I joined IUMW in January 2017 right after my SPM examinations for the Foundation in Science programme and later furthered my degree here in BSc (Hons) Psychology. IUMW is unique as it provides both a local and international student experience as it is a university-owned by University Malaya and the University of Wales, UK. I joined with the intent to gain exposure to academics from both of these prestigious universities. Additionally, from achieving straight A’s in my SPM examinations, I was also offered the IUMW Vice Chancellor’s Scholarship Award which covered 100% of my tuition fees and gave me the opportunity to work on projects with other scholars and the university management team.

I’ve participated quite actively in various events within and outside of university throughout my 4 years here. This year, among my personal highlights, would be winning the title of Global Champion of Unilever Future Leader’s League 2021 amongst 54,000 applicants around the world and being invited by the British Malaysian Chamber of Commerce (BMCC) as a panel speaker at ‘The Student Voice in a Time of Change’ forum. 

At the Unilever Future Leader’s League, my team and I pitched to judges from the Unilever Malaysia office pitched a marketing campaign to drive social impact and revenue with a 271% return of investment which won us the National Champion’s title in February 2021.

“We then represented Malaysia in July 2021 and presented to the judges from the Unilever London office a marketing campaign themed around environmental sustainability and climate change action.”

As a team, it was definitely an eye-opening and amazing experience, to be recognised for our ideas and to be able to network with youth from all parts of the world as well. 

As for the British Malaysian Chamber of Commerce (BMCC) panel session, I was the youngest panel speaker invited to share my thoughts at the forum titled ‘’The Student Voice in a Time of Change’. This was in relation to my role as the Student Council president at the university. As the panel had a Student Council representative from the UK, I was invited to share inputs from a Malaysian lens. I enjoyed sharing perspectives on behalf of the student community, where I highlighted the struggles and challenges faced by students in these challenging times, the role of the student council/student union from a Malaysian perspective and how stakeholders can play a more effective role to facilitate student action. 

Nevertheless, I have to say that nothing comes easy. It is definitely a lot of hard work and late nights. Juggling external activities/participation with studies and final examinations was tedious but the journey was worth it. There are two key steps to prepare for any competitions/conferences / virtual boot camps etc that I practice. The first is reading, as I feel that being well equipped with knowledge helps with my confidence thus, reading and taking note of key points via google or even books on the topic or related subject matter really does help. Secondly, speaking to experienced people. If there are seniors or even if I come across people on LinkedIn that have experienced a similar competition/challenge etc previously, I would try to secure a call or a quick chat with them on their experience and learnings as this helps me gauge what’s ahead and stay prepared.

Personally, I’ve definitely learnt a lot from the experiences I’ve had through my active participation, both soft and hard skills. For a science stream student with a psychology background, I’ve had exposure to other industries and learnt the basics of business acumen, economics, sustainability & etc which helped me find my passion and decide on a career pathway.

“It also goes without saying that all of my experiences have also helped make my resume and job applications stand out and helped with my employability which landed me an internship as a Business Consultant at Ernst & Young, and my current role at Unilever doing Strategic Projects.”

As someone who enjoys sharing experiences and mentoring youths through various student organisations, having learnings and key takeaways from my experiences provide me with something valuable which can be shared with others too. 

I appreciate the close-knit community within IUMW from the staff, lecturers and students, who’ve supported me throughout the different paths I’ve taken. I’ve had amazing lecturers throughout my degree who made lectures engaging and were ever ready to provide out of classroom support and this helped me build really good fundamentals in psychology. Outside of class, I was the Student Council President for the term 2019/2020 and this truly wouldn’t have been available without the support of my fellow university students, the lecturers and the staff. A key mention would be to our advisor, Ms Ooi Lay Tin the Head of Student Services who played an instrumental role in inspiring me and the team throughout our tenure and opening doors of opportunities for us as well. It was also because of IUMW that I had the opportunity to be a panel speaker at the British Malaysian Chamber of Commerce (BMCC)’s forum on ‘The Student Voice in a Time of Change’.

“I believe that you can learn a lot from experiences.”

Whatever opportunity comes your way, if you’re interested, don’t doubt yourself and give it a go. You may either fail or succeed but one thing is for sure, experience is invaluable. I would encourage everyone to explore opportunities and experiences beyond the classroom, be it internal extracurricular activities within the university or activities in external student organisations or organisations. If you have a direction in mind that you are headed towards career-wise or a cause that you are particularly passionate about, spend some time during your university years building towards that path. On one end, participation and achievements in the relevant fields would help bump up your resume, on the other end any experience is good, you’ll be able to pick up both soft and hard skills and take away valuable learnings too. All the best, you got this!