A Scholar’s Journey - Shaun Adam
“A journey of a thousand miles begin with a single step”, - Lao Tzu.
The wise words of this old Chinese philosopher have echoed throughout history and for me, it has proven time and time again very relevant.
The globalized World has allowed us to see many different things from all around the World, but I wanted to experience it. I wanted an International experience where I could learn and grow from other cultures and people. Thus, I decided to apply for a scholarship to enable me to study abroad, somewhere far from home that could fulfill my wishes while enriching myself with newfound knowledge and skills.
There were a few opportunities around, the Hong Leong Foundation Masters Scholarship being one of them. At first, I was hesitant; I had a stable job and certain commitments. Time waits for no man, and I thought to myself, I owe it to myself to at least give it a try with my current qualifications that I have worked so hard to achieve. First I applied to the University of my choice and then I proceeded to apply for the scholarship. At that time, the thought of applying for the scholarship was both daunting and exciting. The whole process was long, and at times challenging yet I gave it my all at each stage and finally was blessed and qualified enough to receive the scholarship.
So it begins, my journey to Scotland, the colder part of the United Kingdom to study in one of the top Universities, the University of Edinburgh. At first the transition took some time for me to adjust but it was not too long before I managed to adapt to environment and make some good friends.
Studying my master in International Business and Emerging Markets required my full time attention as the course and the University adhered to very high standards.
In terms of knowledge, I had the opportunity to learn so much in a short period of time. The classes here were very interactive and in a class of 50 students, everyone contributed, benefiting each other as a whole. The Business School of the University also had a student development team which assisted students to develop core skills and personal development growth. Something I believe Malaysian Universities should adapt, a brilliant balance of complementing skills development to the academic learning process.
Although much of my time here was spent studying, I did have some free time to travel the country and visit the Scottish Highlands. The beautiful scenery and nature was captivating, I could not stop taking pictures. I was privileged enough to visit Loch Ness, the rumored home of Nessie the Loch Ness monster.
Personally, I have gain an international perspective studying abroad with people from all around the World. I also learn to cook Asian food, something I did not take the time to learn back home.
My advice to future potential applicants, the future may be scary but push yourself out of that comfort zone and aim higher. That first step you take will lead you to an unforgettable experience that will truly enrich your soul
Shaun Adam is a currently a Hong Leong Masters Scholarship Holder undertaking his Masters in International Business and Emerging Markets the University of Edinburgh.
Be like Shaun and pursue your dreams with a Hong Leong Foundation Masters Scholarship. Apply now at http://www.hongleongfoundation.org/hlf-masters-application/
A Scholar’s Journey - Choong Wei Ling
Someone once told me: “Never let financial constraints restrict your dreams. Let the sky be your limit.”
I remember I was in my final year of my pre-university education when I heard this advice. Like many other Malaysian students, I was at a crossroad and I did not know which path to choose. Studying in Oxford has always been my dream, but I was too afraid to put forward my application. I was afraid that my parents would be burdened by hefty education costs and that my mediocre command of English would be a barrier to my academic achievements. That year, fear won, I lost.
A few years later, I am in my mid 20’s and working in a prominent law firm in Malaysia. It was a good career and life but those wise words kept repeating in my head. What if I’ve tried achieving my dream?
I remember vividly that on the day I submitted my application, thousands of “what ifs” crossed my mind. What if I have obtained the offer but would not be able to pay the fees? What if I failed? What if I chose to continue my stable career path? For most of us, there are times in our lives where our dreams come within our grasp, but fear and doubt cloud our judgment. That was the case for me too.
Nevertheless, I persisted. And this year, I won, fear lost. I was accepted into Oxford, and I overcame the financial constraints with a scholarship from Hong Leong Foundation which helped to pay for the fees. It's a cliché, but dreams are indeed achievable. Reach out to them with all your heart and soul, and who knows what you may achieve?
