We spoke with Ernst & Young’s Carin Stern about the influx of bursary and scholarship queries worldwide!
1. Are bursaries and scholarships seen as a reward system for companies awarding them or are they a mandatory implementation?
Bursaries are definitely not a mandatory implementation - infact they are a way of rewarding a student for their hard work and effort as well as "securing" the talent that the student has. Bursaries are often seen as an incentive for a student to join a company and in exchange for the bursary-the student will make a commitment to the company to work there for a period of time.
2. What are the common misconceptions about bursaries and scholarships?
Some students feel entitled to a bursary because of their circumstances and academics - what they do not realise is that sometimes there may be someone who has more severe circumstances than themselves and that person may have stronger academics. There are different types of bursaries - not all bursaries cover absolutely all the expenses.

3. From an accounting perspective, have individuals whom have received bursaries and scholarships become leaders in this field?
There have been many individuals that have gone onto becoming leaders in this field but not all of them do. From an auditing perspective, most trainees see their 3 years of articles as a 3 year commitment to the firm and after those 3 years they venture out into commerce and seek different opportunities. At Ernst & Young (South Africa) we do not award bursaries on pure academics as there are a number of factors we consider outside of academics before making a final decision.
4. In terms of South Africa why is there such a desperate need for Bursaries and Scholarships?
Globally tuition is very expensive and the average person simply cannot afford the cost. In terms of South Africa some students may apply for loans but they are not granted as they do not have anybody who is able to stand surety for them. The only other option they may have is a government (NSFAS) loan. This is where companies are able to assist.
5. What are the challenges in finding a suitable candidate for a bursary or scholarship?
There are 1000's of applications - each application has to be reviewed and assessed on a case by case basis. It is challenging finding the "right" person to fit a business culture. We also need to ensure that the documentation that is provided is legitimate. We look for students that are consistent with regards to their academics, an all rounder,team players, leadership ability, excellent communication skills and manage their time effectively. This package of qualities is not easy to come by, at the end of the day it is about finding the best talent on offer!
Find out more about careers at Ernst & Young (South Africa): http://www.ey.com/ZA
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