UTAR holds its first virtual Tea Meeting with UTAR President

Prof Ewe encouraging the graduands

Conducted by Department of Alumni Relations and Placement (DARP), UTAR held its first virtual “Tea Meeting with UTAR President” via Google Meet on 22 July 2020. The aim of the event was to give an opportunity to graduands of the upcoming March 2021 Convocation to attend a sharing session with UTAR President Ir Prof Dr Ewe Hong Tat.

Also present at the event were Vice President for Student Development and Alumni Relations Prof Dr Choong Chee Keong, Institute of Chinese Studies Dean Assoc Prof Dr Chong Siou Wei, Faculty of Engineering and Green Technology (FEGT) Dean Assoc Prof Ts Dr Yap Vooi Voon, Faculty of Creative Industries (FCI) Dean Dr David Tneh Cheng Eng, Faculty of Business and Finance (FBF) Dean Dr Au Yong Hui Nee, Faculty of Accountancy and Management (FAM) Dean Dr Sia Bee Chuan, Faculty of Arts and Social Science (FAS) Dean Dr Lee Lai Meng, Faculty of Science Dean Assoc Prof Dr Lim Tuck Meng, Lee Kong Chian Faculty of Engineering and Science Dean Ir Prof Dr Goi Bok Min, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences (FMHS) Student Development and Industrial Training Deputy Dean Prof Dr Alan Ong Han Kiat, Faculty of Information and Communication Technology (FICT) Student Development and Industrial Training Deputy Dean Dr Choo Peng Yin, and Department of Chancellery and DARP Head Lim Swea Jen.

During the session, Prof Ewe first talked about the challenges of 21st-century education and the evolution of economy. “Technology changes and things move on rapidly. So it is very important for us to make sure that we are ready for lifelong learning, willing to learn and willing to explore new things,” he said. He elaborated on industrial revolutions, stating that people who stand on the brink of revolution will always need new knowledge to use in their daily job.

He mentioned that the fourth industrial revolution, which is the ongoing transformation, creates the need for knowledge workers with a growth mindset. “What we learn in university is no longer enough for our whole career life. As the technology evolves faster than ever, we need knowledge workers with growth mindset who are willing to take challenges, willing to learn new things as well as with empathy,” he said. “We need empathy to connect human and human, and human and machine. People with empathy know what customers want and what industries want. They could provide a better service,” he added. He further presented a chart showing the changes in the type of jobs over the past 160 years in the United States of America and highlighted the increase of number among knowledge workers in all sectors. 

He stated that the fourth industrial revolution will still create jobs, however, the type of jobs will be different. “As long as we are willing to learn, pick up new techniques and new skills, it should be no problem for us to find jobs.” He also presented how the silicon valley makes them a fertile ground for innovation with an ecosystem for talent development and how the company faces the changing needs more responsively. According to him, Silicon Valley’s growth mindset was essential for its success which kept the company ahead in a shifting landscape. “Professor Carol Dweck from Stanford University always says people with fixed mindset will achieve less than their potential, always avoid challenges and hope things are the same every day. In fact, we need people with a growth mindset. Intelligence can be developed; if we are willing to learn and take challenges, we can always be better,” he said.

“In the past decade, a lot of big companies in the world focused on empathy. This is because they knew that the services they provide needed a lot of human touches. Microsoft Satya Nadella promoted the idea—innovations come from a deep sense of empathy; Apple CEO Tim Cook urged graduates to use their minds, hands and heart to build something bigger than themselves, and to never lose sight of their humanity; Bill and Melinda Gates founded a foundation to promote research, education and healthcare. Therefore, we can see that people with growth mindset and empathy will be able to continue to develop themselves, as well as to understand the needs of the market, services and the demand from the customers,” he said.

