As of 2020, Yayasan Tenaga Nasional (YTN) offers two types of scholarships: Local and Overseas. For Local scholarships, courses offered are Engineering (Mechanical, Civil and Electrical Power), Finance, Accountancy, Computer Science and Data Science and Analytics. As for Overseas scholarship, courses offered are Electrical Power Engineering, Accountancy and Data Science and Analytics. I am fortunate enough to be offered to study Data Science and Analytics in the United Kingdom.
A student must obtain at least 8 A's in SPM to be qualified for the Yayasan Tenaga Nasional Scholarship (both local and international). Being active in sports & co-curriculum and demonstrating excellent leadership are two other vital criteria in the selection of YTN scholars.
When applying for the scholarship, documents needed are your birth certificate, photocopy of your Identification Card, Parents' payslips, SPM results slip, and some other important credentials (Academic and extracurricular achievements). There are tons (well, I might be exaggerating) of forms to fill. And let me be honest with you, this is the most tedious and dullest part of the whole application process. BUT you manage to become one of the scholars. So, do it with a smile on your face. :) No worries, upon receiving the offers, there will be instructions telling you what to do. Just follow those instructions carefully, and you'll be good to go.
For more details, do visit https://ytn.tnb.com.my/scholarships.html.
The whole selection process was quite different for candidates from my batch due to Ms Rona. It was moved online entirely since physical interviews were not allowed. Despite unstable internet connections and (sometimes) lagging video calls, I would say the process was enjoyable and exciting! The selection process was divided into three main stages.
1. Application Stage 1
You'll have to submit all your documents at this stage, including your personal information, SPM results, and co-curricular achievements. In the co-curricular section, be clear about which achievements you should prioritise and put them on the top of the list (as if I'm not mistaken, there is a limited number of certificates you are allowed to submit). If it really is limited, make sure that the extracurricular achievements that you state there are related to the course that you're applying for. For instance, in my case, I applied for Data Science and Analytics. So, I listed my achievements in STEM competitions and innovation contests. By doing so, you'll be at a more significant advantage as this will show that you are genuinely passionate about your desired course and take the efforts to gain more experiences in that particular field.
My tips here: Prepare and arrange all your certificates prior to the commencement of the application process. The sooner, the better. You will not want to miss out on submitting some important certificates that could help you shine throughout the selection process.
2. Self-Introductory Video
All applicants who manage to pass through the application stage will be required to record a roughly 3 minutes long self-introductory video. I'm not sure whether the questions given are confidential, but I think it's safe to say that the video's main idea is to present yourself creatively and uniquely. You'll have to introduce yourself, tell them why you apply for this scholarship etc.
You have only 3 minutes, so time management is the key. Remember to keep your speech straight to the point and make sure everything is short and sweet. Keep in mind that your presentation should be as creative as possible!
My tips here: Prepare a script. DON'T speak spontaneously when you're recording the video, as you would most probably turn up to be unprepared and *awkward*. If possible, edit the video. Remove long pauses and make the flow of the video smoother. Focus on small, little details and do all you can to perfect the video. Grab any opportunity available to impress the interviewers.
Here comes the ultimate challenge - the individual interview session. Normally, there will be three interviewers. Two of them are usually YTN officers, and one of them is a professional from your desired course working for TNB. They'll take turns in asking you questions. Some questions are pre-set, while some are tailor-made. Since they have watched the video, they will have a rough idea about your background. BUT they have no idea about your personalities. Therefore, try to be as active and confident as possible! More common than not, they'll start by asking you to introduce yourself. Then they'll proceed with some more technical and specific questions. Keep your answers short and sweet, do elaborate when you need to.
My personal experience: When the interview nearly came to an end, one of the interviewers asked me to do a room tour. (YES, you've read it right, a ROOM TOUR!) THANK GOODNESS I remembered to clean my room and make my bed before the interview, or else I would have embarrassed myself, and the scholarship *may have possibly* slipped away. So, do remember to clean your rooms, kids. ;)
The interview session typically lasts between 30 to 45 minutes. It may seem quite long but trust me, time fliesssss~~~
My tips here: When doing your self-introduction, it's better not to bring in trivial stuff such as your birthday, favourite food etc. DO talk about your future plans (e.g. dream university and career plans) and where do you see yourself in the next 5 or 10 years. If possible, try to slip in some info that can reflect your passion in the course you're applying (e.g. I love to do Maths Olympiad whenever I'm free!)
Here's an outline of some common interview questions.
- What are your strengths and weaknesses?
- Can you tell us about the course you're applying for? / What do you know about the course you're applying for?
- What do you know about our company?
- How would you contribute to our company?
- What makes you so special to be a YTN scholar?
