Don’t do something that everybody is doing – do your research on something different and specialised
From its humble beginnings as Systematic College in 1977, SEGi – over the course of 40 years – has transformed into one of the largest and most well-known private institutes of higher learning.
“We have around 25,000 students in five major campuses located in Kota Damansara (known as SEGi University), Kuala Lumpur, Subang Jaya, Penang and Sarawak (all known as SEGi College). SEGi University Kota Damansara itself boasts of 9,000 students,” informs the Vice Chancellor of SEGi University, Professor Dr. Patrick Kee Peng Kong. “SEGi was given university status in 2012 and as a university, we are mandated to do research. I am proud to say we have an exciting postgraduate programme that is doing extremely well and attracting the best students from the country and from overseas too!”
SEGI UNIVERSITY’S POSTGRADUATE PROGRAMMES
SEGi University offers postgraduate programmes at the Masters and PhD level. Dr. Mahadevan Supramaniam, Director of the Research & Innovation Management Centre and Institute of Graduate Studies, explains: “At the Masters level, we offer a Masters in Business, Financial Planning, IT, Engineering, Education and Vision Sciences. Our PhD programmes which are research based are offered in the areas of Engineering, Education, IT and Management. We also do offer postgraduate by coursework such as MBA and DBA.”
Business education has been one of the hallmarks of SEGi and between 35 to 40 per cent of student enrolment in SEGi colleges are in business studies. This group also forms the bulk of students who go on to do their postgraduate degrees. At present, there are about 800 students who are pursuing either an MBA, PhD or DBA. The Masters programme is offered at the college level, but the PhD programme is only offered at the SEGi University.
The most popular PhD programmes are PhD in Management and Education, explains Professor Kee. “In the past two years, I am proud to say there has been a 50 per cent increase in the number of students pursuing a postgraduate degree.”
SEGi has one of the biggest Education faculties among private universities. The Economic Transformation Programme (ETP) targets to increase the enrolment of early childhood education to the same level as developed countries. SEGi is one of the educational institutes that has been appointed by the Government to spearhead early childhood education.
INVESTING IN POSTGRADUATE PROGRAMMES
Unlike public universities that receive huge financial assistance from the Government, private education institutions like SEGi have to raise funds on their own. “We can’t compete with public universities in terms of the many areas of research so we have focused our research to two areas: finance and education,” says Professor Kee.
To ensure that its postgraduate degrees are of international standard, the university has implemented measures such as:
- Offering research fellowship to deserving students. Students’ tuition fees are waived and they are given a monthly stipend.
- The existence of many dedicated research labs make it easy for students to do research.
- An in-house journal ensures that every postgraduate student has published papers. The students will be guided on how to come up with the journal and to present their research findings at in-house seminars that will be attended by people from the relevant industries.
- All postgraduate degrees are benchmarked against degrees from local public universities and international universities, and are accredited by the Malaysian Qualification Agency (MQA).
- Supervisors are encouraged to collaborate with international professors and universities.
- SEGi University volunteered to participate in the QS (Quacquarelli Symonds) rankings. “We received five stars from QS for our teaching, facilities, social responsibility and social inclusiveness. SEGi is also recognised as the first Malaysian University that earned 5 Stars for prioritising society’s needs in Malaysia by QS Stars,” says Professor Kee proudly.
ATTRACTING STUDENTS TO DO POSTGRADUATE DEGREES
High academic achievers, especially First Class honours students, are encouraged to take up research via the Young Lecturer Programme. They are given a stipend and are required to tutor undergrads. “This programme prepares students for their future academic career since 70 to 80 per cent of PhD holders go on to become lecturers,” reveals Professor Kee.
“At SEGi University, we encourage students to go on to do a postgraduate degree,” continues Professor Kee. “In these challenging times, one degree is not enough. Malaysia is making the shift from a manufacturing economy to a service-based industry, which requires lots of innovation in creating products and services. We require highly skilled workers who are creative, knowledgeable and specialise in niche areas. I advise students to think carefully about the subject they want to do their postgraduate studies on. Don’t do something that everybody is doing – do your research on something different and specialised.”