SM Scholar seizes opportunities for a better tomorrow

(Left) Graduating student Luisa Gloria sees a brighter future as she finishes her journey as an SM Scholar. (Right) Luisa and her fellow SM Scholars.

Fifth-year accountancy student and SM Scholar Luisa Gloria of Far Eastern University firmly believes that we receive many opportunities in our lifetime. However, it is up to us to seize these chances to make things happen.

“There are many opportunities that are presented to us in our life,” Luisa said. “We just have to learn to grab it and put some effort to achieve the things we want.”

This was exactly how she felt when she was given the chance to become an SM Scholar almost five years ago.

“Being an SM Scholar is truly life-changing. We were given a chance to help ourselves, our families and the future.” Luisa remarked.

The eldest of three children, Luisa saw how her parents worked hard to provide for the entire family from the income generated by the small sari-sari store that they own. She knew it would be difficult for her mother and father to support the schooling of her and her siblings.

“I feel very blessed and thankful that I was given this opportunity to study without having to worry about anything else.” As an SM Scholar, Luisa is provided with free tuition and a monthly stipend. She also experienced working and earning in SM establishments during Christmas and summer breaks.

“While growing up, my siblings and I were always pushed by our parents to focus on our studies. They helped us in our homework and taught us the importance of education,” she said.

She continued, “My parents also encouraged us to be optimistic and I’ve learned from them not to get discouraged easily. With a positive outlook, I am able to focus on my studies and look forward to helping my parents and supporting my siblings’ studies soon.”

Now in her final year at FEU, Luisa remains active in participating in competitions. This year, she and three other schoolmates – John Armildez, Reeva Calapatia, and Elline Pasion – represented the country in the 2014 Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) Global Business Challenge held in Mumbai, India recently.

The CIMA Global Business Challenge is a yearly competition open to college undergraduates to showcase their business and leadership prowess by presenting their own solutions to various case studies.

For 2014, 50 submissions from different colleges and state universities nationwide were submitted. Out of these, the top six groups were given the chance to present their solutions to case studies in the regionals where Luisa’s team ‘K-Project’ won the right to represent the Philippines and competed with 23 other teams in the global competition.

“Maturity is a key component of being a successful business leader and CIMA helped me to grow more as an individual,” Luisa said. “I can also say that because of SM, I am now more equipped and confident to face various challenges like representing the country in a global competition.”

Aside from CIMA Global Challenge, Luisa also participates in quiz competitions inside and outside the campus. She has also taken part in various local case study competitions and has been FEU’s delegate to the American Chamber of Commerce Business Orientation Program 2013.

As another chapter in her life comes to a close on her final year of college, Luisa remains hopeful in the other opportunities that are waiting for her in the future. Luisa shared, “I want to be a professor in the future and share what I have learned including my experiences as an SM Scholar.”

She added, “For now however, I want to be part of a company or accounting firm and practice the profession to gather experience. I also want to be part of the SM Group of Companies, as this will also be one way of giving back to the people who have helped me achieve one of my dreams.”

Luisa is one of the Foundation’s 1,450 SM Scholars currently enrolled in 82 partner colleges and universities nationwide. Now in its 21st year, the SM College Scholarship Program continues to provide a chance of higher learning for bright underprivileged students.

The Foundation will start accepting scholarship applications for the school year 2015-2016 on October 1. To qualify, the student must be in his/her fourth year of high school, have a weighted average of at least 88% by the second or third grading period, and must belong to a family with an annual income of not more than PHP 150,000.  Applicants who meet the requirements may secure a form at the customer service counter of any SM Mall.