CEO shares a recipe for success

  • Branded
  • Monday, 09 Mar 2020

Students at Heriot-Watt University Malaysia are trained to become competent engineering talents who will be able to lead the industry in the wake of IR4 and beyond.

THE advancement in human civilisation highlights our success as a species. By coming together as a society in order to survive, we created communities and sparked the formation of towns and eventually cities.

Throughout this process, there has been an increased complexity in how we wrought our world, from the Neolithic to the Industrial Age. And it is our ingenuity at fashioning tools and solutions out of mere ideas that become the hallmark of our legacy.

These skills form the foundation for countless engineering advancements in history, as evident in the irrigation pumps of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon and the Roman aqueducts that crisscross parts of Europe, North Africa and Asia Minor.

Today, engineering plays a central role in our highly technological age and will be even more crucial in heralding the fourth industrial revolution (IR4).

Traditionally, engineering is cast into four different branches: chemical, civil, electrical and mechanical. These areas have since expanded with more specialisations, creating more areas, such as aeronautics, chemical, nuclear and structural, to name a few.

Certainly being an engineer makes you much sought after, and as such, presents a very lucrative occupation, as engineers are among one of highly paid in all professions. Because engineering students are trained to be detailed, analytical and to systematically troubleshoot problems, it comes to no surprise that they rise up fast in ranks.

Engineering has a long history of producing some of the brightest individuals who become movers and shakers of almost any industry. More than 30% of CEOs from the world’s top 500 companies are engineers, people like Elon Musk of Tesla Inc and SpaceX, Jeff Bezos of Amazon and Sundar Pichai of Alphabet Inc.

Elon Musk (left) and Jeff Bezos are two such CEOs who had an extensive background as engineers – Filepix.

Much of what engineering students learn can be transferred to other disciplines as they study more than just science and mathematics. They are also required to learn economics, business, ethics and communication, which prepares them for a headway into other industries.

Engineers often collaborate with others, leading teams though different projects. All these knowledge and skills make them a natural in taking up reins or starting a new company.

A tradition in technical excellence

Heriot-Watt University, UK (HWU) has a longstanding history for providing solid engineering degrees and is a reputable research institution in the physical, social and life sciences, engineering, business and design.

Established in 1821 as the world's first mechanics' institute called the School of Arts of Edinburgh, it received its university status by royal charter in 1966.

It currently ranks 302 worldwide, according to the QS World University Rankings 2018/19 and 35th in the UK, according to “The Complete University Guide 2020”. HWU is among the top 10 in the UK and the first in Scotland for its research impact (REF 2014). It is placed 243rd in the world for engineering and technology by QS Rankings in 2019.

The Heriot-Watt University Malaysia (HWUM) was formed in 2014 to bring high quality British education to South-East Asian students and beyond. It has a total of 11 engineering courses; out of which eight are at the undergraduate level, two at postgraduate and one, research.

Undergraduate students will eventually earn the Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) – BEng (Hons) – or the Master of Engineering (MEng) degrees in mechanical, civil, electrical and electronic or chemical engineering.

Postgraduates will earn the Master of Science (MSc) degrees in petroleum and renewable energy engineering, while research students will be bestowed the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree in Engineering and Engineering Trades.

Nurtured as leaders in life

Students at HWUM are trained as a pool of competent engineering talents who will be able to meet the demands of the IR4 and beyond, as was aimed in a memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed between HWUM and the Institution of Engineers, Malaysia (IEM) in July last year.

This MoU formalises a five-year partnership to provide HWUM students and staff members the opportunity to gain valuable industry insights and expertise from prominent local engineering professionals.

The Heriot-Watt University Malaysia campus, located in Putrajaya.

HWUM engineering students are also encouraged to expand their capabilities through external competitions that will test their professional mettle, such as the APEC YES Challenge and the Shell-Eco Marathon.

The APEC YES Challenge is an annual competition for young entrepreneurial teams across the APEC economies to encourage social innovation for a greener economy and more inclusive society. While the annual Shell-Eco Marathon tests young engineers from around the world in their ability to design, build and drive energy-efficient vehicles.

These competitions mould students into ready professionals to join the workforce, with skills such as teamwork, leadership and communication, to propel them to success in the real world.

Opportunity for success awaits

If you are interested in finding out more on engineering or the university’s range of programmes and scholarships on offer, drop by the HWUM campus, located in Precinct 5, Putrajaya during its Open Day on March 14 and 15.

There, you can also attend the university’s special “Open Day Provost Talk” and learn more on how an engineering degree can take you anywhere in today’s fast-changing world.

The topic is entitled "From Engineering to CEO: How an Engineering degree can take you anywhere" by HWUM CEO and provost Professor Mushtak Al-Atabi and will be held on March 15 from 11.30am to 12.30pm.

For more information about the talk, go to

Also if you apply and pay for your first semester tuition fees immediately, you are entitled to an early bird waiver worth RM4,500.

You can also visit the campus during regular consultation hours, which are from 9am to 5pm on Mondays to Fridays and 10am to 4pm on Saturday.

Alternatively, log on to or call 03-8894 3888 or email

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