Chevening Scholarship Application Answers

Andrés Parraguire (Parra)
7 min readJan 26, 2021


Leadership and influence

Chevening is looking for individuals who will be future leaders or influencers in their home countries. Explain how you meet this requirement, using clear examples of your own leadership and influencing skills to support your answer.

I thankfully started my leadership building very young. I was lucky enough to have been part of the Boy Scouts of Mexico where I was forged with a deep sense of social, environmental responsibilities, teamwork and, empathy. My leadership developed in a way that I made it to sub-guide of my troop, and I learned how to lead from the front, by example. One of my main learnings from that experience was to never ask someone to do something that I wouldn’t do myself and to be able to listen empathetically to the needs and wants of my team, to generate mutual understanding to move forward.

Those years as a Boy Scout carved the foundation of my leadership for the years to come.

Later on, when I was in my first semester of college, I was running for class representative, I managed to earn the trust of my classmates and won the election, however, the other favorite candidate wasn’t in class at that moment, so I was asked if we could redo the election, which I agreed, and I lost. Although heartbreaking at that moment, it helped me ground my deep sense for justice and democracy, which I strongly advocated in the national elections in 2012. I didn’t know it then, but this show of flexibility and vulnerability helped me, even more, to build the trust of my classmates with the years and in the last year of University I managed to become President of the Student Union and Student Representative in the University Council. I proudly represented this prestigious charge in alignment with our campaign proposals and our students’ needs and wants.

In 2014, I was able to join as a project leader in a Social Business Incubation program. We co-developed a pilot program to empower elementary students to learn life skills like empathy and Entrepreneurship drive to help them increase their quality of life. As a project leader, I had to attend various meetings with a diverse range of stakeholders to generate win-win partnerships. This helped me develop a deep understanding of the needs of our partners from different sectors and honing my empathy building skills.

With the years, I evolved to be able to mentor and coach individuals and social entrepreneurs. The last example I’d like to share is my participation as a mentor in the leadership development program of the WEDU foundation. My two mentees have been Kusum Thapa from Nepal and Nighat Parveen from Pakistan. We help them develop their life goals and develop their leadership capabilities.

These tangible examples show how I have been able to develop my leadership and influence and extend my commitment to take an active role in developing new leaders from Mexico and the world.


Chevening is looking for individuals with strong professional relationship-building skills, who will engage with the Chevening community and influence and lead others in their chosen profession. Please explain how you build and maintain relationships in a professional capacity, using clear examples of how you currently do this, and outline how you hope to use these skills in the future.

Throughout my career, I have been in a variety of roles where I had to develop, nurture, and maintain professional relationships throughout the years.

For example, as a project leader of a social business pilot in México, we developed strong ties with an international NGO called Ashoka. Ashoka’s staff supported us intensively generating internal capacity in a range of topics, like advocacy, fundraising, and project managing. We were able to connect with the Director and many of the staff in the different divisions, connections that now, more than 5 years later, have grown to support our Foundation. Ashoka has been a key supporter by promoting our programs and helping us reach a wider audience of young people.

Another example is our relationship with the director of YZ development projects, Rosy Morales. Rosy and I met in 2014 in the Summit of Leaders Changemakers organized by Ashoka, she invited me to a fundraising event in my city, which helped knowing ourselves more. Through the years Rosy and I have organized together conferences, workshops, and panels to support social entrepreneurs, more recently in 2020 she helped giving scholarships to participants of our training program in Facilitation of Peace and Mindfulness skills during the COVID pandemic.

In 2015, I acted as an intern at the Gallant Ho Experiential Learning Center at the University of Hong Kong. During those 6 months, my main focus was to prospect and reach out to a wide range of NGOs and social enterprises to engage them in our experiential learning fund. This experience helped kickstart my professional network abroad. Someone key during the years was connecting with Ke Lin from the Social Enterprise Intercultural Education, which later became a program manager in the UNDP Asia-Pacific Initiative to support social entrepreneurs which became a close partner of the Yunus Center AIT, where I worked as engagement coordinator from August 2016 to August 2018.

During that time I also organized an international youth conference in social entrepreneurship. Acting as a project manager I had to contact stakeholders from all different sectors. One of my main responsibilities was to secure the speakers and facilitators for our event which was achieved successfully by tapping into our professional network, including partners from UNDP, academia, social enterprises, among others.

