AIRASIA chief Tan Sri Tony Fernandes can add another feather to his signature red baseball cap: a doctorate.
The group chief executive officer of AirAsia Bhd was conferred an honorary Doctor of Philosophy in Corporate Leadership from MAHSA University.
In his acceptance speech at the special convocation ceremony last Tuesday, Fernandes said grabbing chances and taking calculated risks has been his corporate leadership philosophy throughout his career.
“You should go out there and try everything you want to try, and don’t be afraid of failure,” he told the students who packed the auditorium of MAHSA’s campus.
“If you fail, then try again. However, there is a very fine line between brilliance and stupidity. It’s very, very narrow,” he added, drawing laughter from the crowd.
MAHSA University pro-chancellor and executive chairman Prof Tan Sri Dr Mohamed Haniffa Abdullah said the university was honoured to present the honorary doctorate to Fernandes.
“He is a great visionary who made flying accessible. Prior to AirAsia, less than 10% of Malaysians had ever travelled by air.
“Today, Malaysians not only travel by air frequently, but have the choice of travelling to over 120 global destinations at affordable rates,” he said.
He added that Fernandes is a “beacon of inspiration to all”, and that his hard work, perseverance, determination and self belief is not only laudable, but should be roundly emulated.
Honorary doctorates are conferred to individuals who made substantial contributions in their fields or to society in general.
Towards the end of the ceremony, Fernandes made nursing lecturer Asha Manghanmal and third year medical student Muhamad Izzat Hanif Jeffry very happy by giving each of them a free ticket for AirAsia’s maiden flight to Hawaii.
The duo were the first few who ran up the stage when Fernandes made the open offer to “whoever is dressed in red”.
Following that, he launched the MAHSA University Centre for Global Business, which will conduct theme-based, multi-disciplinary studies on global business issues.