Chevening is looking for individuals that will be future leaders or influencers in their home countries
Leadership by a consensus of definitions entails having a clear cut vision and the ability to stir people into achieving the set goals in pursuance of that the said vision.
A popular misconception about leadership, however, is that to be a leader, one has to be in a position with a fancy title. I rather agree with the title of Mark Sanborg's book, that "you don't need a title to be a leader". Following this misconception, a lot of people undermine the potentials for creating positive influence in various seemingly inconsequential positions they are entrusted with, just for lack its lack of a fancy title. I would talk about the more important leadership roles I have handled but I believe the test of a true leader is how he handles the seemingly low profile tasks because it paints a picture of his value system. One of such low profile roles for me was heading a class study group, a position I was unanimously chosen to hold for two consecutive years. In this capacity, the vision for the group of about forty medical students was clear and realistic; to hit a target of at least 80% pass on our board exams at the first sitting and carry the remaining 20% in the re-sit examination within the same year. With this vision as our road map, I chose a team of 3 dedicated members to form the core planning team. We set weekly goals, identified the difficult modules/topics and made a priority list with regard to time and resources invested, we held progress evaluation and appraisal meetings monthly; one member of the core team was mandated to track the quiz performances of members so as to evaluate both group and individual strong and weak points. We also set up a mechanism for feedback from members of the study group. This approach saw our group make an over 85% pass rate as against the about 60% pass rate of the general class.
Being a medical student on its own is a crash course in leadership and decision making but I had other experiences with leadership as a medical student. I have been a clinical unit head; acting as a bridge between consultants/senior doctors and my colleagues, I've organized events, seminars and case presentations and headed sub-units in non-profit outreaches. Also as a medical intern, I have also on various occasions been saddled with numerous responsibilities some of which were enumerated under the 'work experience' section. Perhaps the most important lesson I have come to learn, is that leadership is an attitude, characterized by the ability to conceive a vision and go ahead to rein in the resources required to accomplish the set goals, irrespective of how inconsequential the task may seem.
John F Kennedy once said, "Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other" and it is this desire for impact that has driven me, in the months after completion of my medical internship, to take advantage of the e-learning platform and pursue diploma courses in business management and project management on ALISON and EDX respectively, with other very helpful online materials from sites like mindtools.com, amidst readings covering a wide range of topics including medicine, psychology, philosophy, management and planning, self help books etc. This drive has also informed my course choices for the Chevening scholarship.