July 4, 2023
Graduating scholars attend second Mock Interview and Career Talk
By Joy Rojas
In a sea of job applicants, what would it take to stand out and grab an employer’s attention?
For graduating scholars of the Tzu Chi Foundation, it’s adding this statement when introducing themselves to potential hirers: “I am a Tzu Chi scholar.”
This piece of advice, along with other practical tips, was covered in the second Mock Interview and Career Talk held at Buddhist Tzu Chi Campus’ Harmony Hall on July 1. Fifty graduating Tzu Chi scholars representing different schools and courses participated in this activity under the educational assistance program of Tzu Chi’s Charity Department.
Seasoned executives from Metrobank, Accenture, and other top corporations were invited to conduct the practice interviews. Through these one-on-one simulations, scholars were able to rehearse answering tough questions, get immediate feedback on how they presented themselves, see which areas they could improve on, and develop the confidence to face real-world interviews.
It was Maridol Siapuatco, head of Metrobank’s program management division, and Darwin Soriano, vice president for IT of SM Investments Corporation, who recommended scholars to mention “I am a Tzu Chi scholar” when they’re asked to say something about themselves in actual job interviews.
“To promote the awareness of Tzu Chi,” says Maridol. “Especially the value formation training it gives its scholars and the holistic way it helps scholars and their families. These would really help promote Tzu Chi and how important education is in the country, especially for the less-fortunate ones.”
“It’s a privilege,” says Dhanica Benablo, a BS Architecture major from the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila (PLM) of the day’s session. “Not everyone is given the opportunity to prepare for a job interview.”
Dhanica believes being a Tzu Chi scholar is her edge over other job applicants. “We are not just financially aided. We are honed by values embodied by all Tzu Chi scholars. A Tzu Chi scholar is an advantage to any company because we are well disciplined. We are also compassionate and have integrity in everything we do.”
Fellow PLM architecture major John Vincent Obias agrees. “Tzu Chi has helped empower us and nurture our values. This is important to highlight at a time when we are stepping up and embarking on a new chapter in our lives.”
Tzu Chi’s scholarship program does more than provide poor yet deserving youth with the means to get quality education. It molds students into well-rounded individuals through its monthly Humanities classes. In each gathering, Tzu Chi volunteers pick a relevant topic or teachings from Dharma Master Cheng Yen and invite speakers to inspire the young and impressionable audience with lessons drawn from personal experience.
The son of a construction worker father and street food vendor mother, John Vincent remembers how a Humanities class on coping with stress made a huge impact on him. “As a student, I face a lot of struggles—physically, mentally, and emotionally. That one seminar of Tzu Chi was very memorable to me because it helped straighten my thinking. It helped improve my mental fortitude and be myself in trying times.”
For Dhanica, two of Tzu Chi’s 10 precepts—"Do not participate in politics or demonstrations” and “Be filial to your parents and be moderate in speech and attitude”—transformed her in ways she never expected.
“I’m very vocal about my political opinions,” she says. “But I learned that you don’t have to get involved in politics—you just have to be a better individual in your community.” Dhanica also admits to once having an attitude towards her parents, a delivery rider and a housewife. Through Humanities classes on filial piety, she learned to value and respect her parents and forge a more loving relationship with them.
Ultimately, a Tzu Chi scholarship doesn’t just prepare students for work and a career; it prepares them for life, too. “If not for Tzu Chi, I wouldn’t be where I am right now,” says John Vincent.
“Who I am today, I owe it to Tzu Chi Foundation,” avers Dhanica.