Interview with Melissa Enninful: 2020 Chevening Scholar

Melissa is a recipient of the Chevening Scholarship, where she is currently pursuing a Master of Science degree in e-Business Management at the University of Warwick. The Chevening Scholarships enable outstanding emerging leaders from all over the world to pursue one - year masters degree in the United Kingdom. This post aims to highlight Melissa’s experience from the application process to becoming a Chevening Scholar.


Who is Melissa Enninful?

Succinctly, Melissa is a solution - oriented and multi - faceted woman, who enjoys using her creative side to solve problems using technology.


How did you hear about the Chevening Scholarship?

The first time I actually heard about the Chevening Scholarship was in 2018 on my Instagram timeline. I came across a post from a Senior in the High School I attended captioned, “I CAN’T KEEP CALM! I’VE BEEN CHOSEN FOR CHEVENING” which aroused my curiosity to find out more.


What prompted you to apply for this scholarship opportunity?

I was in a phase where I was actually exploring scholarship opportunities to advance my education abroad and decided to take advantage of the opportunity available by applying.


You were only recently awarded the Chevening Scholarship in 2020. Is there a reason which explains the gap from the time you first heard about the scholarship in 2018 to finally being awarded just last year?

My first attempt at the scholarship application was actually in 2018 and unfortunately, I was unsuccessful. I re - applied the following year, and got selected as a Chevening Scholar.


What would you say was the major difference(s) between your 2018 and 2019 application?

The first time I applied in 2018, I hadn’t done much research about what it actually took to be a successful Chevening Scholar applicant as compared to the following year. In 2019, I reached out to at least one Chevening Scholar alum and gathered as much information I could, thoroughly proofread my essays, etc..which I believed helped me in the long run.

After being unsuccessful with your first application in 2018, what was it that gave you the urge to re - apply for the Chevening Scholarship in 2019?

Imposter syndrome did set in when my application was not successful in the 2019 cycle, but three weeks to the deadline in the 2020 application season, I came across a post on LinkedIn from a network who shared his Chevening experience, and decided to give it another shot by re - applying for the Chevening Award.


How would you describe the application process?

The scholarship application opens in August and closes in November of each year. There are 4 essays, each highlighting different themes with a 500-word limit you must respond to, and scholarship applicants are also required to choose at least 3 universities. From the essay stage, the scholarship committee sifts candidates to the interview stage, where successful interviewees are later awarded a conditional Scholarship on condition they provide evidence of an unconditional offer of admission from the university they applied to by July.



Would you advise students to apply to their intended university(ies) first before applying for the Chevening Scholarship?

It’s best to have an idea of the schools you intend to apply to, that way, you are able to give a well thought out response when answering the essays in the Chevening Scholarship application. However, you can apply concurrently or after submitting the scholarship application, but it is really important you play your cards right.


When were you informed you were selected for the interview?

February 2020.


Were there any documents you had to submit at the interview stage?

Recommendation letters and school transcripts were the main documents required.


Who interviews shortlisted applicants?

A panel from the British High Commission


What advice would you give to someone preparing for the interview?

Be unique and stay true to yourself! Be familiar with the essays you submitted! Be consistent throughout the interview! Research on the scholarship, the schools you applied to, and provide any progressive life update that may have occurred after you submitted your application if you feel it may boost your candidacy.


Did you experience any difficulties in the Chevening Scholarship application process?

I didn’t. I thoroughly read everything on the Chevening website to make sure I understood the requirements and whenever I was in doubt, I also made sure to ask questions. I remember during my time, one person in my cohort created a WhatsApp group for Chevening applicants, which allowed us to feed off information and learn from one another.


Was Chevening the only scholarship you applied to?

It was Chevening and funding from the Ghana government, but the latter didn’t work out.


There are so many countries and schools you could have chosen to study! Why Chevening? Why UK? Why Warwick?

I’ve always had a preference for the UK when it came to studying abroad and Chevening was the only scholarship opportunity on my table that I was aware of at that time. I had an aunty who attended Warwick, and it’s a school I’ve heard a lot about, so although I got admitted to the other 2 universities on my list (i.e. Imperial College London and Lancaster University), accepting to attend University of Warwick was a no brainer. It also helped that Warwick’s e - Business program which was my intended program of study was ranked #1 in the UK at the time of my application.


Were you always committed to pursuing a master’s degree?

I never thought of pursuing a master’s degree while I was in undergrad. I always wanted to have some working experience before furthering my education, which I think paid off because I was able to use my work experience to tell an authentic story in my graduate school and scholarship applications.


When did you feel ready or how did you know it was time to further your education?

It got to a point where I felt ‘stuck’ at work and innately knew I was ready for a new experience. I’ve always been passionate about doing more knowing fully well of my capabilities and felt studying abroad was the next phase of my life’s journey.


How has the student experience at Warwick been for you?

I’ve met students from all over the world, mostly Asians! In my class, I’m the only African and black person! I’ve had more eclectic ideas as a result of being surrounded by such a diverse group and have become more open - minded to everyday issues.


How would you compare the educational experience between Ghana and the UK?

The education in Ghana puts you in some type of ‘survival mode’ because you literally have to ‘fight’ for almost everything, so it has made studying abroad somewhat easy for me because of the plethora of resources at your disposal and the easy access to faculty and staff members here in the UK. However, it also helped that I did have at least one professor in Ghana who also attained his higher education abroad and did well to implement some foreign educational practices into the syllabus, which familiarized me with the system abroad.


What do you hope to use the degree for once you graduate?

It’s quite blur now for various reasons, but outside of academics, I’ve acquired so many soft skills that would make me a competitive candidate for my next adventure.


How would you describe your Chevening experience?

I wouldn’t change it for anything because it’s opened my mind to a lot of things. It’s not been a smooth ride throughout, but the journey has definitely been worthwhile. Chevening is one experience I feel everyone who has the opportunity should fully take advantage and immerse in it.


The process of selecting Chevening Scholars takes a minimum of eight months from the application deadline to when applicants are conditionally selected for an award. The deadline for applications is 2 November 2021 at 12:00 GMT (midday UK time). Apply here!