Stories on Mopportunities Blog Ft. Dr. Babajide Milton Macaulay – CHOOSE YOUR REFEREES WISELY
Meet Dr. Babajide Milton Macaulay, he holds a Ph.D. degree in Environmental Geochemistry and Geomicrobiology at the University of Manchester, CEO at Illumania, a former Graduate Teaching Assistant at the University of Manchester, a former Commonwealth Ph.D. Scholar, former Assistant lecturer – Department of Biology at Federal University of Technology Akure (FUTA) and a former Senior Judge at Royal Commonwealth Society.
Why do scholarship sponsors demand a reference letter(s)?
A reference letter helps a selection committee make well-informed decisions by considering a more personal narrative of a candidate’s sterling quality and personality from a credible third party who has had a cordial/professional relationship with the candidate.
Anyone can exalt himself/herself or paint an image that they do not truly represent in reality. But when a credible source further confirms your claim as a high-flyer or consistent top-performer, the selection committee is bound to believe them.
Because it is expected that such credible referees will never tell a lie to elevate the candidate unduly, as they will not want to soil their reputation.
3 weeks ago, a young scholarship enthusiast approached me with a concern: “Sir, I don’t know any academic who can write me a reference letter?”, she said. “None at all? Even your previous lecturers and undergraduate project supervisor?” “Yes sir. None at all”, she affirmed. Trying to sound funny, I asked, “did they all die or what?” “hahaha, No sir. I just don’t have a good relationship with them”. “Really? To the point that none of them can write about your character and academic performance?” At this point, she had gotten the message, and it was very troubling!
To secure credible referees one must have previously built a good personal relationship with them. A referee will not write you a reference letter just because you graduated top of your class in his/her Department. A referee will write you a reference letter mainly because he/she has a personal relationship with you. Therefore, build your professional network consciously!
Today, I hold a Ph.D. degree from an elite university in the world, partly because of the strong reference letters submitted by my referees to the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission (CSC) to secure full-funding. For the rest of my life, I will remain indebted to these referees who never stopped attending to my numerous requests even at odd times.
I was privileged to have access to 2 of the 4 references sent to the CSC on my behalf in 2014. Find them attached, for you to appreciate how a strong reference letter from credible referees can be the “icing on the cake.”