|Group photo of the KDU Engineering Alumni with the current engineering students during the symposium.|
Getting the gist of real world industry experience from KDU alumni of the School of Engineering (SOE) have benefited the current students impeccably when KDU hosted a one day event – School of Engineering Alumni Symposium on 5 October 2017 at its flagship campus at Utropolis, Glenmarie. The objective of the event is to provide opportunity for students to gain insight of the current industries’ technologies and development by having a sharing session with the alumni from the top industries. Five alumni speakers from five different industry sectors primarily Construction, Power Electrical, Electronic, Manufacturing and Information Technology were invited to impart their knowledge and insights on how to be successful in the challenging industry; namely Nanda Kumar Pathmanathan, Sivasangaran Janggayah, Tan Beng Sen, Hariharan Mahadhavan and Victor Goh Wei Te who have graduated from KDU for more than a decade.
The topic of the forum is set to discuss comprehensively on the current technology in a rapidly evolving industrial landscape and the transition towards Industry 4.0 Era where robots are being used to replace humans. The five speakers also touched on the four major disciplines of engineering which are Mechanical, Electrical, Electronic and Mechatronic. The event was conducted in a forum style where the floor was open for students to raise relevant questions to the speakers respectively, for extensive discussion which could benefit the participants.
The event kicked off with an opening remarks by the Deputy Vice Chancellor – Academic of KDU University College, Assoc Prof Dr Hon Wei Min where she stated, “The alumni who are present today is a testament of the evolution and transformation of KDU in producing quality graduates that are willing to contribute to the society and it is indeed a very proud moment for KDU to witness our graduates doing exceptionally well in the challenging industry nowadays.” She added, “For the alumni to be here today is considered highly valuable as the students could utilise this session to ask important questions and get the first-hand experience from the top players in the industry.”
The session progresses with the introduction of the speakers followed by the forum session where it was conducted by the masters of ceremony. In answering the first question by the student, one of the panels, Nanda emphasised, “Back when I was studying at KDU my goal is to face the challenges in order to be more independent, demonstrate good leadership qualities and become empowered.” He added, “To be able to move forward we must look for changes as it will evolve you and changes are the only thing constant in life.”
In addressing the question about how these alumni adjust to the real working life from campus life, Sivasangaran explained, “It is the best to start venturing in the working industry as soon as you graduate and the key here is not to be choosy as you will be able to make progress by gaining more working experience than your peers.” Tan enthused, “It is fine to not knowing exactly what you are going to do soon as you finish your studies, but it is important that you follow the flow as your life unfolds and to grab the new opportunities that come with it.”
One of the other questions discussed during the symposium was the cutting edge technology that is going to challenge human relevance in industry 4.0 where Victor commented, “It is not easy to move people from one work station to another as compared to programming a machine to do multiple tasks. Some of the larger companies have implemented a system where robots assistants will speak with the customers and to an extent where they will do loan approvals for the customers. We should not see this revolution as a threat but rather as a chance for us to think about how do we keep ourselves relevant and keep progressing forward.” Hariharan chimed in, “Even though cutting edge technology could turn manpower to become obsolete, we should always go back to the basics and look at this as a bigger picture. Machines nowadays can be utilised to carry out complex tasks without having to rely on high number of people with greater efficiency. This will greatly improve the productivity level of the industry where the whole idea of machines make machines and people are only needed to program and supervise the whole process is indeed the ultimate goal that we trying to accomplish.” It is up to the graduates to keep up with the pace of the ever evolving industry and this is what makes human achieve outstanding results and remarkable discovery.
The event is envisaged to benefit KDU students to understand the dynamics of modern industry, job demands and real world expectations as well as the market outlook in Malaysia. This is to fully prepare KDU engineering students to face the real world challenges and adapt to the different pace of the industry without falling behind in terms of the utilisation of the modern technology.