Are My Boys and Girls Marketable?
I came across this article in the Star today. It states that 98.5% of graduate from University Tunku Abdul Rahman is employed within 6 months. It got me thinking, what is the figure for UM? It was however not backed up by the quality of the employment obtained. Are they being employed by McDonald's or Price-Waterhouse-Cooper? Obviously it was a concern back in 2005 about the marketability of our UM graduate. The observation then, and I think a valid one still is not about their academic prowess - if you call it that - but their lack of marketability. The extra 'X' factor was deemed lacking and we as a university need to instill and develop it in our products, our graduates.
There were many observations put forward during the discussions. Is it a problem of selection of students into the university? Is it the problem of the UM curriculum? Is it the the lack of exposure to the mainstream culture and nuances? Is it a problem from employing the previous crop of graduates that detracted major corporation from taking a chance with the current ones?
I am not the pondering type, and even if so, I am not going to pretend to be able to articulate them succinctly as not to bore the life out of any readers. One of my old schoolmate from MRSM Terendak had the bright spark to ask me to join a 'career's fair' at the school. These are for the students waiting to take their O-level equivalent (the SPM) later this year and in six month after that will need to make a decision about higher education. Being a doctor obviously the expected theme is how great a career in Medicine is, even though I suffer from a daily basis being overburdened with work. It is more interesting to talk about marketability. What soft skills that are important for these young boys and girls to be a success in life whatever their interest are.
I have a choice to make. Will I start telling them the ugly truth, or just give the plain old 'being a Doctor is great' type talk? I am keen for the former, but it might not go down well with the organisers because after all, the reason for such meeting is to inspire these young minds. I thought I might just do a little bit of both. I will first tell them my first hand account of the path I took after SPM, my university life, getting married in my final year with a lady that also came from the same school (Anita, my childhood sweetheart), working in the UK, then now in UM. I will then talk about my observation of my students, the pressure they are under from their family to become Doctors, sometimes to a disastrous end. The soft skills that differentiate a good and a great Doctor. The perks of being a Doctor in my position. We shall see after what it will lead to, and it is happening this Saturday. There is a risk I will not be invited again the second time.
About to go to bed after playing badminton with some ex-Terendakians. Don't worry, I have already had my shower. About 20 of them turned up and we booked a couple of courts. First time I played after a couple of years. Brought my 2 rackets that are in desperate need for restringing, and believe it or not, the strings were still covered with cobwebs. Nasty! Mid-game, we need to get the cleaners not to mop the floor, but to vacuum the webs off! Great fun and will likely be playing again every Monday night. The courts are just 10 minutes drive from my house.
Managed to talk about the coming Saturday trip to Malacca. They were planning to sit the students down into small groups, depending on their interests. As I said, I was not really keen to talk about the rosy side of Medicine. The problem that most of us Doctors have is just seeing the end product, and not realising the hard slog to get there. If nobody else wants to say it, then it will have to be me!