Beyond The Classroom: Cultivating Entrepreneurship In Students

  
From left, the forum panellists; Dr. Robert Bong followed by Dato' Dan E Khoo, Dato’ Teo Chiang Quan and Ms. Dorothy Teoh as moderator. A look at the Enterprise Centre built in KDU University College’s Utropolis Glenmarie Campus. The forum closed with KDU and MyPEC signing the ‘Practice Enterprise Licensing Agreement’. Here, Prof.Khong Yoon Loong shook hands with Matsham Ahmad, Director of MyPEC while the Chairman of MyPEC Board of Advisors, Dato’ Radin Firdaus looked on with Dato’ Teo Chiang Quan, Chairman of the KDU Board.
SHAH ALAM, 12 June 2015 – In its initiative to instil and cultivate the entrepreneurial mind-set in its students, KDU University College together with Malaysia Practice Enterprise Centre (MyPEC) hosted the ‘Entrepreneurship Development Beyond the Classroom’ forum on 11 June 2015, at the education institution’s flagship campus in Utropolis, Glenmarie.

In line with the recent Malaysia Education Blueprint 2015 – 2025 (Higher Education), the forum supported and reinforced the ministry’s emphasis on the need for Holistic, Entrepreneurial and Balanced Graduates as one of the 10 shifts to spur continued excellence in the higher education system.

The forum was moderated by Ms. Dorothy Teoh, who helms The Edge Education Foundation as its Chief Executive Officer and featured a group of stellar panellists comprising of Dato’ Teo Chiang Quan, Chairman of KDU Board; Dato' Dan E Khoo, Vice President - Strategy of Multimedia Development Corporation (MDeC); and Dr Robert Bong, Chief Advisor, Malaysia Blue Ocean Strategy Institute (MBOSI), all of whom are subject-matter experts in education, information technology and entrepreneurship, and who had generously shared their thoughts, opinions and expertise.

Dato’ Teo got the ball rolling by kick-starting the forum with his thoughts on the importance of instilling the entrepreneurship mind set and skills amongst students in academic institutions. Of course, being a man of his background, Dato’ Teo had plenty of input on the matter. While the quality of education provided at KDU is of no question, Dato’ Teo stressed on the key mind-set that budding entrepreneurs need; courage. He stated that entrepreneurs must be daring enough to revolutionise or grow an idea while quoting that, “Trust, respect and integrity are the qualities that will make or break you. Never lose these qualities when you’re putting the theories you learnt to the test in the real world.”

The forum escalated at a speedy pace soon after Dato’ Teo wrapped up his topic, with Dato’ Dan E Khoo bringing his casual charm to the table while speaking on utilising IT infrastructure to provide a virtual learning environment and access to a global market for the enhancement of entrepreneurship skills. With decades of experience in the IT field, Dato’ Khoo cut to the chase and fed the eager budding entrepreneurs in the audience exactly what they needed to know; online courses. Simple enough, students can easily access additional online courses offered globally by universities or even entrepreneurship centres that will add more to their perspective and knowledge on a global scale. He then stated that the first step to enhancing entrepreneurship skills lies in entrepreneurship in the classroom. 

“How do we translate complex things to simpler forms? When things are networked together, the possibilities are endless. Don’t see yourselves as students, but entrepreneurs. Too many great products and services were born in classrooms and developed by students. Through the infrastructure you are provided with, interact, form partnerships and begin your entrepreneurship journey,” he advised.

As if those weren’t already a wealth of information shared within a short span of time, Dr. Robert Bong took centre stage by simplifying his topic on the role of higher learning institutes in shaping a thriving entrepreneur ecosystem into just three words; “Just do it!” 

This took in an appreciative laughter from the crowd as they refreshed their palates for this round. Dr. Bong explained that the reason why he simplified his topic in such a manner is simply because, “If you want to be an entrepreneur, you create the ecosystem. We shouldn’t rely on external help such as the government or other entrepreneurs to create an ecosystem. We can work with what we have.”

He then proceeded to highlight some of the essentials in entrepreneurship; market access, talent and most importantly, funding. Contrary to popular belief, he sternly expressed that too much funding can destroy rather than be beneficial. However, he did touch on the role of higher learning institutes on shaping a thriving entrepreneur ecosystem stating, “Are we producing employers or employees? It’s vital to teach how to ensure entrepreneur projects are profitable. Universities should set the bar higher and collaborate with corporate partners for live projects students can work on. This can benefit both students and corporation whereby the students get hands-on experience and profits, and the corporation gets to copyright the product or service developed.”

The forum then was opened to the floor for the students to ride on this opportunity and ask the burning questions they have on the road to entrepreneurship. One of the participants of the forum then threw to the panellist; “How exactly do I actually start being an entrepreneur?” 

“Start finding problems around you and strive to fix it!” urged Dr. Robert while Dato’ Radin Firdaus, the Chairman of the MyPEC Board of Advisors took it upon himself to provide the student his own advice quoting, “Don’t be caught up with words that are labels. Being an entrepreneur is a label but what you do is what translate you to be an entrepreneur.” 

At KDU University College, students are encouraged to cultivate an entrepreneurial mind – to be bold, be innovative and be adaptable. The education institution strives to provide students with an environment where they can solve problems with the aim that in the process of doing so, students who graduate from KDU will be highly employable and able to contribute towards achieving the nation’s goal of becoming a high-income nation.

In the pursuit of ensuring that its budding entrepreneurs are equipped with real world experience, KDU University College has set up its own Enterprise Center, and partnered with Malaysia Practice Enterprise Centre (MyPEC) to pilot three groups of students from the School of Business, School of Computing & Creative Media and the School of Communication & Creative Arts with the MyPEC business simulator programme, over the course of last year. 

Under this programme, teams from different institutions in different countries who subscribe to the MyPEC simulator log in to a virtual environment. Each team, made up of 6 to 10 persons, have the opportunity to run a business and solve its problems and issues on this virtual environment. The simulated set-up encourages students to use various web-based applications including the SKOLA (or place of learning in Greek) trading platform, human resources and administration and marketing platforms. The safe and risk-free environment allows students to also learn from their mistakes.

These platforms provide students the opportunity to experience different scenarios that occur in a real-world business environment, teaching them how to face different situations, take calculated risks and learn from their failures. Students who participate in these simulations are industry-ready as they have tested and put the knowledge they have gained from the classroom into simulated work environments 

The forum closed with KDU and MyPEC signing the ‘Practice Enterprise Licensing Agreement’ to mark their collaboration on the full-scale deployment of the MyPEC business simulator, and a visit to the Enterprise Center. 

For more information on KDU University College, go to www.kdu.edu.my or call 03-5565 0538 (KDU University College, Utropolis, Glenmarie) / 03-7953 6688 (KDU College, Damansara Jaya).

 
Media enquiries : Jocelyn Loke Mei Foong Marketing Communications Manager KDU University College

Telephone : +603 5565 0506

Email : mf.loke@kdu.edu.my