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Motivation Letter for Scholarship from a final-year chemical engineering student

habibalaziz123 1 / 1  
Mar 17, 2021   #1

MESC+ Erasmus Mundus Scholarship letter

Dear all

My name is Habib Al-Aziz. I am a final-year chemical engineering student at Diponegoro University, Indonesia. I want to ask for feedback on my statement of purpose applying for the MESC+ program in Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degree. Below I will write the question prompt and my response. I really appreciate any help you can provide.

Question Prompt: State why you are applying to the MESC+ EMJMD; discuss your motivation to study abroad, your professional interests and your career goals & expectations. Indicate how you learned about the MESC+ program and what made you decide to apply. (500-2000 words)

My answer:
The drastic increment of CO2 is accelerating climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) suggested reducing 49% of CO2 emissions by 2030. This advice is a crucial step for all countries if they want to overcome this Herculean problem. Moreover, a fact revealed that transportation accounts for around one-fifth of global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions which this source can be a massive contributor toward curbing CO2 emission. One choice that started to be preferred and applied worldwide is electric vehicle utilization. Indonesia's government also takes climate change problems seriously and begins to develop the electric vehicle as one of the most promising alternatives to be done. One policy that the government has done is PT. Indonesia Battery Holding establishment which initiated by the Ministry of State-Owned Enterprise (CNBC, 2021) to provide lithium raw materials for battery industries through cooperation with China as the leading exporter of lithium in the world.

The battery is one of the most vital parts of electric vehicles. This part governs electric cars' overall performance, such as energy efficiency and charging duration until distance traveled (km) for every battery charge-discharge cycle. However, Indonesia's battery development is still halted with some trivial problems such as high fabrication costs and limited experts and technology in battery development. This condition is also worsened by the lack of education and training programs in battery development initiatives by Indonesia's higher education and research institution. Therefore, battery development expertise is crucial for overall electric car development in Indonesia.

As a chemical engineering student, I am aware that basic initiatives in battery development will not bring electric vehicle democratization in Indonesia. It needs a significant breakthrough by getting overseas experts or sending domestic students to study abroad. One day, I explored LinkedIn to catch up with the world news. One of my LinkedIn networks shared a master's study sharing session in Europe by Ms. Ivone Marselina Nugraha. At first, I did not recognize the name of the program, but I knew Ms. Ivone studied battery technology. Then, I figured out that she was one of the Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degree (EMJMD) scholarship awardees studied in Materials for Energy Storage and Conversion (MESC+) program Class 16 after I read her LinkedIn's profile. I directly asked her through direct chat about the program's overall curriculum, the requirements, and application tips and tricks to be admitted to the program with a full scholarship.

After I did more in-depth research about the MESC+ program, I felt this program is the most suitable program for my future career aspiration and how to solve Indonesia's renewable energy problems. I must apply to this program to experience this once-in-lifetime opportunity. MESC+ is the only EMJMD program focused on energy storage (battery development) which Indonesia lacks expertise in this area. By joining this program, there will be a knowledge and hands-on experience transfer from the program to me so I can give a more significant contribution toward battery development in Indonesia once I work in Indonesia. Furthermore, MESC+ offers a unique cultural and academic experience as this program provides two continent mobility (Europe-US or Europe-Australia). This initiative will develop my soft skills as a human who will interact with many people from different cultures so that I can adapt everywhere in the world. It will also foster our complex problem-solving skills. With interdisciplinary studies in our research, we can see a problem holistically so that we can provide a feasible solution through our multidisciplinary research in MESC+.

