SMU MBA students receive 2015 MasterCard MBA Scholarships for Women

On 28 January, MasterCard announced the 2015 recipients of the MasterCard MBA Scholarships for Women.  The collaboration between MasterCard and the Singapore Management University (SMU), which is in its fifth year, aims to empower awardees to better manage their academic and community commitments, and further develop them into outstanding female leaders.  The Scholarship recognises full-time female students in SMU’s MBA programme who have stood out with their excellent academic record, entrepreneurial potential and passion for community service.

The recipients of the Scholarship this year are Veronica Ho Pei Wen and Sweta Kalantri.

For the past seven years, Veronica has volunteered in various orphanages in Cambodia as a member of her church mission.  She has been involved in educating the local children of Siem Reap in hygiene practices as well as in tutoring them.  Her efforts in finding sponsors for the orphans’ university education have paid off and she has made an impact on the lives of some of the local youths.  She has also taught local young women skills such as crocheting so that they can produce items for sale in more affluent markets like Singapore and Australia, to become self-sustainable in the future and improve their lives.  In Singapore, she has also taught basic financial knowledge to secondary school and Junior College students under the Standard Chartered Financial Literacy Programme.

Grateful for the scholarship, Veronica said, “Having an education is a privilege for many.  Getting a world-class education at SMU with a scholarship from a prestigious organisation like MasterCard is an opportunity that I am truly grateful for.  MasterCard’s efforts towards empowering and equipping future women leaders with a heart for the community is indeed an admirable feat as this leads to reciprocity whereby a cycle of generosity flows.“

“SMU has the innate ability to bring education to life, making it relevant and practical to our Asian context.  Certainly, being a city campus is a bonus too!” she added, when asked why she chose SMU to pursue her MBA education.

[Photo: (L-R) SMU MBA students, Sweta Kalantri and Veronica Ho Pei Wen.]

For Sweta, growing up in a nurturing environment developed in her a firm belief that every child needs a good foundation for building a fulfilling and successful life.  While working in the United States, Sweta was trained and certified as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) Volunteer under Voices for Children – an organisation which advocates for the rights and well-being of children in the foster care system in San Diego, California.  She described the experience as ‘emotionally rewarding’.  Although she is an engineer by training, Sweta also gained firsthand experience as an entrepreneur when she started her own home-based venture in Singapore selling personalised baby clothing following the arrival of her first child in 2013.

Sweta said, "I am honored to receive the MasterCard MBA Scholarship award for Women. Such scholarships provide an excellent platform for women to pursue their professional goals and become successful leaders of tomorrow. I hope to continue representing the spirit of this grant, by aiming for professional excellence and meaningful contributions back to society."

Associate Professor Gregor Halff, Associate Dean (General Management Programmes), SMU Lee Kong Chian School of Business, said, “Diversity is a key feature of the SMU MBA.  Since inception, our class is a mix of diverse cultures, lifestyles and nationalities, and always boasts a significant female representation. I’m heartened that we have a like-minded partner in MasterCard who acknowledges and promotes greater awareness of the important contributions of women in business and society. We are also grateful for the long-standing support from MasterCard towards the SMU MBA programme.  This scholarship recognises high-achievers in our MBA programme who demonstrate entrepreneurial potential and embody SMU’s DNA of contributing to the community. We are very proud of Sweta and Veronica for their achievements; they are certainly an inspiration to their peers and other young women aiming for success.”

Besides receiving a scholarship, Veronica and Sweta will also undertake an internship with MasterCard to learn more about the business and operations of the global technology company. To date, a total of 13 SMU MBA students have benefitted from the scholarship programme.

Georgette Tan, Group Head, Communications, Asia/Pacific, MasterCard, said, “Over the past four years, we’ve seen how it’s been a win-win situation – the scholarship recipients have a chance to experience first-hand the workings of a technology company and MasterCard gains from the fresh perspective and contributions brought about by these brilliant young women.”


[Featured Photo: (L-R) SMU MBA students, Veronica Ho Pei Wen and Sweta Kalantri.]