June 21, 2024

Born and raised in Baguio City, 19-year-old Hailie had big plans for higher learning. She matriculated into Saint Louis University (SLU), after which she planned to take up the licensure exam and then apply for a graduate degree.
As a daughter to a blue-collar single mother, the cost of college tuition – and all the miscellaneous expenses that came up – soon became too much. The story is a universal one in the Philippines: Most students in Hailie’s shoes would have to take a break from school to save for tuition. This kind of stop-and-go education can cause students to take unnecessarily long to graduate from college, or in other circumstances, drop out for good.
Fortunately, Hailie was invited by her friend to attend a company meet-and-greet in 2021, where she learned of the organization’s working scholarship program. Though she was nervous about applying, she did so and was accepted. As part of this scholarship program, Hailie had her tuition covered and also got a salary in exchange for working. Since she was taking up Psychology at SLU, Hailie was placed into the organization’s Human Resources department.
Balancing work and school is not for the faint-hearted, but Hailie was determined to manage both responsibilities. She takes classes in the morning, then works from 4 to 10 p.m., and rests on the weekends. Although Hailie has a busier schedule than most of her peers, she is able to finance her education – and just as crucially, get relevant experience – through this scholarship program.
“Being my first job, it really taught me how to work well in teams, how to communicate properly, and how to adapt immediately to my workload, considering how fast-paced it is,” said Hailie of how the role got her out of her “comfort zone.”
Hailie is just one of many scholars in the working scholarship program offered by FullSuite, the leading business services provider in the Philippines. Though they all hail from different backgrounds, each scholar has a story that others can relate to: These are people, who in other circumstances, would have had to postpone or give up on the dream of school.
Take the story, for example, of Fernando D. Perez III, as a fourth-year student of Accountancy student at SLU. As the eldest child of two whose mother was an OFW and father a seaman, Fernando’s family was hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic. Although he had never worked before, Fernando decided to apply to FullSuite’s working scholarship program.
Once accepted, his biggest challenge was adapting from academe to the real world.
“During my first few months, I did have struggles since accounting in theory and accounting in practice may be fundamentally the same, but some things may differ,” said Fernando.
This gap heightened Fernando’s anxieties. He worried whether he could satisfy the expectations of FullSuite, especially as the organization was highly aligned with his course. He found himself comparing his learning curve to those of other scholars and even interns. Rather than get dismayed, he sought out help from other colleagues and scholars and found everyone was congenial and helpful.
With their help, Fernando has flourished. He plans to avail of the organization’s sponsored certifications in Xero and Quickbooks and even avail of another grant from FullSuite – this time for a pre-law course. He believes this combination of real-world experience combined with his school will put him in a better position post-graduation.
“Having already gained experience and knowledge provides me with an advantage over others with the same educational attainment, and it also gives me an overview of what to expect in the career that I pursue,” he said.
Like Fernando, scholar Karen also experienced financial hardship during the pandemic. A native of Tuguegarao City, she was originally pursuing Nursing. Because of this unrelated course, Karen was especially nervous during her interview for FullSuite’s working scholarship program.
But Karen was admitted and found all her initial assumptions challenged. She first thought that FullSuite would be a highly formal, task-driven company, but pleasantly found that the company was as much about relationship-building and culture.
“I was wrong,” Karen admitted, adding, “FullSuite is a company that lets their employees engage in social gatherings and actually there are lots of extra activities they coordinate to let the employees have fun.” She cited the fact that the employee lounge is equipped with board games and card games, and there are regular events, such as yoga sessions and guitar lessons.
In this environment, Karen has thrived, so much so that she decided to switch from BS Nursing to BS Management Accounting. “FullSuite led me to this decision, which is to let your experiences yield you to the course you wanted to do in the future. The company inspires me to do accounting work and I’m amazed by the culture of it,” she said, emphasizing that she wants to continue her accounting career at FullSuite post-graduation.
Although FullSuite accepts only up to three scholars a year, Karen recommended any student based in Baguio to consider applying, especially if they want to earn a degree but may not have the financial capacity to pay tuition regularly.
“This company will help you advance in your career, improve your accounting skills, and teach you about areas with which you are unfamiliar, but what makes it so intriguing is that it will allow you to step outside of your comfort zone. In the end, you’ll be grateful because you’ve unlocked those things that have been impeding your growth,” she said.
FullSuite CEO Maggie Po added that there is no “typical” scholar.
“Although our scholars all share a passion for business and accounting, they are all unique in their own way. This is intentional: We don’t want to be a typical business services firm, so the diversity of our scholars should reflect that goal. I’m eager to support other bright young talents that will bring a different background – and most crucially, perspective – to what we do,” said Po.
FullSuite is the go-to resource for business services in the Philippines. It is engaged in business permits and licenses to taxes and accounting, intellectual property.