I believe that great benefits require enormous sacrifices. I must prove to myself that I deserve this once-in-lifetime opportunity. In my undergraduate study, I commit to learn and do research as much as possible because I have an aspiration that I want my intellectual products and properties to benefit many people in my society. My research interest and study focus are nanomaterials development for energy and environmental applications. So, I took some courses such as new material technology, catalyst technology, and energy conservation and management, which those backgrounds are aligned with the MESC+ curriculum. This advantage allows me to adapt as soon as possible so I can excel in my study there. My commitment and interest are portrayed in my academic achievements. By the grace of God, I got an excellent overall grade (GPA 3.91/4.00) in my chemical engineering study at Diponegoro University. I am also extremely fortunate to experience more research activities than my friends because I was appointed as a research assistant under Prof. Tutuk Djoko Kusworo in August 2018. As a research assistant, I have finished five research projects resulting in two research paper publications as a first student author. The topic of my research paper is nanohybrid membrane fabrication for wastewater treatment.

Furthermore, I should supplement myself with supporting skills besides hard skills to excel in anything. Those are time management, complex problem solving, and communication skill. Since my freshman year, I have actively participated in many extracurricular activities, such as arranging International Competition and Fair (CREATION) as a Secretariat Coordinator, Chemical Engineering Moslem Students' Association as the Head of Mosque Development, and joining an international competition in Johor, Malaysia which my team managed to secure second runner-up position. So, I trained three primary skills unconsciously through my extracurricular activities. These skills will help me to adapt to the European environment and contribute to the MESC+ community.

I planned to take carbon materials for energy as my specialization course and future thesis topic in MESC+. I have some experience and knowledge in graphene oxide synthesis and characterization that I got from my research activity (Graphene Oxide Photocatalytic Membrane). Based on my research about MESC+ mobility, I will go to the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia, for my third semester and Drexel University, the USA, in the final semester to work on my thesis. Specifically, I am fascinated with Prof. Yury Gogotsi's works and aspire to work under his supervision. His nanomaterials' works for sustainable energy and the environment unlock my mindset that fundamental research can be upscaled for domestic applications. I want to do that in the future. I aspire to develop a high-performance graphene battery yet economically feasible for my future research with this specialization. Furthermore, my prospective study in the MESC+ program will give me a well-rounded education with balanced hard skills and soft skills through professional courses, such as Tools for Bibliography, Fund Hunting and Intellectual Property (TU18), and presentation techniques (TU19).

After finishing my master's study, my immediate intention is to get a Ph.D. and postdoc in nanotechnology. I aspire to become a researcher/faculty in a university and also establish a start-up in nanotechnology. I aim to be admitted to Stanford University or King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) in Saudi Arabia for my further study and career developments. Those universities have a very supportive environment to foster our analytical thinking by research and a sense of entrepreneurship as they provide a mature incubator program for new-born start-ups. I want to deepen my knowledge and skill about nanotechnology, which I want to develop and apply a breakthrough yet feasible technology. I always want to learn more about technological advancement from research & development and build my own battery technology company in Indonesia to spread modernization in the future and promote electric vehicle democratization. I am enthusiastic about starting my study journey in MESC+, and I look forward to hearing the good news from MESC+.
Holt  Educational Consultant - / 10,535 3447  
Mar 17, 2021   #2
Focus your response on the movements of your country to focus on developing lithium raw materials for electric cars. Always focus on the immediate response rather than a lengthy introduction. Just because you have a 2000 word allowance does not mean you need to bore the reviewer with an extremely long, but often irrelevant response. He needs you to be quick, on point, and informative in every paragraph. Do not create an unnecessarily long presentation. That is not going to gain you point and will only result in the reviewer deciding to stop reviewing your essay after a paragraph or so. You want him to read it till the very end and you can only do that by holding his interest through informative and focused paragraph presentations.

You can skip the first paragraph and just integrate the Indonesia based information into the second paragraph. That is where the actual discussion begins anyway. Not only will it shorten the essay, but it will also provide immediate and relevant information that will make the reviewer continue reading your application letter.

I directly asked her through direct chat

- And learned what? How did that chat influence your decision? That is a more relevant response than what you learned on your own since you spoke directly to an alumna of the program whose name may just carry influence, provided she will also be recommending you for the scholarship.
OP habibalaziz123 1 / 1  
Mar 17, 2021   #3
Thank you for your feedback. Is there any feedback for the fifth paragraph and the rest of the essay?
Thank you very much

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