I am applying for Chevening this year and is preparing the essays. Here is the first one. Any comments or suggestions is appreciated. Thank you in advance.
Chevening is looking for individuals that will be future leaders or influencers in their home countries. Explain how you meet this requirement, using clear examples of your own leadership and influencing skills to support your answer (minimum word count: 50 words, maximum word count: 500 words).
I have been working for PT. JFE Engineering Indonesia, an engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) company, since I graduated from university in 2013. Working as the main contractor in a project, it is my daily jobs to manage and coordinate with various sub-contractors and workers either from office desk or directly at site. I have the opportunities to become the person in charge for various jobs throughout the project. For example, I was to lead the work of cathodic protection system for a gas pipeline project starting from the design, materials purchase, installation and finally testing. Throughout each of these stages, I was working with people older than me. It was hard because they all have much more experience than I do. Communication became the key here. During technical meetings and negotiations, I learned to convey my opinions and critics in a respectful manner. I also prepared data and facts to support my arguments whenever necessary. This way, I got their attention and also their respect.
A leader should have initiative. Although I was not part of the cost and budget team, I always tried to reduce our cost whenever possible. There was one occasion when we need to purchase additional few hundreds meters of electric cable. Previously, we had always bought these cable from our cathodic protection sub-contractor. Seeing how expensive the price they offered, I took the initiative to look up in the internet the contact of one cable manufacturer and asked our procurement team to request a quotation from them. It turned out that they quoted a price that was about 60% cheaper. However, the delivery time of this offer is longer than the first offer and construction should not be stopped because of material shortage. I proposed to our team that we should buy a hundred meter cable, which could last for about one month, from our sub-contractor and buy the remaining from cable manufacturer. It was agreed; we were able to save money and the construction work was not postponed.
I believe integrity is one the most importance trait that my country needs from its leaders right now. And integrity is what I have been keeping as my life value. I was once offered by our supplier if I want to mark up the price written in the invoice to my company so I can keep the excess money. As a normal human being, I did hesitate for a moment but then I came to my sense and rejected their offer. I have to keep myself accountable and trustworthy so that people will follow me.
To conclude, I believe I have the important traits required to be a future leader in my country. Communication skill to become the bridge between Chevening community and Indonesia, initiative to seek improvement in every aspects, and integrity to lead the people.
Your writing ability is good, but yet your leadership is not quiet clear in your example above, you should add more clear examples for your leadership, for example try it from an academic side then jump through your professional experience to end with extracurricular activities. Try to make your context more vivid.
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Sandy, never underestimate yourself in your essay. You are selling yourself short by saying you do not have direct leadership qualities that can help your application. You actually have pretty specific and highly impressive examples in this essay. You just need to bring the correct leadership traits to the top of the essay. A simple reformat will fix that.
Delete the part that you have now which says that you don't have any direct subordinates to lead. That is an incorrect statement on your part because in the next paragraph, you specifically speak of taking the lead on a difficult project. Once you combine your first paragraph and your current second paragraph into a new paragraph, you have the perfect introduction to your leadership skills.
Your initiative comment is precisely the kind of information that would impress the reviewer. You give a sense of understanding what or that you have an exemplary personal definition of what a leader should be. Keep that paragraph in the essay. It does not need to be developed further.
Finally, the comment about integrity is also something that clearly sets your apart from the other applicants. These clear and vivid examples of your leadership and influencing traits have combined to create a resounding success of an essay for your application.
If I were to critique anything, maybe, it would be that you should develop a solid concluding statement to the essay. Just to close the discussion on a positive note. Explain how you hope these skills will be put to good use as a Chevening scholar and alumna in the future.