Wini Rizkiningayu

For Wini Rizkiningayu, building and consolidating such a network was one of her key motivations when applying for the Chevening Scholarship to study the Master of Public Policy at the Blavatnik School of Government. An electronics instrument science graduate from Indonesia, Wini spent the first part of her career in various role in the oil and gas drilling industry. After ten years, Wini found herself at a crossroads. Would she work towards a senior management role within this industry or change course?

Changing careers: from engineer to renewable energy policy advocate

Wini decided to take a sabbatical year to try out everything she hadn’t yet managed to while working in oil and gas. After trying her hand at wedding planning, winning an Asia Pacific public speaking competition and working with social enterprises helping to connect products with buyers, she was offered a position in the energy sector in New Zealand. With responsibility for expanding New Zealand’s renewable energy business in Indonesia and across East Asia, Wini came to recognise the most significant obstacle to the energy transition in her country: 

“In Indonesia, it’s not only about industry, investment, the trade climate or technology – they’re all there. The biggest obstacle is always policy and regulation.”

Recognising the need to study public policy

Rather than feeling demoralised by the challenge of overcoming these hurdles, Wini was inspired to learn more about why policies are created in a certain way, and how these policies can incorporate the needs of all stakeholders involved – particularly the local communities in Indonesia that would be most affected by the energy transition. 

After this experience and consultation with her mentors, Wini considered studying for a Master of Public Policy. The professional nature of the MPP along with the diversity of the course cemented her decision to apply to the Blavatnik School of Government. Wini was excited to study in the UK but the costs were overwhelming. Fortunately, she had several friends who had previously studied in the UK with the Chevening scholarship – including the former president of Chevening Alumni in Indonesia. After talking with these friends, she realised she might also be a good fit for the scholarship; she already had several years of work experience and she had a clear ambition to improve her country’s energy sector, which studying for the MPP would help her to achieve. 

“What made me gravitate towards Chevening compared with other scholarships was the network of alumni. I’ve seen these people doing great work, making a real impact and it’s their education in the UK and the networks they built during this time that have enabled them to do that.”

Applying for the Chevening Scholarship

Wini’s ambition to lead Indonesia through the energy transition with the ultimate goal of becoming Indonesia’s first female Minister for Energy were areas she highlighted in her application. She also ensured that her commitment to achieving this goal through sharing ideas and lessons from other energy and policymaking professionals globally shone through. After an application process she described as smooth, fair and supportive, Wini received an offer from Chevening to complete the MPP at Oxford. 

“Chevening has been an enabling environment for me to further my dream of achieving the energy transition in Indonesia. This is not just a scholarship that gives you funding; you are part of a unique ecosystem that supports each other, collaborates with each other and provides a network you can tap into at any time.”

Now that Wini has arrived in Oxford, the MPP’s emphasis on collaborating with her colleagues to solve problems and discuss ideas has been a highlight of the course so far. Though she is realising her limits as an individual, working with the MPP’s incredibly diverse class on policy challenges throughout the year will undoubtedly strengthen the leadership skills that made her such a strong candidate for the scholarship. 

A desire to create sustainable change and a clear vision of your role in achieving this change are essential qualities for any Chevening Scholarship applicant. As Wini’s year on the MPP gets underway and she learns from her teachers and peers, she moves one step closer to achieving her goal – thanks in part to the Chevening Scholarship that brought her to Oxford. 

Find out more about who can apply for the Chevening Scholarship. Applications close on 2 November 2021.