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Interviews

MARA Program Ijazah Luar Negara 2012

Assalamualaikum;)

Sorry for this late entry. I wanted to post it yesterday, but I was so tired out and too busy Skyping with Nazran, reading Detective Conan online and talking to a few friends that I pushed this aside.

Okay, I know the PILN interviews for this year (2012) are done (I think), as it started a few days ago. But never mind, just is just for memory’s sake, plus next year’s batch might find it useful as they prepare for their interviews later on. And perhaps it would help some people who are still preparing for interviews, not only for MARA, but any other interviews.

So. On to yesterday’s interview. I kinda woke up late (well, does 8:30am sounds late to you?) ’cause I slept quite late. I was too busy Skyping, editing my blog and talking to WMA to go to sleep. I got ready, printed out my offer slip, showered, ate breakfast, and by 9:30am, I was in the car with Dad, on our way to Bangi.

Reached PKTM Bangi at about 10:20am. Straight away called Uyaq, and met up with the rest of the Eldaterra people. Talked to Famas, Skeen and Uyaq while waiting for our turn to register. Helped them prepare some answers. While we were preparing, Yuyou came and join us. :DD

10:35am. Registration time. Went to the table for Panel 5 and quickly registered myself. Got my number tag – E3. Caught up with Uyaq and Yuyou, wished them luck, hugged Skeen and Famas as their turns were after us. Tried to call Firas to meet him to say good luck, but he already went up to his designated room, so never mind.

I made my way to the place where I should be going and met my groupmates. There were 7 of us, 4 girls and 3 boys. There was Haziq from BJ, Safwan from SEPINTAR, Afiq from MRSM (couldn’t remember which one), Tasha from SMK Datuk Bahama, Nabihah from SMSS and Hanah from Kelantan (yes, all the way from the north) [oh, booyeah, I remembered all their names!]

As we were doing ice-breaking outside, the people from inside came out. That time all of us were like, “OMG OMG we’re up next.” I was trying to calm myself down when someone called my name. “Eh, Syaza?” I looked towards the voice and couldn’t hide my surprise. “Eh, DILAAAAAAA!” Hehehe. My ex-dormmate from SSP :’) Huhu.

One or two minutes after that, we were called into the interview room. There were eight tables set the middle of the room, with three interviewers. We took our respective seats according to our number and said Basmallah.

Here it is. May the odds be ever in your favour.


There were four sheets of pink papers on the table. I shared the paper with Afiq who was sitting on my left. Our case study was about a university facing economic downturn. So, the Board of Directors of the University wants to cut down the costs in these three options :

a) Students – Increase fee structure / No free lab access
b) Professors – Trench all the professors who are at the end of their service / Force those who stay to multitask
c) Management – Trench all contract and part-time workers

For each option, we should discuss / debate to answer the task, which was to justify why these should not be implemented for your group.

Afiq, Nabihah & I decided to do Professors, Safwan & Hanah chose Students, and Haziq & Tasha picked Management. So we discussed in our small groups for about fifteen to twenty minutes before getting together and pitching in our ideas.

After discussing through everything, the interviewer told us to stop and asked one of us to give the conclusion of our discussion. I was about to volunteer myself when they called Tasha to speak, ’cause I think she was one of the quietest among us during the discussion. So she talked through our conclusions, with some of us adding in a little bit of information here and there.

After that, it was time for the Q&A session. Out of the seven of us, only 3 were questioned. There were Haziq, Hanah & Tasha. Haziq’s question was, “Do you think the discussion was a good one? If we give you more time, what would you improve on?” (something along that line) Meanwhile, Hanah got “In your group, who do you think is the leader? Why?” and Tasha’s “How do you think a good leader should be? Do you think a leader should always be the talkative one?

The last question made me feel like laughing, ’cause the interviewer was referring to me. But never mind about that, I’m trying not to think about that. ๐Ÿ˜› We finished our interview at about 12, so we took a group picture before going back home. I went back straight to Shah Alam to attend my cousin’s wedding, and arrive just in time as the bride and groom were walking into the hall. But this one will be in another post, insyaAllah.

Okay. So. For those who would be going for the interview next year, or any other interviews at any time of the year, here’ some tips that you might or might not find useful.