I am grateful to Hong Leong Foundation for giving me the chance to further my studies in Oxford and to benefit from the cultural and intellectual exchange there. I enjoy learning from prominent lecturers and legal practitioners, in addition to attending class discussions which constantly challenge my thoughts and views. As the saying goes: “the more I learn, the more I realise how much I don’t know”.
Photo caption: My coursemates and me at Oriel College, Oxford dining hall
Apart from studying, I spent most of my time immersing myself in English traditions there, and learning about other cultures from my interactions with my classmates. As the only Malaysian in my course, I interact with people from different countries and backgrounds on a daily basis and this greatly enriches and broadens my experiences there. Life is now like a little box of chocolates to me, with each day promising a new experience, a new insight, a new friend.
This is my most precious treasure in Oxford - the cultural and intellectual exchange, the opportunity to broaden my mind and to realise that the world is so huge and that our views can be so narrow and parochial at times.
Photo caption: Ten of us from ten different countries, in one journey together.
If I did not take a step forward and apply for the scholarship, I would be the same associate, living the same life, thinking about the same “what ifs” everyday. Looking back, I am glad that I put aside the "what ifs", and sent the application in. For those of you reading this, I hope you can rekindle the dreams you once had.
Dreams are achievable when you put in the efforts to realize it. The Hong Leong Foundation is there as a platform for you to expand your wings. If you are a talent, do not let financial constraints restrict your limits. Stepping out of your comfort zone can be daunting, but it can be hugely rewarding as well. So, step out of your comfort zone today and you have my well wishes with you.
Choong Wei Ling - University of Oxford
A Scholar’s Journey - Amelia Ng
“Nothing is impossible” is a phrase frequently said by many. But, how many of us hold this belief dearly in our daily lives, be it while pursuing our dreams or even achieving a new goal?
Life as we all know never ceases to throw challenges at us. Then again, we won’t be left to face them alone. There are many good Samaritans around, waiting to lend us a helping hand. I found one – Hong Leong Foundation (HLF).
Everyone’s dream is unique. For me, I grew up loving figures. I love mathematics and my calculator is the most treasured item in my pencil case. Through these simple likings, I chose to pursue the accountancy pathway.
Even though studying Accounting to many is a challenge, that didn’t deter me from my determination to achieve my dream. I always envisioned myself as being in a profession relating to accountancy, be it an auditor, an accountant or even a lecturer. For that, I leave it to where my future leads me.
My college life - Being around friends with the same interest, passing exams together, joining activities etc. has always been a joy to me. Looking back, I would proudly say I have lived my college life to the fullest. I was lucky, I had an additional financial support from HLF. There was not a time that I would have to worry about getting a part time job to provide for my expenses.
Heard of the saying, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime”? HLF is not only generous in their financial support, but also sees the need in giving us a hands-on platform to develop our soft skills. It was a fruitful scholar experience for me, as I was given the opportunity to participate in 2 enrichment camps organized by HLF during my college time.
I had a truly beautiful experience being a Hong Leong scholar, and I urge all the school leavers out there to follow your passions and believe that everything is possible.
Amelia Ng is a former Hong Leong Foundation scholar. She is currently an auditor at KPMG. To know more regarding our scholarship programmes click here
A Scholar’s Journey - Liyanie Hazimi
After matriculation, I choose to pursue accounting through the mainstream path which is entering the undergraduate studies. Receiving an offer letter from University of Malaya (UM) had brought me one step closer to my dream. A week later, I received the Undergraduate Scholarship from the Hong Leong Leong Foundation o which was a blessing. It was double joy for me and I promised myself that I’ll make the best out of my undergraduate years.
The four years in UM was a long but yet a meaningful journey for me. Having to attend classes to get an Accounting degree and at the same time building up my personality and skills was not easy but it was not that hard either. I was fortunate to not have any financial issues during these years which enabled me to fully utilize my time juggling between studies and joining activities.
