More than just read­ing books

New Straits Times - - Higher Ed - Prac­ti­tioner


David Tneh Cheng Eng, who grad­u­ated with a PhD in English from the Univer­sity of Malaya (UM) in 2015, be­lieves that with the ad­vent of the dig­i­tal age and the fields of dig­i­tal me­dia and pub­lish­ing that re­quire cre­ative con­tent, there is a place for English Lit­er­a­ture grad­u­ates in the job mar­ket.

“English Lit­er­a­ture grad­u­ates, be­ing lan­guage, com­mu­ni­ca­tion and writ­ing spe­cial­ists, have skillsets that are al­ways in de­mand in the dig­i­tal/cre­ative econ­omy realm,” said the as­sis­tant pro­fes­sor who is dean of the Fac­ulty of Cre­ative In­dus­tries at Univer­siti Tuanku Ab­dul Rah­man.

Tneh said he has al­ways been fas­ci­nated with lit­er­ary stud­ies as a dis­ci­pline.

“I am very in­quis­i­tive about the form and func­tion of the English lan­guage that go be­yond its lin­guis­tic perime­ters. The study of English Lit­er­a­ture not only gave me an in­ti­mate un­der­stand­ing of the lan­guage and aes­thet­ics of writ­ing, but also a global out­look.

“It is a mul­ti­dis­ci­plinary de­gree that of­fers a kalei­do­scope of per­spec­tives and one has the chance to un­der­stand the com­plex­i­ties of hu­man emo­tions, so­ci­etal dis­courses, transna­tional is­sues, world phi­los­o­phy and his­tory, and in­ter­na­tional pol­i­tics, for ex­am­ple.”

To those keen on pur­su­ing an English Lit­er­a­ture de­gree, Tneh said: “Do not hes­i­tate.

“You’ll learn a lot and re­ceive a global ed­u­ca­tion. It will change the way you speak, write, feel and think. Your mind will be sharp­ened in­tel­lec­tu­ally and the trans­for­ma­tive ben­e­fits are price­less. Be pre­pared though, there’s a lot of hard work as it is more than just read­ing books.”

For cor­po­ra­tion com­mu­ni­ca­tions Muham­mad Khaid­hir Naaim, who grad­u­ated from Univer­siti Ke­bangsaan Malaysia with a BA Lit­er­a­ture in English Stud­ies de­gree, English Lit­er­a­ture was a fall­back af­ter not mak­ing the marks as an engi­neer­ing stu­dent.

“The big­gest ad­van­tage of study­ing Lit­er­a­ture is be­ing able to think crit­i­cally. In ad­di­tion to the com­mu­ni­ca­tion and hu­man­ity the­o­ries, and his­tory and lit­er­a­ture com­po­nents, crit­i­cal think­ing gained from lit­er­ary stud­ies al­lows stu­dents to over­come chal­lenges at work. Deal­ing with cus­tomers, work­ing with hu­man re­sources to keep re­ten­tion rate high and even sales and mar­ket­ing re­quire crit­i­cal think­ing,” he said.

Muham­mad Khaid­hir, who works at an information tech­nol­ogy and ser­vices com­pany, clinched his first job in the com­mu­ni­ca­tions sec­tor right af­ter his fi­nal se­mes­ter. A little read­ing up helped him to un­der­stand the in­dus­try bet­ter. His lec­turer then rec­om­mended him for a job at one of the Busi­ness Process Out­sourc­ing com­pa­nies in the coun­try.

“I was hired im­me­di­ately. I was cho­sen mainly be­cause of my at­ti­tude and my hunger for work. Two years af­ter that, I was rec­om­mended to my cur­rent com­pany.

“I’m al­most in my third year with my cur­rent com­pany. I was given a chance to ad­vance in ei­ther sales and mar­ket­ing or project and plan­ning. There’s still a long way to go but I’m ex­cited to con­trib­ute to the com­pany. Be­sides, there’s no harm try­ing, right?”

Muham­mad Khaid­hir said job prospects for lin­guis­tics grad­u­ates are vast as com­pa­nies look for grad­u­ates who have the pas­sion to learn and the will­ing­ness to grow.

Muham­mad Khaid­hir Naaim

David Tneh Cheng Eng

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