One of Ghana’s top broadcast journalists and a Chevening Scholar, Martin Asiedu-Dartey shares his experience with us and gives some tips and insights on handling scholarship essays and interviews for prospective students.
My name is Martin Asiedu-Dartey, I’m a Broadcast Journalist at TV3 in Ghana with about 12 years experience in Broadcast Journalism. I have been very passionate about journalism and my mentor and career coach was the late Komla Dumor.
All these years I had been practicing without any background in the profession till I recently graduated with a Masters in Journalism. I was driven by pure passion and I learnt on the job. When I had the opportunity to do a Masters program in the UK, I decided to pursue a Masters in International Journalism for Digital Media at the University of Salford, Manchester.
This course was to help me upgrade what I had been doing to match international standards and to tell African stories the right way.
I applied for the Chevening scholarship on two occasions and although I got to the interview stage, I never made it to the final list. But then, three is the charm, I guess! I got in on the third try.
In hindsight, I now understand what was expected of me as an individual who wanted to join the Chevening community of world changers. I believe I’m on the right track to influence positive change in Africa to think right and act right.
I was motivated to apply for the scholarship because I knew it was a great opportunity to learn at some of the best universities in the world and get hands-on experiences from institutions that have practiced the journalism profession for decades like BBC, Sky News and ITV. Also, I loved how the scholarship encouraged scholars to come back to their home country and change the world in their own small ways.
For me, the most challenging part of the application was the interview stage. However, I realized that I was expected to convince the panel that I knew what I was talking about, understood my industry, knew what the challenges were and had feasible and workable solutions to the problems. The interview also looked out for honesty. You have to be your true self!
For the essays, what helped me was that I had been practicing for years so I knew my industry quite well and knew what the challenges were and what could be done to make the media better. So what I wrote in my essay corresponded to how I answered my interview questions. The suggestions and solutions I offered were also workable. I researched and backed my essays with facts and figures.
Preparing for the interview, I read through my essays because half of the questions asked would be about your essay and how well you know and believe what you’ve written. You should also have good reasons why you chose your universities and the respective courses and how they relate to what you’re currently doing. This shows a sense of direction.
You should be able to tell the interviewer how the courses you’ve picked to study would help your country when you return. Getting this right is very important.
You should know a bit of current affairs and what’s happening in your country. I can’t stress this enough, BE CONFIDENT. Don’t second guess yourself . When you believe you’ve made a valid point, stand by it and defend it. Appear smart, make eye contact and when you give a handshake, make sure it’s firm.
I wish all applicants the best and would encourage people interested to apply.