Well, these are all very typical questions you might receive during your scholarship interviews. Guess what? More often than not, people tend to respond to these typical questions with bland, generic answers. And that's the last thing you want to do during your interviews. Remember, the purpose of having interviews is -- the interviewers want to know who YOU are beneath all your triumphs and achievements. They take interests in knowing, having all your certificates and accomplishments stripped away from you, who YOU truly are as a person. Therefore, it's essential to be genuine!
What are your strengths and weaknesses?
You're highly encouraged to share some personal stories when you're answering this question. For weaknesses, do show the interviewers that you made / are making attempts to improve.
Can you tell us about the course you're applying for? / What do you know about the course you're applying for?
The interviewers will not expect you to fully understand what your desired course is about. However, you SHOULD at least understand the basic ideas and the fundamentals that make up the course. For example, Data Science and Analytics is a combination of Computer Science and Mathematics (particularly Statistics). Most Data Scientists use Python or R as their programming tools. It'd be better if you know how to elaborate it! The more, the better!
What do you know about our company? / How would you contribute to our company?
Doing extensive background research on TNB and YTN is a must, as no company wants to invest hundreds and thousands of ringgit in someone who knows little or nothing about their company, right?
DO take some efforts to know:
- a bit of the company's history
- their vision and mission
- what they wish to accomplish in the next 5 to 10 years
- their ultimate goals.
Then, relate your desired course to these aspects. For example, suppose you're applying for Data Science and Analytics. In that case, you can tell them that you'd make sure every single data is being analysed correctly and precisely, and you'd be able to persuade potential investors for future investments.
My tips here: All major companies have their investors/collaborators. DO take some efforts in finding out who those investors/collaborators are. Cari sendiri ye ;)
What makes you so special to be a YTN scholar?
Again, relate your skills, strengths and past experiences with YTN's vision, mission, goals etc. Emphasise how you would utilise this opportunity upon receiving it. Be creative with your answers. For me, I talked about my leadership and technical skills, my enthusiasm towards the course, my experiences in joining invention and innovation contests, and how I could be a part of the team that would diversify and globalise TNB's market in the near future.
Miscellaneous (depending on the information you've submitted)
- What characteristics should a good leader possess? / What is leadership to you?
- Tell me about your experience in participating in competitions/holding important positions.
- How do you manage your time?
- What is your SPM preparation process?
DON'T just brag about your accomplishments, DO tell the interviewers what lessons you have learnt and what kind of experiences you have gained from participating in those activities and competitions. That level of confidence and enthusiasm is what the interviewers wish to see in the candidates and possibly their future employees.
My tips here: When answering questions, try to be as creative and unique as possible. There is never a one-size-fits-all answer to these questions. And amidst that, always stay true to yourself. Please DON'T attempt to exaggerate too much for the sake of impressing the interviewers as, at most times, interviewers know whether one is honest about him/herself. But DO know how to "package" yourself. It is never wrong to "decorate and sophisticate" your accomplishments to a certain extent. ALWAYS show your passion and enthusiasm. Convince them you're a worthy investment.
I highly recommend a YouTube video by Cemerlang. The advice and tips discussed in the video are very beneficial!
Here's the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SpBPkMldCMk
1. If my spoken English is not that excellent, would I still stand a chance to be offered the scholarship?
Yes, you do! As long as you can present and express yourself in a clear and confident manner, you shall be good to go! Share some of your personal stories if time allows. That way, your answers would be much more interesting!
2. What if I don't know how to answer a question in the interview session?
Well, you can say, "The question is very interesting. I think I need some time to think about it," or just ask the interviewers for more time to answer the question. If you still don't know how to answer the question, be frank about it. It's better to admit that you don't know the answer rather than trying to fool the interviewers, right?
3. If I'm not that outstanding in my co-academics, would I be at a disadvantage?
You'd be at a slight disadvantage if you don't have a lot of co-curricular achievements. But please bear in mind that YOU STILL STAND A CHANCE TO WIN THE SCHOLARSHIP! Regardless of the positions you've held and activities you've joined in your secondary school, if you manage to impress them by describing the lessons and experiences you have gained, there's still a high possibility you'd receive the scholarship!
With all that said, just try your best and have fun throughout the process! It's completely fine if you do not manage to receive the scholarship. It is not the end of the world. There are still many ways to succeed in life, RIGHT? Jangan berputus asa! ;D
If you're a future SPM candidate, I wish you all the best in your SPM examination! And if you're a student applying for scholarships desperately searching for pieces of advice and tips, I sincerely hope this article would be helpful. Hopefully, you'd become BETTER AND BRIGHTER! (pun intended)
GOOD LUCK! :D