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Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Post-SPM, Post-Grad - Fujitsu Asia Pacific Scholarship - Diploma and MBA (Oahu, Hawaii)

Want to spend 3 months or a year in the beautiful island of Oahu, Hawaii? Read on then. This is an opportunity most suitable for school leavers with at least one year of work experience, though a candidate of 3-5 years work experience would stand a greater chance for the scholarship, especially for the MBA selection. Though, I always believe if you submit a well written personal statement with a striking first paragraph, the scholarship committee would always spend a little more time to read the application further and may decide to grant the applicant the chance to convince them of his/her competence at the interview. And I know the dean who will be in the scholarship selection committee and she does select based on her gut feeling.

JAIMS Scholarship
Every year, a scholarship is given to a Malaysian to pursue either a 3 month leadership and business diploma course ICMP (Intercultural Management Program) in JAIMS, Oahu with a 5 day tour of Fujitsu facilities in Tokyo, or a 15 month MBA postgraduate degree in University of Hawaii at Manoa, Oahu that comes with a 3 month internship in either China or Japan and later a 1 week graduation ceremony in Tokyo. There have been instances where two Malaysians are chosen in a year, one for the ICMP program and another for the MBA program. Also, if there is unfortunately no promising candidate for that year, the selection committee will select more candidates from other South East Asian countries. The scholarship comes with airfare to and fro, a monthly allowance and books for your program. Check out more information at this website.

This scholarship was started in 1985 to commemorate Fujitsu's 50th anniversary. By selecting bright and team oriented students from Asia, the program is enriched by diversity. Both the ICMP and MBA program is coordinated by an education organization named JAIMS (Japan America Institute of Management Science) established by Fujitsu in Oahu, Hawaii as a training ground for East-West exposure. Check out the JAIMS website.

The ICMP and MBA programs
The ICMP program is a program that is well attended by many Fujitsu employees from Japan to learn American management skills as well as an opportunity to study abroad and improve their English skills. The group is comprised of around 30-40 students. It is an intensive program of day and sometimes night classes, packed with many presentation sessions and hands on learning. All classes are held in a nice school in suburban and beautiful Oahu.

The MBA program of which I am a recipient of the scholarship for 2004/2005 has a Japan or China portion that the applicant needs to select to specialise in. This is not just a financial MBA program, but it comes with a 1 year intensive language program in either the Mandarin or Japanese language. If you are already well versed in Mandarin, the dean will advise you to take the Japanese classes, but you can still choose to specialise your MBA as a China focused MBA and take the Chinese portion subjects such as Chinese Marketing, Chinese Law or Chinese Management and then later do your internship in China. For me, I took the Japan focused MBA and studied from scratch my nihongo and later did my internship in Tokyo for 3 months. I am currently working in Tokyo since December 2005 after my graduation to take advantage of the economic growth in Tokyo. Check out my photo blog of life in Hawaii and Japan here.

To qualify for the MBA, one needs to take the GMAT exam and this is what differentiates the applicant for the ICMP program and the MBA program. The GMAT exam is an entrance exam for most business schools, though sometimes, the selection committee may consider a GRE entrance exam score if you have one already or if a scheduled GMAT test date is not possible. An applicant for the ICMP program only need to demonstrate that he or she has completed a degree.

Let me go into a little more detail about entrance exams for MBA courses. Most business schools would want to assess the quantitative and English language skills of the applicant. This ensures the prospective student is able to handle accounting and finance subjects as well as subjects that require critical thinking offered by the business school. The exam would have a section with A-levels (pre university) mathematical questions and some IQ questions. There would also be essay writing and comprehension. To read more about GMAT, go here. GRE is a more general entrance exam for any discipline. Hence, some business schools may be strict on the requirement for prospective students to take GMAT instead of GRE. Check out the website.

Tips on Applying
I have noticed that most recipients of the scholarship for the MBA portion demonstrate that they have an international exposure, preferably from their work or a pleasant personality to withstand the 1 year intensive drill which is shorter than the average length of a MBA program. The group is comprised of 40-50 students and there are many students from USA in the program who have plans to specialise in Asia.

I thought it would be helpful to list the attributes that the scholarship selection committee may be eyeing.

1. Job experience - while anywhere above 1 year may be desirable, I have a feeling any experience that adds value to your knowledge of the working world will count. The committee may be less strict on applicants for the ICMP program. So, if you share that you have part time work experience during your vacation and possess other attributes in this list, you may well qualify depending on the competition of capable candidates for that year.

2. Team builder and mentor - to be able to motivate others, have a kind outlook towards helping others in the team in their assignments and working together well to achieve team objectives. There will be certain members in the team who may have weaker English language abilities and if you impress the selection committee to be a person who is kind, helpful and cheerful, you may fit in well deserve a scholarship.

