Saturday, June 27, 2009

SendBobToBerkeley.com !

Thanks to Jehan from NST, Bobby's website is highlighted in NST today! Hope to see more Malaysians supporting him!

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BEING rejected for a scholarship by Khazanah Nasional did not deter a Malaysian student from trying to achieve his dreams through other means.

Thus the website sendbobtoberkeley.com — a site providing space for companies and businesses to “own” a piece of property and a link to their websites — was born.

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.
Kuala Lumpur-based Bobby says his site is still a relatively novel idea in Malaysia.

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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4 comments:

KC said...

i dun understand why we should support this SendBobToBerkeley.com. C'mon..i don't know who the guy is, why should he deserve our support to go overseas?, if he can't afford it, support our local education institutions..who is he to take our money to spend it in America while thousands of others who are more deserving don't have the money to study in America?Don't live on our sympathy.

Chen Chow said...

KC, I would say that it depends on those who believe in his mission, and it is completely up to anyone to decide whether to support or not. So, if anyone does not think he deserves the sponsorship, then don't sponsor. It is completely up to each individual to decide.

SaPPhiRe DraGoN said...

What I want to say is that all people have a dream. From the bottom of my heart, I really wanted to study law in the UK or Australia. To explore the outside world and gain those rich experiences, who wouldn't want it? But alas, we have to come to the reality. I was rejected by JPA to pursue a degree overseas. True, I was dissapointed, sad, grieved but life has to move on. I did think of doing my A levels but I know my parents can only afford me up to that, not my degree overseas. I studied the risks in great depth and finally decided to do my local matriculation and settle for Malaysian uni. I cannot be selfish and squander my parent's hard-earned money, I have 2 younger brothers too. We all have dreams...yes, you can say I didn't dare to pursue my dreams but few people really understand the predicament I'm in. Fight for your dreams but is it worth the cost? Spending half a million overseas, will you be able to recover all that when you work later in your life? Think about your parents...to me, it is not worth it.

Chen Chow said...

SaPPhiRe DraGoN, thanks for your sharing. Good that you are a very understanding person, and takes care of the needs of your 2 younger brothers.

On exposure in outside world, I would say that even when you are studying in Malaysian universities, there are opportunities for you to get exposed. There are a lot of conferences in the field, and some of those are held in Malaysia, so that could be a good way to learn.

Mingle with actual lawyers as well (assuming that you are studying law now), and gain the experience.

We have the weigh our options, and see what we can try to do to achieve it. And sometimes, we would need to adapt our options, because nothing is perfect in this world.

Thanks.