This year’s most promising future business leaders

Our joint scholarships are lowering financial barriers, says Russ Thorne

On 22 July, Durham Business School and the Independent announced the winner of their final Master of business administration (MBA) joint scholarships for this year. The winner, Eunice Benedicto, will join the full-time MBA programme at Durham this September and becomes the seventh recipient of the scholarship.

Benedicto, currently employed in the revenue accounting department of a large airline in Texas, has worked in auditing and accounting for more than a decade with specific experience of the manufacturing industry. She describes winning the scholarship as “a humbling honour,” and believes that an MBA qualification will be “essential” to her career as she looks to attain more senior positions.

Joining her on the winners’ roster are David Makepeace and David Beeton, who were awarded scholarships for Durham’s global and executive MBA programmes respectively in December last year, and have subsequently begun their studies. In total, the scholarship fund handed out to students amounts to some £50,000 and covers the full fees for all three programmes, with the goal of improving access to MBA qualifications.

“We believe the scholarships we offer are an important way of ensuring that the Durham MBA is open to a diverse group of students from different backgrounds and sectors,” explains Dr Sue Miller, MBA programme director. “This helps to provide a richly stimulating learning environment for all participants on the programme. We are delighted to be able to offer this scholarship [to Benedicto] and look forward to welcoming her to Durham Business School.”

According to Benedicto, this varied learning environment is one of the principal reasons she was attracted to the DBS MBA. The course offers the wide selection of electives – including international enterprise and corporate social responsibility projects – she was looking for, which also suit her passion for charity and volunteer work. “With my long-term goal of being involved in humanitarian missions with an international organisation, these projects will help set the foundation for my knowledge within social enterprise,” she says.

In the shorter term, she hopes to gain an international experience from the programme while tailoring her academic focus to suit her goals. “I want to be part of a programme that has a strong emphasis on building the management and leadership skills essential for success in today’s business world,” she says, “and form lifelong connections with excellent people committed to improving their lives and the lives of others. I believe the Durham MBA has all of this and more.”

Applications for all three scholarships are judged by staff from DBS as well as the Independent, and take into account a candidate’s experience and CV, as well as a 500-word essay on a given topic. For Benedicto, this meant discussing the ways in which business schools and MBA programmes can respond to corporate fraud, which suited her well. “It was a perfect topic for me given my experience in auditing and accounting, as well as my first-hand knowledge of revenue recognition, budgeting and forecasting, accounting estimates and financial statement disclosures, which are some of the critical fraud risk areas,” she explains. “Perhaps my career background has helped me secure the scholarship, which I’m very grateful for!”

Having secured her place, Benedicto is far from ready to rest on her laurels and is already focusing on ways to get the most from the MBA programme. “I want to equip myself with the best tools possible to become a more successful leader and a person well-rounded in global business,” she says.

She also has advice for those applying to MBA programmes and seeking funding, stressing the importance of knowing what they have a passion for, and making sure that a programme will fit those aspirations by researching schools carefully and attending MBA fairs, if possible. “Be real and authentic in your applications,” she adds. “Tell your story, and don’t be discouraged if you don’t get the scholarship on your first try. Look for other alternatives and do your best in every application.”

Benedicto believes the effort was certainly worth it in her case. “The scholarship is definitely one of the best things that ever happened to me,” she says. “It’s a blessing, and emboldened my decision to quit my job and attend a full-time programme without the added challenge of self-funding. At the same time, it’s a reminder that there’s more hard work to do and that the scholarship is just the seed for greater possibilities that lie ahead.”

Susan Sarandon described David Bowie as
peopleSusan Sarandon reveals more on her David Bowie romance
Arsenal supporters gather for a recent ‘fan party’ in New Jersey
sportDidier Drogba returns to Chelsea on one-year deal
Arts and Entertainment
The Secret Cinema performance of Back to the Future has been cancelled again
Life and Style
Balmain's autumn/winter 2014 campaign, shot by Mario Sorrenti and featuring Binx Walton, Cara Delevingne, Jourdan Dunn, Ysaunny Brito, Issa Lish and Kayla Scott
fashionHow Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film
filmFifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage in US
BBC broadcaster and presenter Evan Davis, who will be taking over from Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight
peopleForget Paxman - what will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Life and Style
fashionCustomer complained about the visibly protruding ribs
newsComedy club forced to apologise as maggots eating a dead pigeon fall out of air-conditioning
Arts and Entertainment
Jo Brand says she's mellowed a lot
tvJo Brand says shows encourage people to laugh at the vulnerable
Life and Style
People may feel that they're procrastinating by watching TV in the evening
Tovey says of homeless charity the Pillion Trust : 'If it weren't for them and the park attendant I wouldn't be here today.'
Rhys Williams
commonwealth games
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Student

Learning Support Assistant

£50 per day: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: Experienced Learning Sup...


£100 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Are you a flexible inspira...

Graduate Accountant - Banking - Bristol - £140pd

£100 - £140 per day + competitive: Orgtel: Graduate Accountant - Banking - Bri...

Trainee Recruitment Consultants - Banking & Finance

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: SThree Group have been well e...

Day In a Page

Evan Davis: The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing to take over at Newsnight

The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing

What will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

Finding the names for America’s shame

The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
Inside a church for Born Again Christians: Speaking to God in a Manchester multiplex

Inside a church for Born Again Christians

As Britain's Anglican church struggles to establish its modern identity, one branch of Christianity is booming
Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and me: How Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Parisian couturier Pierre Balmain made his name dressing the mid-century jet set. Today, Olivier Rousteing – heir to the house Pierre built – is celebrating their 21st-century equivalents. The result? Nothing short of Balmania
Cancer, cardiac arrest, HIV and homelessness - and he's only 39

Incredible survival story of David Tovey

Tovey went from cooking for the Queen to rifling through bins for his supper. His is a startling story of endurance against the odds – and of a social safety net failing at every turn
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little