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QS Leadership Scholarship: 2013’s Winner

By Laura Bridgestock

Updated March 5, 2016 Updated March 5, 2016

Hayley Capp, from the UK, is the winner of 2013’s QS Leadership Scholarship. Covering up to US$10,000 of course fees, this scholarship is awarded to a grad school applicant who has proven his/her ability to apply leadership and entrepreneurial skills to make a positive impact on a community or in a professional context.

Hayley certainly fits this bill. While studying her undergraduate degree at University College London (UCL), she founded a branch of Enactus at the university. Enactus is a global network of students, academics and business leaders, collaborating to find innovative ways of harnessing entrepreneurial principles to improve lives.

“The whole purpose of Enactus is to either work with social enterprises or to create a social enterprise yourself, using business and entrepreneurial skills to develop solutions to social problems and make a difference to communities,” Hayley explains. In her case, this involved collaborating with Enactus members in Uganda, to develop strategies to tackle high levels of youth unemployment.

Gaining international experience

Hayley had already gained international experience teaching in a primary school in Kenya, during a year out before starting university – and she identifies this as the first in a series of key defining moments in shaping her career path. A second such experience came when she returned to Africa during the vacation at the end of her second year at UCL, visiting Uganda as a participant in the International Citizens Service (ICS) scheme, a UK-based volunteering program.

Placed in a rural community, Hayley was tasked with training local leaders in better practices for financial and organizational management. “That was probably a crux in solidifying what I wanted to do,” she says. “You experience things first hand, and you see the issues in the way that things are managed – I then thought this course was so relevant.”

The course Hayley was studying at the time was UCL’s BSc in Human Science. This allowed her to choose modules from any subject classed as a science, including everything from biological to political science. Opting to focus on issues relating to international development, public policy and entrepreneurship, she wrote her dissertation on entrepreneurship and HIV prevention strategies in sub-Saharan Africa.

After graduating in 2012, Hayley began an internship, which led to a full-time position at business advisory company CEB. She’s continued her work with Enactus during this time; in fact on the day we spoke to her, she was preparing to host a leadership training academy run in partnership with Enactus and CEB.

Preparing for grad school

While Hayley has enjoyed gaining professional and international experience, she was also keen to return to university in order to move her career in international development to the next stage. She’s using the QS Leadership Scholarship to help fund an MSc in Development Management at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).

In addition to the course content, which largely reflects her own interests, Hayley says she was attracted by the program’s compulsory practical element. All students complete a consultancy project with an international organization. “You could work with the World Bank on a small project they’re working on, or at the UN, or a charity, and you’re actually assessed on how you think of a solution or come up with a new way of managing the processes that are in place in that organization,” Hayley explains.

She adds that while she would’ve wanted to do the course anyway, receiving the QS Leadership Scholarship meant all doubts were swept aside. She’d applied after attending the QS World Grad School Tour in London, and remembers thinking the scholarship seemed “a really good fit”, given her academic interests and experience. The scholarships panel certainly agreed!

A career in international development

Hayley emphasizes that both the academic and practical apects of her MSc will be useful in her future career, for which she has two possible pathways in mind. While retaining a strong interest in the growing relevance of international development issues for multinational businesses, she’s also keen to work within a governmental, policy-setting environment – and she knows this is highly competitive. “It’s a really exciting space and I’m keen to get there, but I’m aware that there are quite a few steps you have to do.”

After finishing her MSc, one possible ‘step’ Hayley has in mind is a placement with the Overseas Development Institute, an international development Think Tank which offers two-year fellowships for graduates, giving them the opportunity to work in the public sector of a developing economy.

Wherever her career in international development takes her, we’re sure she’ll continue to make a positive difference on an even larger scale.

This article was originally published in July 2013 . It was last updated in March 2016

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Written by

The former editor of TopUniversities.com, Laura oversaw the site's editorial content and student forums. She also edited the QS Top Grad School Guide and contributed to market research reports, including 'How Do Students Use Rankings?'

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