LONDON: The Qimam Fellowship, a scholarship program for Saudi students backed by corporations including Al Tayyar Travel Group, Careem, McKinsey & Company and Cisco, has completed its inaugural round of shortlisted candidates.
The fellowship program, formally launched in February, interviewed more than 140 candidates, selected from over 13,000 applicants. Interviews were conducted by more than 50 leaders from the public and private sectors, Qimam said in a statement on Wednesday.
Interviewed candidates will be informed of the outcome of the interview process and next steps on May 10, the organisation said. Approximately 50 candidates will be chosen as “Fellows” in the first round.
“The level of candidates in the interview stage was outstanding,” said Qimam’s founder and CEO Annas Abedin.
“Although the Qimam Fellowship is still in its first year, the high number of applicants and the wide range of their impressive accomplishments underscores the outstanding academic and creative potential of youth in Saudi Arabia.”
Shortlisted students were selected from over 40 universities, and are enrolled in disciplines including medicine, engineering, business and management, and media. Female candidates made up 59 percent of those selected for the initial round.
Candidates participated in two in-person interviews in Riyadh, and were quizzed on their academic and non-academic accomplishments, initiatives, and social responsibility activities.
Those conducting the interviews came from organizations including Al Khaleejiah Advertising and Public Relations, Al Tayyar Travel Group, Careem, Cisco, Bab Rizk Jameel, General Electric, Saudi Arabian Mining Company Ma’aden, McKinsey & Company, STC, Rocket Internet, Pearson, OQAL, Aberkyn and Smaat.
“We look forward to playing a role in creating new opportunities for Saudi’s next generation of business leaders, especially as we stand at such a transformative moment in the social and economic evolution of the Kingdom,” said Tom Isherwood, a Dubai-based partner at McKinsey & Company.
The Qimam Fellowship was founded with the aim of empowering “the most promising and distinguished university students in the country to achieve their full potential,” providing selected students one-on-one mentorship from senior public and private sector leaders and leadership training by professionals from renowned companies.
“We were delighted to learn about the impressive accomplishments of Qimam applicants, including the filing of patents, the receipt of prestigious national and international awards, the launch of successful companies and initiatives, and others,” said Abdullah Al-Dawood, CEO of Al Tayyar Travel Group.
“These achievements demonstrate the impressive innovative spirit of Saudi Arabia’s youth and promise a great future ahead.”