The deadline for applications for the Chevening Scholarship is in the final stretch, and to give applicants that incentive, loveUK spoke to Marcelle Dias, who was awarded a scholarship at Durham University in 2018/2019. So if you are looking to study abroad through programs like Chevening, the experience and tips shared by Chevening can help you a lot. Shall we check?
loveUK: Please tell us a little about yourself and your course.
My name is Marcelle Dias and I did Management (Human Resources Management) at Durham Unviersity in 2018-2019. I am a chemical engineer and I worked for a few years in a consultancy with process improvement and quality management. During this time, I realized that in order to grow in my career, knowledge of business strategy and organizational behavior would be important. That's why I decided to do a Master's in Management. The Masters in Management at Durham University suited me perfectly, because the university allows you to choose a specialization within management, I could choose between International Business, Entrepreneurship, Supply Chain and Human Resources, and I chose Human Resources. My first term was almost the same as the other specializations, we all had strategy, economics and accounting and organizational behavior classes, and one more specific subject of the chosen path, in my case, human resources management. In the second term, I only had subjects specific to my specialization and 3 electives, which I could choose from a list of about 10 subjects, including a week in another country doing a project. I ended up not choosing the international project, and did consulting, competitive strategies, and organizational fitness and leadership.
loveUK: How did you feel that you were prepared to run for Chevening?
I don't know if I felt completely prepared to run for Chevening, but I did the best I could during the process. I had 2 friends who were Cheveners 2 years before me, and they told me about the program. Then I applied, spent several weeks writing, reading and rereading my essays and asked 2 friends to read it too and give me feedback. When I was called for an interview, it was just a joy, and I joined a WhatsApp group of candidates who had been called for an interview. In the group, I realized that I had to prepare myself better for the interview, I started researching British government projects in Brazil and other countries, some research and areas that the United Kingdom was investing in to relate my career plan to these projects. This was fundamental, because in my interview I was emphasized and asked several times how I would return to the UK later, when continuing my career in Brazil after my Masters.
loveUK: What was most challenging about this process?
Not knowing exactly what the evaluators expected of me. Most of the candidates I met wanted to take more specific courses, and I wanted knowledge in an area that was not mine and it was a more general course, Management. I think the most challenging was to relate well how this knowledge would be a differential for me, for my career and what I could impact after the master's degree. And the wait is also very challenging. It's a very long process, you apply to start your master's 1 year later. You have to contain the anxiety during this time and continue working, studying, with normal life during this time.
loveUK: What criteria did you use to choose universities and ultimately decide for Durham?
I chose my 3 universities for the courses they offered. I applied and was accepted to the Engineering Project Management course at the University of Exeter, Business Management at Stirling University, and Management (Human Resources Management) at Durham University. When I got the answer from Chevening and had to make up my mind, I was torn between the course in Stirling and the course in Durham. In the end, I chose Durham by university ranking, Durham University is among the top universities in the UK in both THE, Times Higher Education, and the QS Global World Rankings.
loveUK: What advice would you give to someone trying this year?
Thinking about your career path, the first time I had a long-term idea of what I wanted to do and work on was when I decided to apply for Chevening, and it was great because they evaluate that. And think about the characteristics that you consider important in leadership and networking, two questions evaluated in the essay, and examples where you demonstrated this to use in your essays. You don't need to be a manager, have years and years of experience (you can too), but just be able to describe well how you've impacted the people you work with and the difference it makes in your company and university is enough.
loveUK: What advice would you have on what not to do?
Don't get hung up on London universities. London is wonderful, it has great opportunities and universities, but the UK has a lot to offer and sometimes staying at a university a little further away allows you to see other amazing places! I got to know the north of England and several cities in Scotland that I probably wouldn't have seen had I stayed in London. So broaden your search for courses and universities, and enjoy all that the UK has to offer!