Opportunities across borders
UNIVERSITY of Southampton Malaysia Campus ( USMC) graduate Jeremy Fong gave an inspirational talk to parents and students during the university’s Open Day.
Just a few months before graduation, Fong secured a graduate job opportunity with Rolls- Royce, a leading aero- engine manufacturing company.
It was not an easy feat as he had to undergo a battery of tests and interviews before he was picked as Rolls- Royce’s new controls engineer at its Birmingham office in the United Kingdom.
Fong, who earned a MEng in Engineering Aerospace from USMC, shared how a disappointing situation can become a positive experience and how he was just like any other student before attending university.
“Initially, I applied to Nanyang Technological University after finishing my A- Levels, but sadly, I was rejected. I’m not going to lie, Southampton was my second choice of university but it was one of the best decisions I ever made,’’ said Fong.
As he reflected on his academic experience at Southampton, some themes became apparent – taking responsibility for your own learning and development, building good relationships with teaching staff and friends, and learning to manage time and setting priorities.
“My first year in university was an adjustment period. I realised that university is not school. There would be no more spoon- feeding of knowledge.’’
Fong then started taking responsibility for his own learning – studying materials beyond the formal curriculum as well as developing an independent criticism of the material and content.
“Academics cannot make students do these things. At best, they can provide the knowledge base to stimulate students’ critical thinking, inspire intellectual risk taking, and encourage independent research. However, ultimately, the effort, motivation and interest come from students themselves.’’
After his first year with USMC, his hard work paid off when he became a consistent recipient of the prestigious Lloyd’s Register Foundation scholarship for being the top three in his cohort. The scholarship also covered his tuition fees for the coming years.
In his third year, Fong and his batch mates transitioned to the UK campus.
“I was pretty scared of making new friends and did not know how to fit in but my time abroad was the best experience of my life.’’
He likened his final year to a marathon that was riddled with deadlines and among them was his thesis. Fortunately, his supervisors were always there to help him.
“I couldn’t think of any better supervisors to have – Prof Phil Joseph and Dr Michael Kingan were always there to help me even when that meant having Skype calls after office hours,’’ he said.
The University of Southampton Malaysia Campus, an international branch campus of the University of Southampton, is located in Educity, Johor. Established in 2012, the Malaysia Campus offers worldclass engineering programmes.
Offering a unique student experience, the university enables students to spend their first two years in Malaysia and the final two years at a research- centred university in the UK.
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