Learn, un­learn and re­learn

New Straits Times - - Higher Ed -

MAY­BANK

Group chief hu­man cap­i­tal of­fi­cer Nora Abd Manaf views grad­u­ates with an English Lan­guage and Lit­er­a­ture de­gree and other “soft de­grees” as equally im­por­tant as those with Sci­ence, Tech­nol­ogy, Engi­neer­ing and Math de­grees.

“It’s our be­lief that it’s im­por­tant to hire in­di­vid­u­als across all aca­demic back­grounds, as ev­ery aca­demic dis­ci­pline equips in­di­vid­u­als with valu­able knowl­edge, skillsets, tools and per­spec­tives,” she said.

Aca­demic qual­i­fi­ca­tions will help a tal­ent progress, said Nora, but it won’t get him or her far on its own. For a grad­u­ate to boost em­ploy­a­bil­ity, it is key to sup­ple­ment aca­demic ex­cel­lence with work ex­pe­ri­ence and per­sonal devel­op­ment skills. It is very im­por­tant that em­ploy­ers see the ar­eas — other than stud­ies — in which stu­dents have done well.

“My advice is dur­ing the se­mes­ter break, find op­por­tu­ni­ties to work, build pro­fes­sional net­works, par­tic­i­pate in vol­un­tary ac­tiv­i­ties, at­tend in­dus­try events and in­vest time to un­der­stand your per­sonal brand,” she added.

A de­gree in English Lan­guage and Lit­er­a­ture is both mar­ketable and rel­e­vant be­cause of the value that it brings to its hold­ers, cre­at­ing in­di­vid­u­als with a strong com­mand of the English lan­guage, with good com­mu­ni­ca­tion and writ­ing skills, as well as crit­i­cal think­ing, all of which are im­por­tant to suc­ceed in one’s ca­reer.

“There are many English ma­jors who go on to be­come highly suc­cess­ful peo­ple in busi­ness, the civil ser­vice and tech­nol­ogy sec­tor. For ex­am­ple, for­mer Avon CEO An­drea Jung is an English lit­er­a­ture ma­jor from Prince­ton Univer­sity. For­mer Walt Dis­ney Com­pany CEO Michael Eis­ner holds a BA in English Lit­er­a­ture and Theatre from Deni­son Univer­sity. He said, ‘Lit­er­a­ture is un­be­liev­ably help­ful, be­cause no mat­ter what busi­ness you are in, you are deal­ing with in­ter­per­sonal re­la­tion­ships. It gives you an ap­pre­ci­a­tion of what makes peo­ple tick.’.

“Find an in­ter­est and build com­pe­tence to work with oth­ers, and de­velop the abil­ity to in­spire and try new ideas. I also em­pha­sise the need to learn, un­learn and re­learn — never stop learn­ing! All of these cre­ate a foun­da­tion that will set you apart, mak­ing you a tal­ent who is ag­ile, cur­rent, rel­e­vant and ahead of the rest.”

Nestlé (Malaysia) Bhd hu­man re­sources ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor Shahzad Umar agrees with Nora.

“Nestlé hires high-per­form­ing tal­ent from all back­grounds who are a good fit. This in­cludes those with back­grounds in English Lan­guage and Lit­er­a­ture. Be­yond job-re­lated skills and qual­i­fi­ca­tions, we look for dy­namic multi-taskers who are pas­sion­ate about their work and thrive.”

Nora Abd Manaf

ShahzadU­mar

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