IN spite of the widespread news about businesses being shuttered and a high number of people rendered jobless by the pandemic, the truth is that some in the business world have been doing well.
It is easy to see only dystopia and general slump from the rows of shutters on streets devoid of traffic – but that is not the pervasive truth.
"The truth is that the world has been prospering through specific economic baskets.
"Logistics, food production, electronics and electrical manufacturing, computer technology, export and import, pharmaceuticals, Internet technology – all have gone on without a hitch and even doing better," said UOW Malaysia KDU deputy vice-chancellor (academic) Prof Dr Hon Wei Min.
The challenge, she added, lies with embracing change and cooking up new ways to get things done.
"This is where the younger generation plays a role that is more vital than it has ever been," she said.
Taking a page from historic naturalist and biologist Charles Darwin, Prof Hon subscribes to the view that “it is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.”
To adapt, one should be able to perceive the signals of change from our surroundings and even global environment.
However, this is not sufficient. We need to interpret these signals and quickly act to reinvent and reshape ourselves to be successful.
Prof Hon pointed out that UOW Malaysia KDU's students in Business and Law show great capacity for change.
"Studies continue online for Business and Law students, and you can see how easily they adapt to the virtual world, instinctively developing their own ground rules for online meetings and tackling the learning curve of a multitude of apps they use for such purposes.
"Unlike some from the older generations who may yearn for face-to-face interactions, we see our students getting on with the new normal without a hitch and perhaps even with better efficiency," she said.
Among the chief attractions of pursuing Business and Law degrees at UOW Malaysia KDU is the standing scholarship offers of between 30% and 100% off tuition fees.
These scholarships are granted to every student who sign up and the amount given depends on their prior academic results.
Prof Hon explained this was to draw high performers and pool their excellence to spark off an intense learning environment.
"Simply put, birds of a feather flock together and when we have a student body from multiple countries with excellent results at the secondary level, they tend to be more dynamic and propel each other at tertiary level," she added.
The other appeal for those pursuing business degrees at UOW Malaysia KDU is the high degree of focus on using projects to assess students' performance and progress, complementing written assessments.
The campus' School of Business has its own Entrepreneurialism Pod (e-Pod) and Enterprise Lab (e-Lab). It partners with the Malaysia Practice Enterprise Centre (MyPEC) to build a business simulator programme within the entrepreneurship course. Students are able to work with a diversified range of students from different schools, running businesses and solving problems and issues in a virtual environment.
The simulation is so extensive that hurdles in managing human resources, administration, marketing and even taxation are factored in. This trains students to deal with multi-faceted situations, measure risks and handle failures.
Equally important is UOW Malaysia KDU's Job Shadowing Programme, which grants Business students at degree and diploma levels the experience of daily operations of start-up companies and facing first-hand the day-to-day issues in businesses – an opportunity impossible to obtain in a classroom.
Close to the realm of business is the study of Law, and students who read Law at UOW Malaysia KDU do so under the auspices of University of London, one of the oldest universities in the UK.
UOW Malaysia KDU is one of the few affiliate centres of University of London's Bachelor of Laws programme in Malaysia.
The campus maintains a low student-to-teacher ratio in its Law classes, a vital component in helping students grapple with the finer lines of justice and jurisprudence.
To help students stay the course as they pore over the volumes of necessary reading material, the campus' Law Society Centre facilitates an open communication channel between students and Law lecturers.
This centre now plays an even more important role in the pandemic as students study remotely.
UOW Malaysia KDU is also the first and only private institution to officially pen down a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) with Inns of Court Malaysia, a professional body comprising of legal practitioners and the members of the judiciary. The MoA grants students access to learn from practising lawyers and judges.