Thanks to Jehan from NST, Bobby's website is highlighted in NST today! Hope to see more Malaysians supporting him!
BEING rejected for a scholarship by Khazanah Nasional did not deter a Malaysian student from trying to achieve his dreams through other means.
The idea of using the Internet to raise funds for furthering studies is not new, admits the 20-year-old creator who wants to be known as Bobby.
In 2005, then student Alex Tew, from the United Kingdom set up the Million Dollar Website to fund his university studies. The overwhelming success of the site spawned copycat sites using the same concept to earn money.
With the economic recession, many students are now also seeking micro loans and sponsorships from corporations and from alumni of their institutions online.
It provides online advertising in the form of virtual real estate.
Advertisers can “own” an office block, customise it to their liking and have the images of these structures linked back to their own websites.
“People I’ve spoken to and who have sent me emails say trying to raise the money I need in the short time I have is a crazy but interesting idea,” he says.
His parents are willing to support his first year at University of California, Berkeley, United States where he has been accepted to do Economics but the remaining cost of pursuing his four-year degree — which is nearly US$150,000 (RM525,000) — would have to come from him.
The university, being a public institution, will not provide financial aid to a foreign student like Bobby.
He hopes to raise the money by July 23, a month after setting up the site, which would give him some time to settle things before leaving for the US.
In the first 24 hours of it being online, the site had attracted about 1,000 visitors from Malaysia, Singapore, the US and other countries.
Though there may be those thinking that his website is a way of seeking charity to pursue his studies overseas, Bobby says this is not so.
“My objective is for the site to be a business transaction for all, where advertisers can buy ‘property’ to link to their own websites,” he says.
If his endeavour to earn the necessary amount fails or if he ends up not going to Berkeley, he intends to use the money as a micro-fund for start-ups, social entrepreneurship and charity.
Right after rejection by Khazanah Nasional and the setting of his site, Bobby received a call from another corporation offering him a scholarship to study at University College London, where he has also been accepted to pursue his studies.
“I am still keen on going to Berkeley though because I am really interested in technology and the university is relatively close to Silicon Valley,” he says.
He is keen on starting a technology company upon graduation.
Whatever the outcome, he holds a quote by Air Asia chief executive officer Datuk Seri Tony Fernandes dearly to his heart: “Never take ‘no’ for an answer”.
“My dream is to be able to pursue my studies in the US.
“And I believe that you should never give up on your dreams. You should be creative and take action to make them happen.”
Check out Bobby’s website at http://sendbobtoberkeley.com
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