection for interview. However, bear in mind that it’s not an automatic qualification for interview offer. It will also depend on your preferred course (i.e. first choice). If you choose engineering courses (and you like it too), chances are that you will be called for interview. On the other hand, if you applied for medicine course, your chance of being called for interview will be very slim even if your results are excellent. Courses offered by Petronas are (as of now):

a) Engineering (Local/Overseas) - Civil, Mechanical, Chemical, Petroleum
b) Marine Engineering / Naval Architecture (Overseas)
c) Business (Overseas) – Economics, Accounting, Business Studies
d) IT and IT Management (Local/Overseas)
e) Geology / Geoscience (Overseas)
f) Medicine (Overseas) – Very limited

Course (b) is awarded by MISC Bhd, a shipping corporation. However, it is not awarded on a yearly basis. It will only be awarded when there’s a need for marine engineers or naval architects. It may not be available at your year.

Extra-curricular activities (ECA) are very important. ECA achievements and positions will prove a candidate’s leadership and involvements in school. Apparently, Petronas is looking for all-rounded individuals and the best part is this: they are not only looking for students good academically but also in ECA.

When you are selected, you will be invited to Educamp, their selection camp in their university, Universiti Teknologi Petronas (UTP). It will be held normally in December, depending on when SPM ends. The interview will be incorporated into a three-day-camp.

The camp is the interview itself. Starting from your first step into UTP, you are being evaluated by every eye looking. So, try to refrain yourself from being degraded. There will be some group activities after the opening ceremony and these activities are testing you in various ways being providing fun. As leadership skills are very important, Petronas places high hopes on confident applicant. So, step out of the comfort zone and show them that you can lead!

At the interview session, there will be an individual case-study session and a group discussion, mainly on the same case. During the individual case study, it is best to give your views with reference to current issues and also be very logical. Do not pause for too long or express views with a sad face. During the group discussion, it will be better if you give way to others to speak too rather than dominating the discussion. Try to show that you can motivate a good discussion leading to a consensus. Be everybody’s heroes. During the individual session, you will be given a time of 10 minutes to communicate with one/two interviewers. Actual length of time is not important but a short (<7 minutes) individual session may denote that you have not given enough. The group discussion will follow for 40 minutes (4/5 members in a group).

After the interview on the third day, it’s goodbye time. Results will be out by the final week of December (for my year, it’s 30 Dec) and successful applicants will have to leave as early as the first week of January. They will be sent to do preparatory programmes in various colleges.

For those who failed the first application despite being selected for the interview and doing well in it, don’t despair! I was exactly in that position. Having failed my application to study Economics, I thought that there’s no more hope but there’s re-application after the release of SPM results in March. Application process for June intake will begin in March and it’s exactly the same with the October version. However, application in October is open to MRSM, SBP and some selected national school students only. Application in March is open to everybody. Applicants who failed to secure the scholarship will be considered again upon re-application. However, this only applies to applicants who were selected for interview in December. For applicants who didn’t grab it at the first shot, once again, don’t despair! You stand an equal chance with others. I am a living example: I got the scholarship through re-application (I changed my course though). Re-application and October application results can be obtained from the website (NOT Petronas official website, but http://esuonline.petronas.com.my).

For Petronas, “yes” means yes, “no” means no. There’s no “maybe”. Unlike JPA, the term “appeal” is not in Petronas’s dictionary, which I think can reduce their headaches.

Now, I am in Taylor’s College, under a scholarship like no other: MISC/Petronas. Their welfare is fabulous:
a) Tuition fee and all other college fees - All paid for.
b) Allowance for 3 months - RM 1,075
c) Books allowance - RM 300 (per every year of Pre-U sponsorship, not calendar year)

It is actually quite enough if you use it well. Also, under this scholarship you will feel the sense of belonging. Looking forward to see all of you achieving your personal goals as well.