The lecturers and course mates were really supportive throughout my degree years. They were always there whenever you need help in studies. Classes were fun too as you get to exchange ideas with course mates from different genders, races, and even nationalities!
As for activities, my favorite club in UM was the facilitator club where I had the chance to give back to the community especially the school students by providing guidance and inspire them to pursue their dreams. I enjoyed my time being a facilitator because of the satisfaction that I could see on their faces, the experience that I get and the sharing sessions received from them which I will not be able to get in textbooks.
I am so glad that Hong Leong Foundation has given me the chance to not only succeed in achieving my dreams but also inspire me to take part in activities that which enabled me to contribute to the society.
A kind reminder from me to all the new scholars out there, don’t be afraid to pursue your dreams!! If there is a will, there is a way.
Liyanie Hazimi was a former Hong Leong Undergraduate scholar who studied Accounting. She is currently undertaking her ACCA. To know more about Hong Leong Foundation's Scholarship Programme, please click here http://www.hongleongfoundation.org/scholarships/
A Scholar’s Journey - Chua Yong Xia
Being a former Foundation scholar, I wish to express my heartfelt gratitude towards Hong Leong Foundation for granting me the scholarship to complete my undergraduate study in University Science Malaysia (USM). It is my honour to share my experience as a former HLF scholar.
I graduated in Bachelor Degree of Accountancy in USM. Instead of choosing to start my career, I opt to start my postgraduate study and ACCA. The main reason is I feel that there is a need for me to endow myself with an extra qualification and skills. It cannot be denied that being a successful accountant is my goal in my life. Therefore, I choose to complete my last 5 paper in ACCA to mould me into the right path to become a successful future accountant.
Additionally, I have a great interest to become a lecturer to share my knowledge with others. Therefore, in order for me to join the academic field, I need to possess at least a Master's degree. This is the reason why I choose to further my studies. Nowadays, most people no longer have a Plan A in planning their career path, most of us are looking to our side income or we maybe we have our own Plan B. Hence, joining the academic line is not only my plan B but it is also my passion as well.
I started my graduate course two months ago. The Master's programme that I have enrolled in is fully on research. It is with abject trepidation that I begin my Masters dissertation. Obviously it is a puny document in comparison to a PhD thesis, but it is significantly longer than any piece of academic writing I have attempted thus far and therefore more than a little daunting.
A graduate course is a big transition from an undergraduate course. Every Master's student will have one supervisor who will supervise, inspire and help the students in completing their thesis. We would also have to update our work progress to our supervisor at least once a week. If during my research, I am faced with any doubt or problem, I need to raise the issue and discuss it with my supervisor. This also happens vice versa in the event if my supervisor finds any problems in my research as my supervisor will discuss it with me.
My experience this far has deepen my knowledge on how the use of financial derivatives is affecting the earning management practices among Malaysian listed companies. This thrust area is something new that I cannot learn from a textbook. By being involved in this research, I have the opportunity to understand how Malaysia listed companies are using financial derivative to affect the earning volatility.
It is also a pleasant experience as I had the chance to enhance my soft skills especially in learning how to communicate verbally or written and share my information with my other course mates and supervisor. Throughout my two months of studies, I realized that time management is very important to me. As I also have to allocate sufficient time to study for my ACCA. I planned to complete my ACCA within 2 years in line with my master study.
Apart from that, I perceived that self-motivation is one of the vital factor for those who wish to pursue postgraduate study as we have to plan all the thing by ourselves. In preparation for the move up to doctoral study and research, self-motivation provides the backbone of a postgraduate degree that would aid you choose to go into it.
Solitary studying comes together with a postgraduate. However, the importance of making time to socialise with course peers, to share your research interests and academic highs and lows cannot be overlooked. Lastly, being a meticulous and diligent person, I believe that I able to complete my master study and ACCA. As I always believe that “Diligence and Perseverance Are the Key to Success”
And, I wish to reiterate my sincere utmost gratitude to Hong Leong Foundation for sponsoring my undergraduate study. It was a good beginning for me. As a former scholar, I hope that I able continuing build strong relationship with HLF and have a chance to contribute back to HLF. Thank you HLF !
