Creating global graduates

Handy tips: Culinary students getting some pointers from an instructor at one of the varsity’s kitchens.

Taylor’s University is nurturing its graduates to be more marketable internationally by partnering corporations that offer training and internship programmes.

WHAT any industry needs are graduates who are comfortable in the work environment and are able to “swim” when thrown into the deep end. At Taylor’s University, producing graduates who are able to fit in whatever field they are employed in, is a priority.

According to Taylor’s University vice-chancellor and president Prof Datuk Dr Hassan Said, the university aims to “meet industry demands for highly skilled graduates and making students marketable on a global scale”.

“Top employers measure a student’s capability not just in terms of academics. They look at other values as well, such as their ability to relate to people within the organisation and other cognitive capabilities,” said Prof Hassan who added that one of the values of a top employer, besides financial and brand equity strength, was that it offered the best opportunities for staff to learn and grow professionally.

To ensure that Taylor’s University graduates are an organisation’s first choice, every programme in the university incorporates exposure to real-life situations with students being given opportunities to immerse themselves in activities and hands-on projects within the campus.

“There’s the Bizpod, where we provide an actual office setting for students to utilise and discuss their business plans with mentors from the industry, as well as the Legal Aid Centre where Taylor’s Law School students provide pro bono legal help for those who cannot afford professional services,” Prof Hassan explained.

These are only two of the many set-ups provided. There is also a clinical suite for medical students. For the hospitality, culinary and tourism students, there are kitchens, restaurants, as well as an actual hotel called Ruemz located at the campus.

And at the Moore Stephens Accounting Office, accounting students get to work on actual cases and practice balancing actual books and not just hypothetical cases.

At each of these outfits, the students not only learn their craft but are also exposed to other aspects of the industry that they will work in after graduation.

“We have restaurants that are run by students which are open during the lunch hour. That way, our culinary students also learn about how to run a successful business.

“By the time they finish studying and if they have the capital for it, they can start their own business,” said Taylor’s Education Group corporate marketing chief marketing officer Lydia Wang.

Besides the real-life experience on campus, the varsity also ensures that its students gain experience outside the university by making internships compulsory for every course.

“This is to ensure that all students are industry-ready even before they graduate and programmes like our Taylor’s World Class Scholarship provides opportunities for students to intern at top multinational companies throughout their studies,” added Prof Hassan.

Even more impressive is the Student Employment Programme (Step), where a student’s employment can begin from the time of enrolment.

“We have partnerships currently with the Shangri-La Hotel Kuala Lumpur, Hilton Worldwide and Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre, where students are allowed to enhance their skills and meet the high standards set by our partners, apart from gaining employment at their outlets,” said Prof Hassan.

Training sessions

He added that the students were also given the opportunity to attend training sessions, workshops and seminars designed by certain “partner companies” while undergoing their degree curriculum.

Wang explained that they select specific students who will then have an internship with the respective companies every holiday.

“The internships are to their advantage as by the time the students graduate, they are able to move into middle management level in these companies. It means they are ahead of their peers,” she said.

The programmes are designed this way as a result of extensive input from the respective industries.

The Industry Advisory Panel (IAP) of each school at the varsity is in charge of obtaining information.

“The IAP ensures that the curriculum meets the industry needs, provides industry internships and training for students, as well as input on how to increase employability of our graduates,” said Prof Hassan.

The university also organises talks where industry experts and top corporate leaders from all over the world share their best practices and experiences with students. Some industry experts are also brought in from time to time as guest lecturers.

Prof Hassan added that the university was constantly seeking to create partnerships with top organisations from outside the country as well.

“We’re aiming for international recognition for all our courses. This will give more value to our international students as well,” he said.

These strategic partnerships provide Taylor’s University graduates with direct exposure and professional experiences to their related industries, added Prof Hassan

“Some are able to secure employment even before they graduate,” he added.

“The programmes offered at the varsity are unique as the disciplines are not restricted within themselves.

“The university recognises that multi-disciplinary studies are vital for a student to get by in the working world.

“Students are taught multi-disciplinary knowledge.

“For example, engineering students also learn entrepreneurial skills, communication and presentation know-how.

“Business students are mentored by engineering lecturers on how to work on their technical projects to ensure feasibility of the projects,” explained Prof Hassan.

Even the campus design enforces Taylor’s University’s vision to produce top graduates. The students from each faculty are not restricted to separate buildings.

“Regardless of the course a student is taking, he or she will be able to meet with students from other courses,” said Prof Hassan.

“It gives the students a chance to network and make contacts that will be beneficial to them later in life,” he explained.

Taylor’s University is a contributor to the Star Education Fund.

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