Moreover, he spoke about the next wave of technologies and said that the University was offering programmes that inspire students with technology knowledge such as fintech. He said, “We not only need to acquire knowledge, but also need to know how to use the knowledge to do analysis, evaluation, as well as to grab new things.” He added, “Nowadays everyone carries a handphone. We can find whatever knowledge from the Internet. However, we need to identify which knowledge is correct, what knowledge we should learn, and this is called intelligence and wisdom.”

Prof Ewe also introduced some titles and professions of the future such as performance technologist, cyber-librarians, and tissue engineer and encouraged the graduating students to find out more about these new professions. Furthermore, he shared some key skills to put on curriculum vitae (CV) to stand out among the others . He said, “Besides personal details, you should present these three skillstransformation skills, job-related skills and adaptive skills in your resume.” He also shared the top ten skills that will be in demand in 2020, which included complex problem solving, critical thinking, creativity, people management, coordinating with others, emotional intelligence, judgment and decision making, service orientation, negotiation, and cognitive flexibility. As digital technologies and soft skills are becoming common in daily life, Prof Ewe also shared the top five digital skills and traits valued by employers that will future-proof a workforce. “According to Jobstreet, the five digital skills sought by employers today are digital marketing, software and application development, big data and analytics, database, and e-commerce. In addition to hard skills, employers are also looking for soft skills such as problem-solving skills, the ability to work under pressure, the ability to work independently, teachability and communication skills,” he said.

He explained that, before making recruitment, companies would review young professionals based on personality, scholastic record and potential development, communications skills, experience, evidence of ability to corporate, recommendations by a qualified person, standing of the university from which one graduated, and salary requested. He also shared the top five skills that employers want and top five attributes of good employees. Presenting a survey from Jobstreet, Prof Ewe pointed out the factors that give fresh graduates an extra advantage and highlighted the importance of leadership skills. He also stated that demanding for unrealistic salary, being choosy about the job, poor attitude, poor command of the English language and communication skills are some of the reasons for unemployment among fresh graduates.

“Presently, UTAR has about 65,000 graduates registered with Jobstreet,” said Prof Ewe. He illustrated the database taken from Jobstreet, explaining that UTAR graduates are moving up their rank to a higher management position. In addition, he shared some keys that graduating students  could take to increase their chances of success at interviews. “You need to know the background of the company and revise some basic subjects before the interview so that you could clearly demonstrate your value and your intention to work in the company,” he said.

Advising the students, Prof Ewe also said that formal education plays an important role in their first job. However, it becomes less important as the career progress. “After your first and second job, employers will look for your career history to see whether you are able to perform your job. As you move on, soft skills become more and more important,” he said. He added that it is important for students to build up networking while studying at the university as it may help them with their future career path. Pointing out the importance of having a passion and good attitude at work, he said, “Your passion may help you to develop your career. So, project an attitude that would make people want to work with you.”

He urged the students to constantly learn new skills and update their current abilities. “We are all lifelong learners. As long as you are willing to make yourself a little better every day, you would become a better person,” he said. He also highlighted the distinction between important and urgent, and shared a few tips to help students find a balance between the two. Furthermore, he noted that UTAR has about 67,000 graduates and he encouraged the graduating students to join UTAR alumni group. “The role of alumni is actually continual and it is vital for the development of alumni and the university. As a graduate, you help to carry the UTAR flag in the industry. Successful alumni indicate the success of UTAR. We also welcome you to give feedback to the University and be part of human network,” he said. He also shared the accomplishment of some outstanding alumni, and hoped that the graduating students could continue along the path to success.

In his talk, Prof Ewe also introduced a virtual career fair which will be held from 15 July 2020 to 30 September 2020. To know more about the event, please click: https://utar.edu.my/events/2020/jul/15.html

The session was further continued by the Department of Alumni Relations and Placement (DARP) staff Naaresh Arumugam who gave a brief introduction on DARP and Alumni Association of Malaysia. It ended with Dr Choo’s introduction on an online talk.



The event saw the presence of Prof Choong and faculty deans from both Kampar and Sungai Long Campuses

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