A well-rounded postgraduate student should not only be well trained in technical skills but should also possess soft skills such as communication and leadership skills
When it comes to developing postgraduate talent, Malaysia fares quite high along with other countries known for its education sector. This is because stringent entry requirements are in place to ensure the quality of students enrolled in postgraduate programmes. On top of that, good facilities exist to support postgraduate research and in addition, the government, especially Ministry of Higher Education and Ministry of Science Technology and Innovation, is supportive in finding the funding for said research.
In fact, according to Professor Chu Wan Loy, Dean, School of Postgraduate Studies, International Medical University (IMU), there has been a significant increase in the number of publications in high impact journals by Malaysian researchers in recent years. “Most of the publications are derived from postgraduate research. In addition, some postgraduate students have succeeded in securing international scholarships to further their studies,” says Professor Chu.
WHAT MAKES A POSTGRADUATE TALENT
It is one thing to be accepted in a postgraduate programme and have all the facilities available for you yet another to excel in your next years of postgraduate research journey. Postgraduate institutions like IMU have taken measures to support their students but says Professor Chu, it also falls back on the individual. In essence to become a well-rounded postgraduate talent.
What does this entail, we pose the question to Professor Chu? “A well-rounded postgraduate student should not only be well trained in technical skills but should also possess soft skills such as communication and leadership skills,” he says. A few qualities make Professor Chu’s list of must-haves: “The student should possess good analytical and critical thinking skills. He or she should be able to see things from different engles and pose the right research questions. The student should also be innovative and resource and demonstrate effective communication skills,” shares Professor Chu.
Studies aside, postgraduate students from IMU are actually encouraged to play their role as involved citizens. “Serving the community is highly emphasised by IMU,” says Professor Chu. “Our postgraduate students are encouraged to take part in community service projects under the ‘IMU Cares’ programme. Such activities create opportunity for inter-professional learning and teamwork.”
That’s not the only thing that IMU encourages among its students. With research as the main focus now for Malaysia’s postgraduate systems, IMU – like many other institutions around the nation – have taken measures to inculcate research culture amongst its postgraduate students. “We have regular research talks that are delivered and chaired by postgraduate students themselves,” shares Professor Chu of these efforts. “Such forums offer a good opportunity for postgraduate students to receive feedback from their peers. They are also encouraged to pose critical questions during presentation of their peers. Our students are also encouraged to present their research findings in international conferences and publish their work in high impact journals.”
All of these – if anything – helps to instill an inquisitive mind in postgraduate students to think of the box, express freely and meaningfully, react purposefully and contribute to the learning community.
Sounds like something you can take on? Before you decide that a research postgraduate programme is what you want, here’s sound advice from Professor Chu: “With such an overwhelming amount of information on the web, there is no reason for postgraduate students not keeping abreast with the latest development in their field of research. Start developing good knowledge-management skills.”