Foresight and adaptability are the hallmarks of a university that not only keeps pace with change but actively steers it. Enter Management and Science University (MSU), where the commitment to producing graduates desired by employers is not just a mantra but a proven reality.
Located in Malaysia, its effectiveness is evident through its 97.8% graduate success rate and its 1,000-strong international student community. There are over 65 nationalities on campus. In exclusive interviews with two key figures shaping MSU’s academic landscape, we offer a glimpse into how the university is spearheading the future of global education.
The importance of thinking like an entrepreneur
MSU does not just emphasise the cultivation of academic knowledge but also the practical skills and innovative thinking that define an entrepreneurial spirit. “In the 21st century, education has to be multifaceted,” explains Rosli Yusof, Senior VP for Endowment and Communication. He’s an MSU graduate with almost three decades of experience in the field of higher education.
“For example, our curricula integrate elements of entrepreneurship,” he says. “These were not set in place to turn our students into businessmen or businesswomen. Well, if they become one, that’s fair enough, but rather, we want to ensure all learners can benefit from an innovative mindset.”
The Leadership & Entrepreneurship Advancement Institute (LEAD) Institute acts as the catalyst to nurture entrepreneurial and leadership culture within MSU. Yusof notes its efforts nurture competencies heavily sought after by today’s employers. To provide inspiration, MSU graduates who are now successful entrepreneurs visit campus frequently. Currently, they run businesses in several economic sectors, such as logistics, F&B, medical, pharmacy, fashion, insurance, lifestyle, fashion, cosmetics, and education. Explore some of their stories here.
Evolving curricula based on emerging needs
As MSU’s Vice President for Academics and Dean of the School of Education and Social Sciences (SESS), Professor Dr. Norhisham Mohamad plays a crucial role in ensuring programmes here use the latest methodologies, technologies and approaches. The papers she teaches keep her at the forefront of these shifts: Pedagogy and Research Methods.
“Research shapes the mind, and through academic discussions with my students, I get to see which issues matter the most to them. Hence, right now, we’re focused on the SDGs,” she explains. “We’re also including more elements of project-based and community-based learning. Our faculty makes decisions based on what can truly enrich students’ learning process.”
Indeed, perspectives matter here, and the fact that MSU is home to various backgrounds, religions, cultures and languages makes it all the easier for faculty members to remain ahead of the curve. “One of the ways we keep conversations flowing is by encouraging our educators to learn a third language. We also host regular sessions for them on intercultural differences.”
Keen focus on liberal arts
Since interdisciplinary skills are increasingly valued, MSU and its students recognise the importance of a well-rounded undergraduate education. In the SESS, students have been gravitating toward creative multimedia, Teaching English as a second language, gamification, and a range of other liberal arts fields that are just as impactful as they are comprehensive.
“Plenty of our students are interested in mental health, so they pursue psychology, counselling, guidance, and sociology,” says Professor Dr. Mohamad. “We also have students interested in boosting their communication skills to share their passions with the world — they learn to do this by majoring in broadcasting, public relations or the social sciences. It’s safe to say a fair amount of younger students are considering starting their academic journey on a more traditional route.”
At the postgraduate level, Yusof has also been noticing rising interest in the foundational, versatile topics of management and economics. Of course, the ever-so-topical discipline of artificial intelligence has become incredibly popular, too.
A hub for soft skills
Beyond intellectual prowess, MSU believes each of its students must develop essential soft skills in their quests for personal and professional success. “We offer several courses on this,” says Professor Dr. Mohamad. “In fact, each graduate doesn’t just leave with a transcript, they leave with a soft skills qualification too – which is compulsory for everyone to achieve.”
Lessons span public speaking, leadership, communication, computer literacy, health management, and wealth management. The SDGs are covered as well, ensuring students can better their own lives while improving those of others. “Recently, our learners have boosted their employability by working with the indigenous communities, the Orang Asli and exploring the shores of Terengganu to ensure the coral reefs survive,” explains Yusof.
Learning beyond borders
MSU’s commitment to global education extends beyond geographical boundaries. “We learned that education cannot be solely delivered within a classroom, it has to go beyond that,” says Yusof. “Our Students and Career Development Department is entrusted to strategise and develop these activities and opportunities.”
Leveraging MSU’s network comprising over 40 partner universities, three mobility programmes are currently offered. The Global Mobility Programme sees students spending one or two semesters in a foreign academic environment to deepen their understanding of their chosen fields. The Global Leadership Programme encourages students to expand their cultural awareness by discovering new places, forging international friendships and engaging with global communities. Meanwhile, the Global Internship Programme enables students to work alongside global professionals through placements.
“It’s worth noting that our students involved in mobility activities do not just do so at our off-shore campuses in Bangalore, Jakarta and Colombo,” explains Yusof. “They go to Turkey, South Korea, Japan, China, and even as far as Europe, such as the UK and the Netherlands. In this post-pandemic era, it’s been great seeing such excursions gaining momentum once again.”