Like many other young talents who ventured into their tertiary education, Kavena Sivapragasam, a former Great Eastern scholar, held her dreams high and was determined to attain a scholarship to finance her degree. Now, an Associate under the Talent Acquisition team, Kavena recounts her experience and shares her journey of empowerment throughout her undergraduate years, and how Great Eastern had supported her ambitions.
Majoring in the field of Psychology, Kavena researched and applied for a number of scholarship programmes, including the Great Eastern Supremacy Scholarship Award. What stole her attention was the Great Eastern experience, which involved an array of assessments and interesting tasks to evaluate candidates. “Compared to the other scholarship processes I went through, Great Eastern made the entire evaluation process unique, fun, and engaging. It made a lasting impression on me, and I remember thinking it was the best assessment experience I’d ever had,” said Kavena.
Empowered to break boundaries
Scholars often carry with them the pressure to set the correct example and tone for both themselves and the organisation. However, for Kavena, that positive nudge to be one-step ahead is what pushed her to thrive and to build her confidence, “I’m naturally quite introverted, but I knew I had to step out of my comfort zone and in some ways, being a Great Eastern scholar helped me do that. It gave me the push to be more active.” During her time in university, she was president of the student council and continued to excel in her studies as a high achiever, while pursuing her passion in advocating mental wellbeing.
As part of the scholarship programme, a number of initiatives are organised by Great Eastern to engage with their scholars on an annual basis – the annual leadership camp being the most highly awaited event of the year. It provides an opportunity for the scholars to bond and build long lasting friendships. “One activity that really stuck with me was when we had to break a board, which symbolised breaking through our limiting beliefs. It was a life-changing experience that taught us that we are far more capable than we previously believed and that our potential is limitless,” said Kavena.
The Great Eastern Supremacy Scholarship programme is one of the company’s main graduate recruitment programme to build the organisation’s talent pipeline, and scholars are automatically absorbed into the company upon graduating. This was certainly the case for Kavena – who was offered a permanent role in the Talent Acquisition team shortly after completing her internship in the same department. “I’ve always wanted to go into the HR field and as a Talent Acquisition Associate, I am able to directly apply what I learned in my degree, particularly when we evaluate candidates and determine who would be a good fit for the role.”
Part of her responsibilities include sourcing for candidates, conducting interviews, and building a candidate profile that has the ideal traits and qualities to fit the job profile. “In HR, we deal with people, and why I love my current role so much is the fact that I’m able to engage and build a bond with candidates, regardless their application outcome.”
Future filled with potential
Although starting her career in the insurance industry was secondary, Kavena discovered an interest in the organisation’s values. “When I joined the company, I noticed that Great Eastern had a strong focus in sustainability, developing people, as well as employee wellness. Graduating during a pandemic can be quite overwhelming because unemployment rates were rising; I was relieved to have been offered employment at such a time, even more so at a company that has values aligned with my own.”
What’s her advice for students looking for scholarship? Kavena says, “Don’t limit yourself and be open to possibilities. Be okay to explore and try new things, and remember that rejections are completely normal and part of the bigger picture. Just keep on trying.”
To find out more about the Great Eastern Supremacy Scholarship, visit Great Eastern Malaysia’s website.