Albert Khor is currently doing his A-Levels in Taylor's College. He is going to be studying Marine Engineering in the United Kingdom under the MISC scholarship. He applied for 8 scholarships in total after his SPM exams and went through numerous rejections and disappointments. He admits that he is very blessed now. Contact him at khor_albert at yahoo dot com


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Albert,
If I am accepted as a petronas scholar to do engineering in UTP in the Jan intake, would I be able to convert the sponsorship to overseas program if my actual SPM results meet the requrement?( Based on forecast result,I'm only eligible for the local program)

7:53 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear anonymous,

If you have shown great improvement in your actual SPM results (ie getting at least A2s for the 5 critical subjects and commendable grades for the others), you may actually convert to overseas programme. However, take note that you may have to attend an interview or something like that. And make sure you have CONVINCING reasons for the switch. If you are thinking of switching your current course to an "overseas-only" course such as economics or geology, it's not impossible as well though not easy.

If I were you, I will go ahead and take a try for the scholarship. Application in March is much harder to get through than October's application.

All the best!


10:09 AM

Anonymous Benjie said...

Hi Albert, I was just wondering what qualities PETRONAS look in candidates? I was selected by my school to apply for the Petronas Forecast Intake, but I failed to get it. In fact, of all 30 top-achievers in my school, only 2 manage to be shortlisted and called for interview. I scored 10A1s and 1A2(chinese) in my trial, I was a President in the Student Welfare Council, a candidate for Msia-Italy Youth Exchange, but quite lack in sport. Maybe I should try my luck next year since there's no appeal.

12:38 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Benjie,

I was rather sad that a good student such as you fail to secure the interview. However, you should start to realise the paradox in scholarship applications. Some worthy ones were not appreciated and some unworthy ones are appreciated - human error.

You should try again next year - but then I "don't think" that they will open the application next year to rejected applicants this year. However, you must try and hopefully, I am wrong.

As far as I know, they are looking for all-rounded individuals. Individuals who represented their school in sports, competitions and hold various leadership positions. You may not be surprised to know that there are hundreds of such students across the country. And you are one of them. Top-achievers are not the only criteria. For my year, only 4 from my school including me being called for interview - ranked 7th, 8th, 12th and 13th. I am ranked seventh in my school.

You can email me at khor_albert@yahoo.com if you have other enquiries.

All the best in your future endeavours.


11:59 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi Albert,
can i apply this schorlarship to study business in local collenge?cuz ur requirement 'oversea'.So hope can get ur good news as soon as posible.Thank you !

2:16 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

hye albert..
i went to the educamp last december, but failed to get the scholarship. you said that there's re-appication for people like me. i just want to know if i want to apply once again for the scholarship, do i have to undergo another educamp or no. thank you.

3:51 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

For the question sent on 2:16pm,

I am sorry to inform you that it's not possible to do that. If you do get business scholarship, you will be required to do a foundation programme locally and the degree programme overseas. It comes in a package, so you can't just apply to study in a local college.

I hope that answers your question.

4:38 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

hello, may i know how to apply for the march application? do they advertise the forms on newspapers? if yes, what newspaper is it and around when will they advertise? is it before or after our spm results are released?

1:23 PM

Blogger nakedwriter said...

may i know how do i apply for it? the SPM results is just out. thanks

10:48 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

hello albert! i'm just wondering, during the interview, if they ask me whether i have any questions to ask them. What sort of questions do i ask?

9:49 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

hurmm.. I've applied twice (trial n spm results) for the petronas scholarship but I had been rejected twice! i got straight As for trials n straight A1s for the spm. I've also got considerable involvement in ECA (i.e invention competition) but still I'm not selected even for the educamp and interview. Now i think that this application is by luck only. petronas randomnly choose people they wanted. Not only me though but my friends who are better than me in terms of academic and eca were also not selected...

5:38 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi albert..
I was accepted as petronas scholar;petroleum engineering in UTM Johor for intake July 06..
quite similar question, will I be able to convert my program from local to oversea?
if yes, in what way?
I really need your help..

12:52 AM


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