Empowering students through professional networks

International Council of Malaysian Scholars and Associates (ICMS) committee members and participants in Industry Insights 2019. Pictures courtesy of ICMS.

BEFORE entering the competitive job market, it is imperative to equip oneself with industrial knowledge to win the hearts of prospective employers.

“Upon graduation, youths today often face a dilemma in choosing from a myriad of career options. Many of us have limited understanding of what industries, companies and their roles entail,” said Clement Sim Shi Jie, a member of the Industry Insights (I2) 2019 committee and student at Cork Institute of Technology, Ireland.

“Through I2, we help participants to understand how each industry functions, and how they can take ownership of their professional development.”

The International Council of Malaysian Scholars and Associates (ICMS) organised the seventh installment of I2 at Sunway Resort Hotel and Spa. Attracting 80 participants, the event was themed “Advocates of Society 5.0”.

The I2 organisers had partnered with leading industry players, namely Sunway Group, Maybank Bhd, Ernst & Young (EY), Axiata, Samsung and their longtime strategic partner, The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW), to provide young Malaysians with an immersive experience in various industries and career opportunities.

A participant pitching her ideas after solving a case study related to smart cities during the Ernst & Young session.

As a platform for participants to showcase their critical thinking and presentation skills, I2 comprised a series of workshops, each followed by a presentation, debate or case study set in the context of the Olympics.

Sim said the organisers took a new approach by adopting the Society 5.0 theme and Olympic storyline to deliver a unified message.

“We wanted to push participants to think how youths should leverage technology responsibly to empower others while learning about different industries,” he said.

In his opening address, I2 2019 project director and Monash University student John Woo Jia Jun expressed his gratitude to the organising committee, partners and sponsors like Axiata, Samsung and Sunway Group.

“A year ago, I was sitting right here as a participant, clueless, nervous and not knowing what to expect. But today, that journey has led me here to assure you that this is a safe space to make mistakes, to learn and develop yourself.

“I hope you will leverage this opportunity to experience the steep learning curve and utilise the key takeaways in your future endeavours,” said Woo.

Sunway Group human resources chief Foo Shiang Wyne stressed on the importance of leading from the heart, in line with the humanising sentiments of Society 5.0.

In a session conducted by EY, participants engaged in sustainability-related cases while the workshop by Sunway Group centred around the integration of technology and community wellbeing.

Maybank’s workshop saw participants engaging in a digital board game, an Olympic vendors’ “auction” and a pitching session. Participants had to allocate their budget accordingly and improvise according to the vendors they chose to become.

Axiata conducted a simulation of a data breach, where participants had to assume the role of C-Suite executives, such as the chief executive officer of the affected company, and conduct a press conference to resolve the situation.

This was followed with a debate by Samsung on whether bionics should be allowed in the Olympics.

“Students learn to deal with unexpected crisis professionally, manage various stakeholders from distinct industries and be creative and innovative in proposing strategies,” said Sim.

The two-day event ended with a conference featuring ICMS alumni from diverse fields.

“Seeing how they took ownership of their growth affirmed me that their learning would transcend beyond those two days.” — John Woo Jia Jun (left), I2 2019 project director

It allowed participants to network and gain valuable insight from talented representatives of various industries, such as engineering, law and consultancies.

The highlight of the event was a networking session which enabled participants to gain valuable insight from experienced talent representatives of various industries.

The closing ceremony saw the winning group taking home a prize of RM1,200, while the most collaborative team and best speakers received RM100 each.

Organising the event itself was a talent development affair for the I2 committee members, who had to overcome many barriers.

“Our planning team cuts across geographical boundaries. Due to the time zone differences, our online meetings could stretch into the wee hours for some associates, or start before dawn,” said Woo.

“It was difficult to organise an event as huge as I2 in the online space, and it involved a lot of personal sacrifices. Another challenge was calibrating the workshops at a level that was accessible to participants, yet challenging enough to stimulate them.

“By working together with our experienced partners and sponsors, we, as organisers, had learnt a lot about their industries.”

Participants of Industry Insights 2019 engaging in a lively discussion to solve a case study.

Noting how rewarding it was to inspire fellow students, Woo added: “Seeing how they took ownership of their growth affirmed me that their learning would transcend beyond those two days.”

ICMS is a non-profit professional network committed to the development of Malaysian youths in leadership, intellect and career development since its inception seven years ago.

It consists of higher-learning students from Malaysia, the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, Singapore, United States and Canada.

By Rayyan Rafidi .

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/education/2019/09/524412/empowering-students-through-professional-networks

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