UNIVERSITY of Southampton Malaysia (UoSM) held its third annual alumni homecoming reunion at The Majestic Hotel Kuala Lumpur, bringing together more than 80 of its alumni.
The biggest event that UoSM has organised thus far, it was the first time the university brought together alumni from its United Kingdom and Malaysia campuses to strengthen bonds and create valuable lifelong networks.
Previously, the event was held only for those who studied at Southampton Malaysia, but providing a platform that enables the university’s alumni to connect across geographical borders adds value to their experience, said UoSM chief executive officer and Asean pro vice-chancellor Prof Rebecca Taylor.
“Alumni events are all about networking. Networks are so important and they support people at the beginning of their careers, as they change careers and when people become more senior, they often feel that they want to mentor and give back – all of that are different stages of networking.
“I have to say that through my career, which spans many years, there’s nothing that has helped or supported me more than the networks I’ve created as my career has unfolded," she said.
Approximately 100 students from three cohorts have graduated from the UoSM campus since the university opened its doors in late 2012.
The majority of its students find employment within three months after graduation, including in world-renowned companies such as GlaxoSmithKline, Rolls-Royce, Intel, Dyson, GE, BP and Deloitte.
Some have even secured jobs prior to graduation while a few of the graduates from the Malaysian campus have already found employment in the UK.
UoSM’s commitment to graduate employability is evident from its strong industry links and a UK career centre that offers careers and employability services, such as career planning advisors to help students best chart their working future, as well as support for writing resumes and preparing for job interviews.
Above all, the university strongly believes in fostering industry-ready graduates with both local and international exposure, something that Ivan Ling Ting Yang – now a UoSM electrical and electronics engineering lecturer – can attest to.
“The University of Southampton prepared me for the working world by exposing me to their network of industry partners, where I learnt how the industry in the UK and in Malaysia works.
“There’s a strong structure in place that provides proper support to students seeking employment, in terms of career training,” he said.
To further bolster its focus on employability, UoSM is offering students an additional one-year paid Industrial Placement Year, on top of its current internship scheme, from this year onwards. The new initiative is to improve students’ connections with the UK labour market and increase opportunities for seeking employment there.
This new Industrial Placement opportunity is available for fulltime Masters of Engineering students who have successfully transitioned from Southampton Malaysia and are between their third and fourth year at Southampton, UK.
“At Southampton Malaysia, students are encouraged to take internships as early as foundation year. The field of engineering is constantly evolving to meet the world’s ever changing needs, and for students to keep abreast of these challenges, it is necessary to have some real-world experience," said Lyn Cacha from UoSM Marketing and Communications.
“This alumni homecoming event is a reflection of Southampton Malaysia’s achievements including its dedication to providing world-class education. However the university is not resting on its laurels yet. We are embracing new challenges ahead.”
UoSM is the only foreign branch campus in Malaysia that boasts a unique 2+2 model, which sees its students spending two years in the Malaysian campus before transitioning to the UK to complete the remaining two years.
Giri Dev Nair, now a site mechanical and electrical engineer with Gamuda Engineering Sdn Bhd, shared that the student experience at UoSM consisted of two separate ones including a local, close-knit experience here and more international exposure beyond academics in the UK.
“It’s a very rich experience that has a balance between both local and international contexts,” he added.
Famed for its engineering programmes in the UK, Southampton was invited by the Malaysian government to set up a campus in Educity, Johor.
While Southampton Malaysia currently offers a range of engineering programmes, which include an Engineering Foundation Year, a MEng in Aeronautics and Astronautics, an MEng in Electrical and Electronic Engineering, and a MEng in Mechanical Engineering, the university has plans to increase its course portfolio in other disciplines in the coming years.
At the recent gathering at The Majestic Hotel KL, there was a short awards ceremony to recognise several notable alumni who have played important roles in supporting the university in its Open Days, speaking at lectures, engaging with new partners and promoting the university to potential students, among other efforts.
In addition, an alumni mentoring scheme was also launched during the reunion by its PhD student Matthew Wong Kang Yao.