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prospects of a scholar

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  #11 (permalink)  
Old 31-03-2011, 05:13 PM
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I disagree. If you can't afford, I suggest it's better to do your studies here in sg than take a non-elite scholarship. Grad top in class and then work in the private sector. I can almost guarantee you'll have a brighter future than being a "farmer" scholar, and maybe much happier.

If possible, ask your sponsoring organization for a chance to speak with existing scholars and discretely probe for information from them. See how "high flying" they are.

-ex farmer scholar
I agree with this guy. I wrote that example of India and Sg. I personally dont think UMich will benefit u a lot more than NUS. Forget the ranking/reputation crap. If the bond does not give u a dream job (DSTA is ur top choice ?) , it will not be worth it. 6 yrs is a long time. It will be hard to convince employers to give u a job in a different area. Employers will not look at ur univ, they will look at ur experience.

What options do u have if u stay in Singapore ?? But if u study in SG, work hard and get top grades. If u have good grades, u can go abroad for MS or get a good job locally.

Better still, go n find out how DSTA is as an employer. Can u see a future there ? U shd not worry abt US n Umich. U can go there in future too. Think more abt what u will get at the end of it. One path is DSTA , the other is what u make of it .

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Old 31-03-2011, 06:18 PM
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if your only option to study at u mich is the scholarship, then you will need to go into the deal with both eyes open and be aware of the tradeoffs
--> i forgot to say i don't recommend this, but ultimately, the choice is yours

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Old 31-03-2011, 09:16 PM
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think about it from an employers point of view. what relevant experiences/special skills can you bring to the table after 6 years with DSTA? would suggest:

- try for another scholarship with more "transferable"/"exportable" experience.
- go for it without a scholarship if you parents can afford and work for awhile in the us after you graduate.

at the end of the day, what do you want to achieve at the end of the 6years?

your peers whom are as good as you and joined big banks and MNCs in the private sector after graduation would have a much broader outlook/experience and certainly make much more $ if they are top performers.

have fun! : )

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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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  #15 (permalink)  
Old 31-03-2011, 11:01 PM
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> earmark for a bright future

Depends on how you define "bright future". It will never be bright if you aren't one of the elite scholars.


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  #16 (permalink)  
Old 01-04-2011, 09:34 AM
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for the defence industry, there is only 1 type of undergrad scholarship whether you consider it "elite" or not - DSTA. unless PSC scholars e.g. OMS, PS etc wish to come into the defence arena.. the key point is that to become "elite", you have to also put in your own efforts. what is the minimum position to reach that you consider "bright"? DS? 2PS? PS? or just CEO or Director? CEO of DSO was "only" a LMS holder, NUS grad. Considered elite? the ex-CE of DSTA Mr Soh Khong Peng who has since passed away (obituary in today's Straits Times) was a former air-force officer (LTC if i m not wrong before he joined DSTA) from Air Log. "elite"?

its true that financial sector can offer you really really big bucks.. but what are the chances to hit that jackpot as compared to what the TS already have on hand even though it is financially less rewarding? how many people who choose financial sector end up with mediocre support roles that can be easily replaced by someone cheaper? bright?
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Old 01-04-2011, 11:29 AM
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for the defence industry, there is only 1 type of undergrad scholarship whether you consider it "elite" or not - DSTA. unless PSC scholars e.g. OMS, PS etc wish to come into the defence arena.. the key point is that to become "elite", you have to also put in your own efforts. what is the minimum position to reach that you consider "bright"? DS? 2PS? PS? or just CEO or Director? CEO of DSO was "only" a LMS holder, NUS grad. Considered elite? the ex-CE of DSTA Mr Soh Khong Peng who has since passed away (obituary in today's Straits Times) was a former air-force officer (LTC if i m not wrong before he joined DSTA) from Air Log. "elite"?

its true that financial sector can offer you really really big bucks.. but what are the chances to hit that jackpot as compared to what the TS already have on hand even though it is financially less rewarding? how many people who choose financial sector end up with mediocre support roles that can be easily replaced by someone cheaper? bright?
LTC is no BG. Definitely not elite. In terms of income, definitely below the admin service superscales. Maybe barely scraping MR4. Just my guess.

If you wanna do real defence, be a US citizen and join a big defense contractor. That's real defense, bleeding edge technology, and big money.
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Old 01-04-2011, 02:32 PM
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LTC is no BG. Definitely not elite. In terms of income, definitely below the admin service superscales. Maybe barely scraping MR4. Just my guess.

If you wanna do real defence, be a US citizen and join a big defense contractor. That's real defense, bleeding edge technology, and big money.
hello.. CE-DSTA is a post DS appointment. Before SKP became CE, it was ex-Chief of Navy (2-star admiral) Richard Lim who held that post after serving as DS(TT).. the CE estab is 2 levels above a 2-star adm/gen.

Join US defence industry? you are getting out of point.
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Old 01-04-2011, 03:03 PM
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hello.. CE-DSTA is a post DS appointment. Before SKP became CE, it was ex-Chief of Navy (2-star admiral) Richard Lim who held that post after serving as DS(TT).. the CE estab is 2 levels above a 2-star adm/gen.

Join US defence industry? you are getting out of point.
Why do they get ex navy to head DSTA? he was an elite SAF OS scholar right?

The fact that DSTA / Mindef DTTA scholars aren't up there says a lot about the pecking order of the various scholarships.

To OP: don't take up the scholarship, unless you are ready to feel "wasted" and 怀才不遇 all your life.
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  #20 (permalink)  
Old 01-04-2011, 09:40 PM
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Do consider carefully before taking up a scholarship with such long bonds. The main draw for the scholarship is the overseas exposure and experience. Do note that for 4 years of overseas experience, you will be bonded 6 years locally in Singapore. Secondly, will the job scope and industry (defense) be of interest to you?

Let me share my personal experience with you. I was also awarded the PSC scholarship back in 1999 with a 4 years bond. I was attracted by the prestige (as was with most of my peers back then). Thankfully, my brother told me to reconsider and to study the field where I am most interested in. I declined the scholarship, got into NUS and signed up for their Student Exchange Programme where I spent 6 months studying in a overseas university. (I read that currently there are more programmes with up to 1 year.)

Upon graduation, I choose a job which gives me opportunities to travel overseas. Normally jobs with overseas travel, the pay is good, twice of what your average peers are earning. After spending 3.5 of my 6 years in my company overseas in China, Japan, Taiwan and Korea, here I am back to Singapore and ready to make a job switch.

I enjoyed every bit of my overseas exposure and the best part is I am interested in the industry I am working at. I learnt Japanese during my working years and have made many friends around the different countries and learnt many different business cultures.

So if you are considering for overseas exposure, do not only look at your education span but also beyond when you are working. The contacts and people you meet will greatly give your career a major boost. I'm not sure about the defense industry, but normally once you spend more than 5 years in the civil service, it's quite difficult to jump back into the private sector. Leaving the comfort zone is difficult once you reach the 30s as that is the time you may have mortgage loan to pay, family and young kids to support.
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