Khazanah Scholar 2021

The Khazanah Scholarship is a prestigious award that offers bright and high-achieving Malaysian students the opportunity to receive the best possible education. Marlborough College Malaysia is honoured to have been a location for Khazanah Scholars to attend and complete their secondary education.


One such pupil is Gary Tan who left MCM in 2016 and has recently received the Special Mention Award at the 2021 Khazanah Scholarship Awards. This was a particularly meaningful recognition for Gary who is a first-generation university undergraduate in his family.


Reflecting fondly on his time at the College, Gary said that there were so many good memories, such as when his friend would drag him out of bed in the morning so that they could go to the gym before breakfast. He spoke about his favourite lessons; in particular, science, because they were so hands-on with so many experiments. ‘Dr Tomlinson was great; he always managed to make the lessons so interesting,’ Gary said.


One of Gary’s favourite moments was House Shout (inter-House singing competitions for Boarders) and he remembers when his house won the competition: ‘it was just the best moment’. Even after everything else that Gary has accomplished, he was still thrilled by this achievement, a wonderful reminder of the joy of being part of an MCM team, working towards something.


He fondly remembered his old Housemaster, whose leadership skills and qualities inspired Gary. ‘There was always a justification behind everything that he did if you were being praised or having a more serious conversation – you knew why.’ These are leadership qualities Gary has taken forward.


Following the completion of his IB Diploma, Gary studied Biochemistry and Business Management at Imperial College London. He credits the skills and knowledge he developed when studying IB at MCM for his success during his time at university. ‘Many of the topics I studied in Business Management I had already touched on in my IB Economics classes which meant I was able to understand the material more readily than other students’, and the ability to balance a number of different tasks – a feature of IB – was beneficial to his degree studies.


Currently, Gary is working for the Malaysian Sovereign Wealth Fund, Khazanah, in the Investment Department, where he helps make financial decisions and advises the company on different investments and their viability.


In reply to how his time at MCM helped him prepare for the future, Gary said ‘being at MCM was a safe environment in which to try new things and to learn from mistakes’. During his time at university, Gary was in charge of an organisation called the International Council of Malaysian Scholars and Associates, which helped connect Malaysian students with Malaysian corporations across five different countries. MCM taught Gary to push himself and try new things. Without the support and teachers and experiences he had at MCM he does not think that he would have had the courage to go for the role in the first place.


Between his time at MCM and being a Khazanah Scholar, Gary was able to train his communication skills to a level that prepared him for his current job. ‘During my time at MCM, and finally, as Head Boy, I was able to practise and develop my leadership skills, learning to communicate with my peers as well as with The Master and other members of staff. This was really beneficial to me and helped build my confidence’, Gary explained.


Finally, when asked what advice Gary would give to a pupil at MCM, he said, ‘keep trying, go outside your comfort zone,  if you fail, try again and learn from it. Keep developing, learn what you like and improve those skills’.


It was a joy to catch up with Old Marlburian Gary, we wish him continued success with his developing career.


To learn more about becoming an Old Marlburian and the opportunities and worldwide support  it offers  click here

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