BANK Negara Malaysia’s 2017 Annual Report recorded an upward trend of 4.1% in graduate unemployment for 2017.
It highlighted that about 230,000 graduates remained jobless despite their qualifications.
Coupled with this is the dichotomy of expectations between graduates and employers. Jobstreet.com’s Fresh Graduate Report 2018 indicated that while there is a rise in employers’ positive perceptions, most still rank graduates as average – suggesting the need for improvement among young professionals.
To address these two problems, higher education institutions have begun to engage with employers to develop a curriculum that equips students with competencies and experiences for the workplace.
A popular effort is industry-led competitions, which test students with real life scenarios faced by businesses including digital marketing initiatives, coding and apps development, product innovation, and entrepreneurship.
Partnering with over 450 industry partners, INTI International University & Colleges recognises the value of such competitions.
Attesting to the importance of competitions are twins Natalia Bong Sue Yin and Natasha Bong Sue Yan, both currently pursuing Southern New Hampshire University’s (SNHU) Bachelor of Science in Business Studies (majoring in International Management, minoring in Psychology) programme at INTI International College Subang.
The twins, along with INTI alumna and fellow team mate Nur Azre Abdul Aziz, represented Malaysia in global competitions, which include Unilever’s Future Leaders League 2017 in London and the L’Oreal Brandstorm competition 2018 in Paris.
Currently interning as a digital customer consulting intern with KPMG in Singapore, Natasha who is a KPMG Asean scholarship holder shared: “We believe that only by joining external activities and events (including competitions) can you add value to your academic learning.”
The twins, who pursued their secondary studies at Asia Pacific Smart School, said that going beyond academics has helped them develop time management and communication skills, as well as the ability to adapt to changes.
“Every competition joined is an experience gained,” she added.
Natalia, an operations and sustainability consulting intern with PwC Malaysia said: “INTI has helped us realise that we need the right skills and experiences to stand out.
“By joining competitions, we have gained industry experience and built a growing network with working professionals who have imparted their knowledge and ideas to us.
"These connections, learning opportunities and our overall desire for gaining experiences have pushed us to participate in competitions, adding value to the competencies we are developing for the future.”
The twins also took on a 10-week programme that challenged them to develop their own social enterprises for a better Malaysia, with Natasha’s team addressing the reduction of food wastage, while Natalia focused on making healthcare accessible to orang asli communities.
INTI International College Subang offers 4+0 degree programmes from SNHU USA, which ranked Tier 1 by the Northern Regional University by US News and World Report.
SNHU is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges — the same accreditation board as Harvard, MIT and Princeton College.
■ For enquiries, call 03-5623 2800 or visit www.newinti.edu.my