3. Leadership skills and participation in extra curricular activities - this would demonstrate team building contributions.

4. Overseas exposure - working in projects or participating in extra curricular activities outside Malaysia. This demonstrates the ability to work in cross cultural settings.

5. Language abilities - demonstrate your abilities even in Chinese dialects and any previous endeavours to study other foreign languages (even if it was a small endeavor).

It was a beautiful 15 months for me in both Hawaii and Japan. While University of Hawaii at Manoa is not one of the top USA universities, it has good resources in studies in Asia. The school at JAIMS has good connections with Japanese and Chinese companies which can land you a good internship and maybe a good career after that. Hawaii is not only a beautiful island, but also a land of peaceful coexistence with the environment, tolerant of diversity and different ethnicities and it has been successful in coming up with many researches for mainland USA. I managed to save enough from my scholarship allowance to visit the other islands in Hawaii besides the main island of Oahu which proved to be a worthwhile experience. Also, I participated in many co-curricular activities in the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Read about my business plan competition win at the JAIMS website here.

Feel free to write to me after reading the materials on this website. All the best! Carpe Diem!

by Philip Lee Chee Hoong


Philip Lee, an ex-Sea Parkian, is currently working as a Business Analyst in an IT consulting firm in Tokyo. He has various interests, including publishing research papers for international conferences to attending networking events and meeting new friends in Tokyo. You can contact him at philchlee[at]gmail[dot]com.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Philip,

Finally, its good to learn that you were previously the Fujitsu Asia Pacific Malaysian scholar. It's quite hard for me to trace down previous scholars from Malaysia - after series of search on the net. Moreover, I am interested to apply for the 2007-2008 programme. Based on the infomation I secured from the website, the advertisement on the scholarship announcement would only be available sometime on July 2006.

I have two (2) questions here and hope you could assist me on this. First, I am a little bit confused to choose the appropriate programme, whether ICMP or Japan Focused MBA. Both seems to be interesting.For your information, I have an LLB (Hons) background, called to the Malaysian Bar and now working in a leading ICT Public Listed Company, First Board on Bursa Malaysia. I have six (6) years of working experience. Now, heading the Compliance, Risk Management and Corporate Secretarial portfolio of the Group. My question is, does the MBA programme permit the enrolment of an applicant who has a legal background and how did the Scholars scored in their GMAT (on average score)during your batch?

Second, how many Malaysian applicants applied for Japan Focused MBA in your batch? Also, could you give some tips with regards to the interview?

You may also e-mail to me your response at noriswadi@heitech.com.my

Many thanks in advance.

3:16 PM

Blogger enghan said...

Dear Noriswadi

I thought it would be good to publish your question and my reply. The decision between ICMP and MBA will depend on whether you want a qualification of a shorter business/leadership program or a MBA program. The opportunity cost to a MBA program would be 15 months of no salary from your current job, delayed plans to any particular plans you may have back home, being away from friends and family for a longer period and a slight change to your 6 years of stable work environment to a student life once again. The benefits on the other hand include a tangible MBA degree, an experience of working on tough assignments and a string of deadlines with a group of international classmates for 15 months, the challenge of living abroad 2 foreign countries and to master a new foreign language, building your character over these experiences of working together and participating in various value adding activities and realising that 15 months is not so long after all.

1. The GMAT qualifies you automatically for the MBA program regardless of your background. In fact, there is a law subject in the program and depending whether you do the JEMBA or CHEMBA, it will either be Chinese Law and Japanese Law that you will be majoring. As long as you have an ambition to master business and management (which is what MBA is about), the dean will in fact value your background that will add value to the diversity of the group. Which ever industry you come from, be it IT, trading, finance, law, manufacturing or sciences, you will benefit your classmates with your expertise and in turn learn from them. Do not worry about the GMAT score. Just do your best and prepare from now till October and you will do fine. Even if your score is not excellent, you may have other strengths that you can offer at the interview table if there are not too many applicants that year.

2. I do not know how many applications came in from Malaysia for 2004 but there were 4 who were called for interview and I was the only applicant who applied for the MBA program. As the candidates were promising in 2004, 2 were selected in 2004, one for ICMP and the other for the JEMBA program. On tips, just be yourself. The dean will be seeing you for the next 15 months anyway. So, better not fool her in being someone else. Emphasize your strengths such as your background and how you do well in your work and industry, your international exposure if any - through work or through your previous education, any activities you participate in currently or back in school, what are your interests and passion in life, how well you work with others and how you will cope the 15 months condensed MBA program. Most importantly, belief in yourself. Everyone can do well if they put in their best as all of us have unique strengths in us! All the best!

Philip Lee

2:56 AM


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