Over the years, I have realized the power of creating a network that is not just large but also deep. I have experienced the synergies that can be achieved by generating empathy, understanding the needs of our partners, and support each other. It isn’ about “what can I get from this person” in a merely utilitarian way, it is rather “how might I add value to this person or organization based on their needs and wants”.

As a natural people person, I have been able to cross-pollinate a broad network in the Asia Pacific and Latin America to support our social entrepreneurship initiatives in the future.

Studying in the UK

Outline why you have selected your chosen three university courses, and explain how this relates to your previous academic or professional experience and your plans for the future. Please enter new information and examples here and not duplicate the information you have entered on the work experience and education section of this form.

I found out about the development programs at Bradford University thank you to the Rotary Foundation. They’ve together created a center for peace and development studies which is one of the most renowned and resourceful in the world.

I have chosen the Master’s in Sciences in Sustainable Development as my main option because I am convinced that it will not just provide me with the knowledge and skills to become a more prepared professional in the sustainable development sector, but it will also provide me with strong academic support to develop further my understanding in the area, a diverse cohort of classmates which are world-class in their subjects, practical experience and the institutional support to continue with my social entrepreneurship endeavors throughout the years.

Alternatively, the department of peace studies imparts the Master’s of Arts in International Development Management which provides more focused micro and macro perspectives on the different approaches to sustainable development with a global view.

Lastly, the Master’s in Science in Project Planning and Management provides the theory and practice to hone my project management skills with a development and systems perspective.

All of these programs are part of the department and give us the opportunity to access one of the widest and deepest libraries of resources of international development around the world.

Selecting a career in sustainable development is a realization that came from my professional experiences in the social entrepreneurship sector and the need to understand deeply the systems approach surrounding it.

Moreover, many of my mentors have encouraged me to peruse grad school to be able to compete for lecturing positions in the academic sector.

Being able to pursue a career in academic service to contribute to forming professionals in the sector and continuing leading teams that focus on the theory and practice of enterprise-led development is my objective, and I strongly believe that graduating from Bradford University will give me the experience I need to fill in the gaps to take the next step in my career.

Career Plan

Chevening is looking for individuals who have a clear post-study career plan. Please outline your immediate plans upon returning home and your longer term career goals. You may wish to consider how these relate to what the UK government is doing in your country.

Having worked in two international universities already, I have been able to grasp the potential that working professionally in the academic sector provides.

I’d like to pursue a double-sided career in the academic sector. On one side, I’d like to be part of the sustainable development or social Entrepreneurship department, supporting and enabling teams to lead sustainable change in local communities. In parallel, I’d like to start as a junior lecturer to work directly in shaping the young minds that will support our sector in the future.

In the longer term, I’d like to take a more leading role in the departments to be able to influence the direction of our programs and support. Heading a center or department in peace, sustainable development, social innovation or enterprise-led development will be my aim. This will allow me to lead more teams, take a more strategic role, enable visions, and hopefully take a role in actively deploying policy that guides our country to a more sustainable path. While at the same time continue to a senior lecturer or adjunct professor. I visualize myself as working full time as a head and part-time teaching, rather than full-time professorship/researcher.

I am aware of many of the benefits of my choice:

On one hand, academic institutions are a melting pot of diverse knowledge, skills, and energy, from the professors, staff, and students. This allows the participation and collaboration of multidisciplinary teams with a broader perspective and approach toward social and environmental change.

On the other, universities oftentimes have a wide pool of resources that are available for their community, like funds, institutional ties, support programs, among others.

Also, being part of a university provides trust and generally a neutral position in negotiations which useful to find win-win collaborations.

Also, I understand some of the hurdles and limitations of working in the academic sector. Usually, they tend to be bureaucratic, highly hierarchical, and political, among others.

I am sure that Understanding these challenges, having experience in university, and having access to more experienced mentors in the sector will enable me to have a successful career and enable me to make positive sustainable change in my country and the world.



Andrés Parraguire (Parra)

Founder · Dreamer · Idealist · Changemaker · Empathy Builder · Cultural Buffer · Global Bridge