  1. Be CONFIDENT. Even if you suck at English, just try your best and have faith in yourself. Just show that you have the confidence to speak in English.
  2. CONTRIBUTE. Give ideas, and TALK. Even though the ideas and suggestions that you have might be small ones, just share them with your groupmates. Every little idea count, and get yourself involved with the discussion. The interviewers want to see how active you are, your contributions to the discussions and everything else.
  3. LEAD, but don’t CONTROL. Yes, there is a difference between leading the discussion and controlling the discussion. Be the one who get everyone involved. If you see someone who’s not talking much, ask them questions. Get their opinions. Try to get everyone involved in the discussion.
  4. Be POLITE. Respect other people’s views and opinions. Accept their perspective on the topic, but if you don’t agree much, don’t just go and say, “No. I think that’s wrong.” Instead, just say “Okay, I agree, but it would be better if….”
  5. Greet the interviewers before and after starting the discussion. Look at them, do eye-contact, and answer their questions with a clear and loud voice.
  6. Be PREPARED. The questions might or might not be relevant to your choice of course, so just be prepared. It can be some random question out of the blue, or it could be the same as the previous interview sessions.
  7. ANSWER the question – Read it properly and answer it. If the question asked you to JUSTIFY THE REASONS WHY THE OPTIONS SHOULD NOT BE IMPLEMENTED, then answer it. You’re supposed to DEFEND yourself (in this case, your group), not discuss ways to reduce the cost or increase the revenue.
So. Yeah. That’s about it, I think. This post is long enough and I need to go off and study for my exams. My exams starting this Wednesday, so, yeah, -.-‘ Until next time people. Assalamualaikum ๐Ÿ™‚
May 13, 2012
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Securities Commissions Scholarship Award 2012 – Stage 2

Assalamualaikum,

Alhamdulillah, yes, I got to the second stage of the scholarship interview. It was a shock to me ’cause I really didn’t expect to get through, with so many talented people during the first stage, I thought my chances were slim. But Alhamdulillah, Allah Gave me a chance to make up for my mistakes in the first stage and move on for a better second stage, insyaAllah.

I don’t have pictures with me at the moment ’cause the pictures that we took are either with Marc or Wawa. (more on this later) So I’m just going to wait until they upload it later ๐Ÿ™‚

Technically we’re not supposed to tell what happens during the ‘interview’ process ’cause it is private and confidential. So I’m just going to tell you roughly what happens during the second stage process. This is what happened today ๐Ÿ™‚

I reached Securities Commission’s building at about 11:55am. Sat in the lobby, talked to Marc (an ex-KYS, a friend of Muizz) while waiting for Wawa (ex-SSPian) to come. Then Kelvin (another candidate) came and the four of us got talking. We didn’t realize that the other girl (Yu Han) who was supposed to be in our session was sitting right behind us as she didn’t join us beforehand. But never mindddddd.

So a few minutes before 1pm, the lady (okay, not lady, the akakย more like it) and the abang came to invite us upstairs into the previous room we were in – the meeting room. We sat around the meeting table and saw pieces of A4 papers, pencils, erasers, dictionaries and water bottles in the middle.

This is it. Writing time!


Each of us were given two pieces of paper containing our instructions for the day. The first page is the same for everyone as it contains the same instruction and introduction to the problem we were trying to solve. The second page differs as different people has different angles to the problems.

So what we basically do for the next half an hour was to come up with ideas to support the recommendation that we had, and to include the views of the people we were assigned to. Our topic was ‘Addiction’, and I had the summary of the research done on parents. My recommendation? Government’s new policy should provide help and support to the community to cope with the drug problems… something along that line, I couldn’t remember.

The other angles include Lawyers and magistrate, Youths, Social Workersย and Police.ย After the half an hour of brainstorming, it was time to go and present our ideas to the interviewers. It was a one-on-one presentation, where you’d just basically present all the ideas and solutions that you got.

After everyone was done with their individual presentations, it was time to get together again and decide on a policy that everyone agrees on. So that took up half an hour, as everyone took about three-four minutes to talk about what they think of their ideas, and then discuss to come up with one that includes everyone’s idea.

So when that’s done, everything’s done. ๐Ÿ˜€ Hehe. Yep, that simple. So after that we snapped a few pictures, and, well, it was mostly Wawa, Marc and I ’cause the three of us got along well (obviously. Wawa and I knew each other since Form1, Wawa and Marc knew each other since Form3, and Marc and I have a mutual friend – Muizz. So, yeahhh, we get along well :D)

Oh, here’s Marc ๐Ÿ™‚

Okay. That’s all for now. Need to go and sleep. I have Statistics trial tomorrow morning and I didn’t even study for it. Better rest my brain and wake up early tomorrow *hopefully* to study. Good night all, Assalamualaikum ๐Ÿ˜€

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Edited (September 15th, 2012)
I’ll post the 1st stage of my SC scholarship application here as well, since the original post was attracting a lot of spam comments for some reason -.-
So, yeah, the first part of the interview was like this:

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I was in Panel 5 (If I’m not mistaken) My interview slot was at 10:00am. For those who were there (and I met some of you!) I was the Malay girl in kinda-peachy blouse, black slacks with white tudung, wearing glasses and the die-hard fan of the Gunners (Y)

So I applied for the Pre-University scholarship. My intended course was MORSE (Mathematics, Operational Research, Statistics and Economics) [Just fyi : I’ve already started my A-Levels in Kolej Tuanku Ja’afar, Mantin.]

