Fulbright Interview Experience 2016 #1
Interview Date: 26th August,2016
Education: Bs Environmental Engineering from NUST
Work Experience: 1 year in a renewable energy firm
Final Year Project: Salinity Gradient Solar Pond (first plot scale plant ever constructed in Pakistan)
Gre Score: 308
Shortlisting Ratio: 450/1600
Proposed field of study: Energy and Environmental Management
I was escorted to the interview room by the psychologist. As I entered I found two ladies from USEFP, one female U.S Alumnus who was a trainer and another Male Fulbright Alumnus with specialization in computer engineering (No person from my field of study).
The moment I entered, I went and shook hands with the ladies. They got sort of surprised but responded back with a beaming smile and warm hand shake. Following were some of the questions:
• The USEFP lady asked me to introduce myself. (I began with a brief introduction of my educational career at NUST and how I am working in a Scottish renewable energy firm which aligns with my degree
• The second question was asked about my final year project. I described it completely correlating it with current need of it in Pakistan. Hence, advocating waste to energy concept.
• Will you be okay if we do not place you in University of Texas El Paso (the university which has real time working solar pond). I said that I will be OK only if I get a good program related to energy and environmental management. Although SGSP is my passion but it might narrow down my scope of study while on the other hand energy and environmental management would help me build an impact on a larger scale/
• To this they asked what do you plan on doing for Energy and Environmental Management. I got really excited on the question and told them I have decided everything through. They all began laughing. I also apologized for coming out as a little over ambitious. They were all kind enough to just laugh out loud and nod their heads. I gave an overview of current status of Pakistan and compared it with how there is no concept of relating energy with environment. I gave further overview of what the government is doing now and how if we compare it US (i provided some statistics), we are a century apart
They had to make me stop because I got all passionate but the American Lady said following: “No no. it is so good to see that you are actually this passionate about your work which is SO GREAT”. Then she gave a thumbs up.
• Your academic profile is great but why such a low GRE Score (the male interviewer asked, smiling to that) I gave the reason of a hectic work schedule. He asked if I will be okay in retaking the exam. I said I will be if they ask me to.
• Will you be okay with living away from home?
• U.S lady said, “I can see your academically but tell me how will you make a cultural impact”. I said this is the MOST exciting part about Fulbright! I am in a class where there is a plethora of different races. Their issues will differ from mine which will increase my horizon of intellect. I also said that I am thinking of it as a long term goal that we conduct symposiums on and off in Pakistan and help find solutions mutually.
• Any challenges you think you will face?
I assured them I am a friendly person and I know people will like me but I think I might have issue with accommodation. The male alumnus of Fulbright ensured me I won’t.
Advice: Just be PASSIONATE. You should be clear on what exactly do you want to do. They want to see that spark in your eyes for whatever career path you are choosing and be VERY realistic about why Pakistan needs it.
Although I am not sure if I am selected or not. They did not ask me anything technical. It seemed like a normal and jovial chat. Good luck to everyone!