I am Mohd Farhan Bryan, 18, a Yayasan Sime Darby Scholarship recipient for the year 2020. The goal of my sharing here is to help anyone who might read this article, especially those who will be applying for this scholarship. I hope that, by sharing my experiences, it could help you get a better picture on how to increase your chances in securing YSD.
Just a short briefing, the process of applying for Yayasan Sime Darby Scholarship consists of 4 stages which are :
- Document submission
- Online Test
- Case Study
- Final Interview
Preparing for the Digital Shift : Navigating an Online Selection Process
Bear in mind that we are currently living through a pandemic. Everything including scholarship applications were done online. This is a major difference with the past. Therefore, there are some extra preparations that you need to do.
- Make sure your internet connection is stable.
- Check your sound system and ensure that your speaker and mic are working properly.
- Usage of headphones / earphones are highly recommended.
- Prepare a place for you to attend the online interview.
- Inform your family member about the online session to prevent any unwanted intrusions.
Stage 1 – Document and Curriculum Vitae Submission
The first stage is just about submitting all the necessary and required documents. At this stage, make sure your CV is updated. Present each of your strengths properly. Do include all of your academic results, extra-curricular participations and at least 10 certifications of your top achievements. Always keep in mind that you should finish preparing these essential documents within the first 3 days after the application has opened. This will give you ample time to check and make sure everything is there and done properly. This is the reason why preparing your CV early on is exceptionally important.
In regards to CV profiling, I am pretty sure that you are already aware of what this thing is. However, here is a list of what I personally included in my CV :
- Cover letter
- A page to describe your skills and expertise
- Tabulate or present it in data form
- List of Achievements and Participations
- Include dates or at least the year of each of the achievement
- State your position, if possible, for each participation
- A personal statement.
- This part is optional, just a suggestion to make your CV profiling better
Stage 2 – Online Mathematical And Verbal Reasoning Test
Moving on to stage 2, there will be a test consisting of two parts. First, the verbal reasoning test. It is basically an objective type assessment where you are given a paragraph and statement which is related to the information in the paragraph. In each question the answer given will only be either “YES” or “NO” or “NOT GIVEN”.
The second test will be the numerical reasoning. It can most likely be described as the first paper of SPM Mathematics, but it does include a complex topic combining both mathematics and additional mathematics that we had learned during secondary school. I could say that it is more about how you apply your knowledge, as well as combining everything that you have learned to solve a particular question.
Another important thing that you need to always be aware of is timing. At first you will definitely feel that the allocated time is not enough. But with sufficient practice, it is possible for you to get a perfect score for both tests.
Below are some links for you to do some practice for the Numerical and Verbal Reasoning Test :
https://www.assessmentday.co.uk/aptitudetests_numerical.htm https://www.practiceaptitudetests.com/numerical-reasoning-tests/ www.numericalreasoningtest.org/
https://www.practiceaptitudetests.com/verbal-reasoning-tests/ https://www.shl.com/shldirect/en/assessment-advice/example-questions/verbal-reasoning https://www.verbalreasoningtest.org
Stage 3 – Case Study Interview
Now, we are dealing with the hardest part of the whole assessment, it is called CASE STUDY. I am not scaring you guys but most scholars will admit that they died at this stage.
Considering the fact that we are in the middle of a pandemic, this stage will most probably be done online again this year. A short briefing about this stage, it is basically a presentation type of interview consisting of two parts which are preparation and presentation. At the beginning of the session, you will be given complex and detailed data about a particular company. Most of the information is presented in percentages, graphs, and tables. However, you are not allowed to access it by yourself. There will be an instructor that will control the document. You can only ask him/her to scroll up, scroll down and stop at any page you want.
Next you need to prepare one presentation slide to solve the problem given. A TRICK FOR THIS PART, the “QUESTION” or “PROBLEM” that you need to solve is usually stated at the last page of the document. Thus, look for the question first then search for necessary information and only focus on that.
Moving on to the presentation part, you will be asked to present the data you obtained with assistance of the slide that you prepared. In most cases, half of this session will be the part where you talk about your findings (based on the data given). Meanwhile, for the other half of the session, the assessor will throw dozens of questions at you until you start questioning your life decisions, hehe kidding. However, as an interviewee, it is our responsibility to answer each question. Use unique and brilliant approaches to answer each question given.
Similar to stage 2, the main problem here is timing. But at this moment, the pressure will be tougher. Here are the time that will be allocated to you throughout the session :
30 minutes - Data interpretation and slide preparation
30 – 60 minutes - Presentation and Q&A session
Stage 4 – Session with the High Management of YSD
The final stage is stage 4, which is essentially just a “sembang-sembang” session with the high management of Yayasan Sime Darby, as well as an officer from one of the Sime Darby companies which was selected to interview you.
The questions are basically about your personal life. Looking back at my experience, they will usually give you a problem and ask you to relate it with any particular event that has happened in your life. They want to observe your approach towards the problem. What did you learn from it and how it brought an impact on your life onwards.
Briefly speaking, Sime Darby had separated into three major companies which consists of Sime Darby Berhad, Sime Darby Properties and also Sime Darby Plantation. We, the interviewees, were assigned with one of the three companies depending on our suitability and field interest for our degree level later. For instance, an officer of Sime Darby Berhad was assigned to be part of my interview session since I was planning to pursue engineering which was surely related to their target of business.
Getting back to our main discussion just now, although the interview was not as intense as the stage 3 session, do prepare yourself by doing some research on the major businesses and work done by the Sime Darby company that was specifically assigned to you. Try to talk about ideas that are related to their major work and reflect on how you can bring an improvement based on the field that you will pursue. You might feel that it is impossible to bring a change due to the limitation of your current level. However, looking on the bright side, this step will help you understand your interests better and shows that you have a deep passion and knowledge of what you will be studying soon.
All in all, be yourself. Do not fake your act. Emphasise the values in yourself and manipulate your weakness to be your advantages.