Grooming e-commerce talents at UTAR

With the vision to be a global university of educational excellence with transformative societal impact, UTAR has been working tirelessly to bring positive impact to the community by leveraging various resources. As a University “by the people, for the people”, UTAR has always played an active role within its university social responsibility (USR) to support and create poverty alleviation projects in correspondence with its mission in cultivating students’ sense of social responsibility. 

As part of the effort, UTAR and, a leading B2B marketplace for global trading under the Alibaba Group signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on 6 September 2016 to better equip UTAR staff and students as well as Malaysian small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with e-commerce knowledge. Besides, the MoU also served to kick-start the Global E-commerce Talent (GET) programme, an initiative by to train more e-commerce talents as they recognised the shortage of such expertise in the market.

UTAR and signed an MoU on 6 September 2016

Right after the signing of the MoU, UTAR sent 30 lecturers from both Kampar and Sungai Long Campuses to attend a five-day train trainers (TTT) workshop.  After the TTT workshop, 30 lecturers passed the test and became the first batch of GET certified trainers in Malaysia. Upon returning to UTAR, the lecturers started to revise postgraduate and undergraduate e-commerce courses by including more practical sessions in the curriculum. They studied the B2B (Alibaba test account) and B2C platforms (Lazada and Shopee) and incorporated these platforms into their teaching schedule. The revision of syllabus to 100% coursework-based aimed to give emphasis on the entire ecosystem of e-commerce Alibaba. The 100% coursework-based subject on e-commerce received a good response from the students. As part of the coursework assessment, a Preliminary GET Test was also implemented for the students.

30 UTAR lecturers from Kampar Campus and Sungai Long Campus attending the five-days TTT training  

UTAR Faculty of Information and Communication Technology (FICT), Faculty of Business and Finance (FBF), Lee Kong Chian Faculty of Engineering and Science (LKC FES), and Faculty of Accountancy and Management (FAM) participated in the GET programme to ensure that our staff and students have enough opportunities to broaden their reach to current and future business decision-makers in the community and nationwide. FICT, being the liaison faculty as well as the account manager, provided free training accounts to various other faculties to encourage participation in this e-commerce project. These free training accounts were given by UTAR FBF has also integrated’s B2B platform into its degree programme by incorporating relevant tutorials, group assignments and coursework presentation. LKC FES, on the other hand, is also undergoing a syllabus revision to include practical hands-on for the Alibaba B2B platform in a few courses. FAM became the consultant and advisor for students who were involved in the Alibaba Entrepreneur Project where they post products online via Lazada, 11Street, Facebook, Instagram and more.  Besides implementing coursework, UTAR had also organised some talks and training to create public awareness on e-commerce and set up the Unovate Centre to promote entrepreneurship culture in the university. E-Commerce Delivery Centre was also initiated to facilitate the online purchases made by staff and students. In addition, UTAR had also worked with on GET practice project and GET Preliminary Certification. As of 2019, 1,756 students have been awarded the GET Preliminary Certification.

FAM Head of Department of Building and Property Management Low Chin Kian (left picture) and FAM lecturer Tang Kin Leong (right picture) guiding students during the GET training

“I think this is a very good programme because it provides an opportunity for our students to acquire new knowledge, besides the certification, in the field of e-commerce. The GET programme enables the students to be equipped with the skill sets required by today’s digital economy. With such skill sets, students are able to assist the SMEs to tap into the vast opportunities offered by e-commerce. At the same time, it also helps students to understand how the ecosystem of e-commerce works in the current cross border markets and businesses,” said Dr Hen Kai Wah, FAM Deputy Dean for Academic Development and Undergraduate Programmes.

Alibaba Preliminary GET certificate

A total of 42 students successfully completed Alibaba GET Practice project, servicing eight Alibaba Global Gold Supplier (GGS) accounts

In July 2018, 1,500 educators and government officials came together to sign an Article of Authorization (AoA) at the 11th China-ASEAN Education Cooperation Week in Guiyang, China. This initiative involved the Ministry of Education Malaysia and the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC). UTAR was the first university in Asia to sign the AoA with Alibaba Group Malaysia as it recognised and understood from the very beginning that this programme could make a big difference for e-commerce businesses and talent in Malaysia.

Prof Choong (left) at the 11th China-ASEAN Education Cooperation Week in Guiyang, China

“GET provides the most relevant, up-to-date courses and learnings for e-commerce and digital business success from time to time particularly as Malaysia's Digital Free Trade Zone continues to grow in importance. UTAR is excited to be taking the next step on that journey as the GET Network will serve as an excellent platform, binding UTAR closely with Alibaba Group and other forward-looking partners who understand the new e-commerce context," said UTAR Vice President for Student Development and Alumni Relations Prof Dr Choong Chee Keong after the signing of AoA. 

A pilot course training session was conducted for 20 UTAR staff at Sungai Long Campus from 21 till 23 October 2018. A total of 51 students was involved in the Alibaba-Student Sessions. It is very important for a student to understand the entire logic of doing e-commerce business. Instead of doing e-commerce business without proper guidance, students are encouraged to gain hands-on experience by attending an entrepreneurial class. When a student is involved in a business, he or she might worry that they have invested too much money on a certain product and that it may lead to bankruptcy or business failure. Thus, this is the platform where you gain logic and insight into the e-commerce business,” said B2B Global-GET Programme GET Operation Winters Hu, during the pilot course training session.

UTAR continued the effort by sending more staff to the Alibaba Headquarters in Hangzhou, China for training. The training saw five lecturers, namely Head of Programme for Master of Information Systems Dr Wong Whee Yen, FAM Deputy Dean for Academic Development and Undergraduate Programmes Dr Hen Kai Wah, FICT lecturer Ts Dr Lim Seng Chee, FBF lecturer Dr Mohd Nizam bin A. Badaruddin and FCI lecturer Lau Kah Foo, undergoing Alibaba GET v2 TTT Training from 12 to 19 January 2019 at Alibaba Campus, Hangzhou. Alibaba GET Educational Leaders Workshop was organised from 6 to 8 January 2020. It brought an eye-opening experience to the participating lecturers. The lecturers included FAM Dean Dr Sia Bee Chuan and FBF Dean Dr Au Yong Hui Nee. The three-day programme aimed to peek into the unique tale of China’s rapid rise in the digital economy and share insights into Alibaba’s practices and experiences in the promotion of digitalisation and talent cultivation for the digital era.

With the aim to foster an inclusive dialogue on digital talent cultivation and harness countries’ readiness to engage in the digital economy, various visits and activities were conducted. The activities included visiting Alibaba Museum; exploring industries that have leapfrogged in China; examining how Alibaba’s Tmall Innovation Centre helps with branding; visiting Bainiu – a rural Chinese village with digital transformation via digital economy; engaging in workshops led by experts; visiting the Alibaba Business School Incubator; taking a tour around Hema Fresh - Alibaba’s new retail supermarket; experiencing live streaming as a new way to reach evolving customers in the digital age; hearing from the experts on exporting to China through eCommerce platform; taking a tour to Hangzhou and attending the show of West Lake Impression.

Second from left: Dr Wong, Dr Hen, Dr Mohd Nizam, Lau and Dr Lim Seng Chee at Alibaba Campus in Hangzhou

Front row, from left: Dr Au Yong (eighth) and Dr Sia (ninth) with other participants at the Alibaba Museum

Front row, from left: Dr Au Yong (ninth) and Dr Sia (tenth) with other participants

Wholly owned by UTAR Education Foundation Co. No. 578227-M        LEGAL STATEMENT   TERM OF USAGE   PRIVACY NOTICE