Chua Yong Xia was formerly a Hong Leong Foundation Undergraduate scholar who is currently pursuing her Masters in Accounting. To know more about Hong Leong Foundation's Scholarship Programme, please click here http://www.hongleongfoundation.org/scholarships/
A Scholar’s Journey - Tan Kar Man
Two months have passed since I started graduate school in London and it already feels like an eternity. Everything is fast paced in London, with it being one of the most strategic locations in the world. I half expected to find a sanctuary in university where I can be away from the hectic city life, but the course is equally fast paced. It took a week or two to get used to but I am glad the MSc Economics program is structured the way it is, so that a lot of information can be given out in a short period of time. There are plenty of opportunities to practice what we learnt and this brings me to what I want to talk about in this article.
A graduate course is a big transition from an undergraduate course. Truth is, there is no way we can learn from lectures alone. True learning happens outside the classroom, from our colleagues. I am not only talking about being exposed to their various cultures (it is incredibly fascinating to hear stories about where people are from and what growing up was like in their respective countries and to do ‘cultural exploration’ with them, more on that later).
What I mean is, my course mates come from all sorts of backgrounds, some who just left the work force, others who like me just finished Bachelors, and some who already managed to live their dreams. Because a lot of these people have used and practiced these economic theories in real life, they are able to offer someone who is less experienced, like me, with a whole different perspective on how things run and why some theories, are simply not applicable to the real world unless certain assumptions are made or some serious tweaking has been done on the economic model. They make me challenge everything I have learnt up until now and realize how little I know about how an economy works thus inspiring me to read up more in order to be more aware of real world events and their relation to the theories I am currently studying.
Despite the course being intense, I do try and squeeze in a little time for fun. London, after all, is a center of cultural heritage. There are museums everywhere and the best part is entrance is free! From the famous British Museum with signature exhibits such as the Rosetta Stone, Greek Parthenon, Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, etc. to the Natural History Museum with Diplodocus, Stegosaurus and other fossils and much smaller museums like the Hard Rock Café Vault with guitars used by Jimi Hendrix, Gene Simmons and many more, you will never get bored in London since there is always something to see.
All of this would not have been possible without Hong Leong Foundation. I would not have been able to develop myself as much as I have in these two months and would not have been able to take advantage of this location see things I never would have seen back home in Malaysia.
They made this dream of pursuing a graduate degree come true for me and they can make it come true for you too. And honestly, if you actually make time to read this, I will tell you to never give up, never surrender. If you do dream, dream big and do not be afraid to ask for help along the way.
Tan Kar Man is currently pursuing a Masters degree in Economics at the University College, London. If you are interested pursuing a Masters degree and the experience of studying abroad, please like and follow
A Scholar’s Journey - Nadia Mohd Noh
In this third installation of A Scholar's Journey, we take a look at Nadia Mohd Noh who is taking her Masters in Financial Analysis in La Trobe University, Melbourne.
The MFA (Master in Financial Analysis) program at the La Trobe University has definitely broadened my academic horizons. It has helped me enriched my problem-solving skills and I was able to experience being in a group with group members comprising of different backgrounds from different countries.
My time in Australia has been nothing short of amazing as I was shown the different approaches and methods in solving problems with the amazing support I received being in a group setting. In addition, the Master in Financial Analysis programme in La Trobe is aligned with CFA subjects and this would further boost my confidence in undertaking a CFA paper in the future.
Apart from that, La Trobe is the first University in Australia that provides Islamic banking subjects. As Malaysia is leading in developing Islamic Finance, it is interesting to exchange ideas and knowledge with other international students and lecturers so that I am able to use this exchange and knowledge to contribute and improve the Islamic finance system in Malaysia.
Studying abroad has given me a new outlook and perception on life and other cultures around me. I hope everyone gets the opportunity to experience a unique education abroad.