My two interviewers were really nice and friendly, especially the lady from the HR department. So don’t worry if you’re having your interview soon, they won’t make it hard for you. It’d just be kinda like a chit-chat, but a serious one.

Some of the questions that I remembered were:

1. Tell us a little bit about you, your family and your achievements back in school.
So basically just give a little introduction about you, where you come from, which school, what you do in school, what clubs you’re in, etc. Talk about your parents and where they work at, and also about your siblings.

I was talking about joining the school basketball team and becoming the co-captain for the girls’ team when they bombarded (well, kinda) me with questions. How hard was it to handle the teams? Did we go for any tournaments? What were the challenges we faced in school?

2. Why the SC? Why not any other scholarships bodies like BNM, Khazanah, Petronas, etc?
Be honest. I did say I applied for other scholarships like BNM, Khazanah, Petronas and all, but I mentioned that my top three choices were BNM, Khazanah and SC. And since I got rejected by BNM and Khazanah, SC is my top choice for now. (not that I have any other choices, since I got rejected by mostly all the other scholarships, -.-‘)

3. Why you?
Mention why you’d like SC to sponsor you. What can you give back to SC after your studies. Why they should sponsor you over the other candidates. This is where you show your strengths. Tell them what makes you special. Maybe you’re a national debater (ehem ehem)? Or maybe you’ve represented the country in an international tournament?

4. If we sponsor you, in which department would you work in after you graduate?
I got stuck on this question -.-‘ I kinda forgot to look through the departments (or I did, but I might have forgotten) so when they asked me this, I had no idea what to answer. Just have a look at the SC’s website, read through their structure, and have an idea which area you’d like to work in.

5. Say, if we sponsor you, but it’s not for MORSE, but we put you into Finance or Accounting, for example. How would you react?
This was a trap question for me, ’cause I told them I was supposed to be at Petronas’s EduCamp on yesterday and today, but I chose SC over Petronas because Petronas was offering me Finance, and I specifically said ‘I don’t like Finance.’ It was a mistake, so I was caught when they asked that question. The only thing I could say was, “Well, if the SC thinks that I have a better potential do excel in Finance that I couldn’t see in myself at the moment, then I’ll just have to adapt and let the potential shows itself.”

6. What does MORSE stands for?
Mathematics, Operational Research, Statistics and Economics. [this was easy. The next was kinda tricky]

7. So you know that MORSE has Mathematics, Operational Research, Statistics and Economics. Out of these four, which one do you like the most?
Mathematics, of course. I love Maths.

8. You do know that there are courses like Mathematics and Statistics, right? Why do you choose MORSE instead of that?
I kinda stumbled on this question, but thankfully I remembered one of the things I said to my friend about the differences between MORSE and Economics (I think) so I said “Well, I might think I love Maths now, but there’s no telling if, in the future I’d end up hating Maths or got bored by it. So if I do MORSE, I have a wider range of subjects to study instead of Maths alone, which would allow me to go into various fields.” [phew, saved!]

9. Tell us about your leaderships skills.
Since I’m now leading our club for a service with Make-A-Wish Malaysia, I ended up talking around 5 minutes about this. About how hard it is to get a meeting among the committee members ’cause everyone have different timetables, how we get the funds, how the project is going, etc. [They’d ask you about the problems that you face while handling an event/project]

We wrapped things up about half an hour afterwards. They asked me if I got any question, and I asked one on behalf on my teacher : If I get the scholarship, am I still able to continue my A-Levels in KTJ? Because (for some reasons) my teachers, juniors and friends were worried I’d leave school like my brother did two years ago. Thankfully they said if they were to give me the scholarship, they wouldn’t force me to leave, which was a relieve to me. xD

And yep, like Andrew said, they didn’t take a look at my certificates or anything. Just show your original and photocopied certificates to the receptionist outside the waiting room, and you’re done for the day!

Just relax, and be yourself. Drink some water before you go in ’cause your throat will get dry. But don’t drink too much or you’d be feeling like going to the toilet in the middle of your interview. Smile, greet your interviewers, shake hands with them(if you can), and please don’t turn around on the chair (like I did the first few minutes) -.-”

Good luck and have fun guys! Results would be out probably next week (or even this week, according to them) so let’s pray for the best for everyone. (Y)

April 26, 2012
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