What type of leader are you? How to show leadership skills in your Chevening interview, according to current scholars

One of the key qualities we look for in our Cheveners is strong leadership. Here’s how you can show this in your interview.

Our Chevening Alumni work all over the world in a huge range of disciplines, but they all have one thing in common: they’re great leaders.

Proving that you have great leadership skills is a sure-fire way to convince interviewers of your value to the Chevening network and put yourself in a strong position to receive a scholarship.

We’ll show you how you can do this and even give you tips from successful scholars. But first, why do we look for leadership qualities in the first place?

Why is leadership important?

The Chevening Scholarship is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that gives students from around the world the chance to advance their education and careers by taking part in the UK’s stellar higher education system.

We select our Cheveners by looking for four important qualities:

  1. Leadership and influencing
  2. Relationship building
  3. A strong career plan
  4. Enthusiasm for studying in the UK

Leadership skills are important because our goal when awarding a Chevening Scholarship is not just to fast-track individual success.

A Chevening Scholarship allows students to create a positive impact in their own communities and around the world, and we aim to select only the students who are willing and capable to enact this positive change.

Having strong leadership skills – and being able to demonstrate these at interview – is an important part of this.

What kind of leader are you?

In order to show your interviewer that you have the leadership skills we’re looking for, you first need to know what kind of leader you are.

The answer to this question will differ from person to person. Think about situations in which you have had to take a leadership role. What skills did you most employ? What are the qualities you most associate with the strong leaders in your life?

For Hui Wang, a 2021 Chevener hailing from China, resilience is the quality they most associate with strong leadership.

“For aspiring future leaders who aim to bring about positive change, there are bound to be ups and downs along their journeys. It is crucial to tell the interviewers you can get back up from failure and figure out how to improve.”

Hui chose to highlight this quality during the interview and, clearly, was successful. But how can you show that you’re a great leader when talking to a panel of interviewers?

How can you show leadership skills in your interview?

The key to showing off your leadership skills in your interview is giving strong, specific examples.

Using the insights you have gained from reflecting on what leadership means to you, prepare a few strong examples of these qualities in action.

Laith Abdin, a 2021 Chevener from Jordan, focused on highlighting his social skills.

“I mainly focused on multiple examples that revolved around social influence, two of which were about leaving a positive impact on society through my job and my voluntary experiences,” he says.

“One of my favourites is that, despite working for a for-profit organisation, I was privileged to lead a project that ultimately aimed to support the government in responding to a vital challenge that contributes to the greater good of my country.”

Sithabile Daka-Mungombe, another 2021 Chevener from Zimbabwe, chose to foreground her work empowering women in her community.

“I [showed] my ability to give back to my community through various volunteer activities with UNICA-AfroEdge and other community based organisations that are greatly impacting society through early childhood education and girl child education,” she says.

“[These are] causes which are dear to me because of the odds I had to overcome as a girl child growing in a community that valued girls less.”


By thinking deeply about your unique leadership style and demonstrating this with a specific example, you can put yourself in the best position to receive a Chevening Scholarship. Good luck in your interview!


By Amy Hughes