If this has got you interested in applying for the Masters Scholarship with the Hong Leong Foundation, click here to find out you can be one step closer in achieving your full potential!
A Scholar’s Journey - Lim Ai Han
Every year, the Hong Leong Foundation provides scholarships for individuals interested in studying for their Masters. In a year, a total of two intakes will be open for applications. In this first installation of A Scholar's Journey, Lim Ai Han shares his experiences as a scholar studying Master of Architecture at the University of Melbourne.
A year into living in Melbourne, Australia, I have learned how this city is well planned and how it is aligned with social equity thus forming multiculturalism and a stable society. What impresses me even more is how global warming is treated as a serious issue and how the economy has taken into consideration of narrowing the gap between the poor and the rich.
Ai Han with his coursemates and his tutor
My most precious experiences in Australia however was how I was able to deepen my research about urban planning and architecture in one of the greatest livable cities in the world. And it was during this time from my time researching that I stumbled upon interesting stories that I was not able to find in books. It was because all of these was done through engaging with the locals! One unexpected but memorable conversation that I had during my time researching was a conversation I had with an old bus driver whilst travelling through dark and hilly roads.
It is also a great experience to have friends from different backgrounds from various countries. It was exciting to share and exchange stories about our countries cultural heritage and city planning. With what I have learned here, I hope I am able to return to Malaysia and make a profound change.
Ai Han with his research work exhibited at the Melbourne School of Design on exhibition day.
Studying and researching in Australia has provided me a chance to experience and to understand the critical future with precedents and the pragmatic solutions. It has opened my mind to communicate and exchange ideas beyond the borders of nationalities, culture and experiences.
Hong Leong Foundation has provided me with a chance to learn beyond my expectations, I would sincerely recommend anyone who has passion, vision and interest to apply for the Hong Leong Masters Scholarship to live out their potential.
Interested in applying for the Hong Leong Foundation Masters Scholarship Programme? Click here to find out more!
A Scholar’s Journey - Joanna Ghazali
Every year, the Hong Leong Foundation provides scholarships for individuals interested in studying for their Masters. In a year, a total of two intakes will be open for applications. In this second installation of A Scholar's Journey, Joanna Ghazali shares her experiences as a scholar studying Masters of Business Administration at the Boston University.
I was looking around my cubicle one day, taking stock of what I needed to do for each of my piles of paperwork – when I came to a realization that somewhere along the way, I had forgotten to chase my dreams.
This triggered a drive in me that led to the exhausting obstacle course that became the road to my MBA in the United States. If you’ve submitted your application to the Hong Leong Foundation’s (HLF) Scholarship Programme, then you’re probably on it too. It’s like running through hot coals, jumping through hoops and juggling little hedgehogs at the same time. There’s a lot at stake, but you owe it to yourself to try, and you don’t want to let yourself down.
My experience in America has been phenomenal. It has changed my life in so many ways. The discussions in classrooms go beyond what’s in the textbooks, and the interactions are with such a diverse class of students hailing from all over the world but unified in ambition, and the desire to better themselves.
Go with an open mind. Listen to the views of those from first world, developed economies but never feel inferior. Being Malaysian, we have years of working experience in an emerging economy, where there are opportunities for growth that more mature markets do not. Our culture and heritage is also rich and you’ll find that you have interesting things to say to add to the conversation that are a refreshing spin.
Being in graduate school is different from when you took your undergraduate degree. No one is making you take these classes. Every subject you take, learn it in your brain and let it change how you think. Some day you are going to be a director, head architect, chief financial officer, a business owner, or what ever you are going to be and people will expect you to know things and to make decisions well. You may not be able to ask as many questions at that point, so ask them now. Arm yourself for that dream job you’ve always wanted.
Good luck with your applications and don’t give up. It’s a big adventure and its worth it.
Interested in applying for the Hong Leong Foundation Masters Scholarship Programme? Click here to find out more!