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Old 31-03-2011, 10:21 PM
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Originally Posted by bongewj View Post
thanks for all the feedback! but can anyone elaborate more about how the 6 years will define my future? i'm quite keen on getting an overseas education cos it'll be a change from the local system, which i don't quite like. but, as mentioned, the 6 year bond is quite daunting. i've considered loans, but it will certainly be tough, especially since everything hinges on getting a good enough paying job to pay off the loan + interests. and unfortunately there isn't financial aid for international students at umich. oh, does being a scholar help at all in the future?
Basically, when you take up a scholarship, you shouldn't be thinking about "leaving" after your bond because the whole idea is of a scholarship is that DSTA or any other company for that matter is trying to "chope" you. They are taking a risk that you will do well in your studies and then perform well in the assigned workscope to "repay" the company. In return, they pay for your Uni fees, plus allowance and all the misc bits and pieces that you see in your scholarship contract.

You should take up the scholarship with the mindset that the defence industry is really what you want to do for the very long term. And if this be so, the scholarship gives you a headstart over your peers in the same arena. Scholars get more opportunities and special assignments that broaden their exposure to prepare them for leadership roles in the future. Of course, these are essentially "tests" to see if the scholar actually makes the cut. Non-scholars do not get such opportunities.

In the dark background, your scholar status means your performance will be monitored and somewhat protected (e.g. minimum performance grade) unless you really fuc ked up and your boss is dumping you.

I am sure you know that as a DSTA scholar, you don't have to join DSTA per se to do project management. You can also join DSO, CSIT and even the uniformed services e.g. Air Log, Naval Log as a civilian executive. My take is that if you really want to protect your market value as an engineer, join DSO and do hardcore engineering technical work such as RF, Digital Hardware, Software etc. (But try not to get into "programs" because their subject matter is too sensitive for you to be of legal market value in the industry)

The other good choice would be to go into CSIT. They are into Infocomm research. Essentially, this is the technological arm of SID. Scholars such as yourself get the chance to join the Intelligence Officer (IO) Scheme upfront (Although i heard that recently, they are tightening the entry criteria for this scheme of service). This is a pension service and the renumeration is 2nd only to the Administrative Service - the only other remaining pension service, short of joining politics and the AO scheme is by invitation only. The pension scheme requires you to serve 8 years but then your bond already takes up 6 years. You serve well you get paid well. Comfortable living. What for take the risk of joining the financial industry where there is no guarantee of big bucks?

Think about what you have on hand. The chance to study at any University in the world that you can get into (ok la i admit the downside is must study the course they specify) and the earmark for a bright future.
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