October 1, 2014, by Deepa Kumari Veerasingam
Postgraduate Welcome Week 2014 – Day 1
The Postgraduate Welcome Week was held on 24 – 26 September 2014. It is an annual event organised by the Research Training and Academic Development (RTAD). The Postgraduate Welcome Week provided a series of varied and vibrant programmes and activities designed to welcome all new and returning postgraduate students to the University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus (UNMC). The event offered a formal introduction to the Graduate School and also a brief overview of the three faculties at UNMC as well as a series of social and educational activities, aimed to provide opportunities and platforms to meet and socialise with each other.
The Postgraduate Welcome Week 2014 kicked off with the first session of Introduction to the Graduate School, held at the new Postgraduate training room at H1 Building. Around 30 new and current students showed up for the introduction session and the students were introduced to the function of Graduate School as well as the people behind the Research Training and Academic Development. The Research Training Managers, Dr Tissa Chandesa and Dr Lee Jiin Woei, gave a brief tour of the Graduate School Researcher Development Programme’s and Postgraduate Student Teachers’ Moodle pages in order to introduce students to the trainings that are housed under both modules. As the students in attendance are new students, this session is meant to familiarise them with the basic know-how knowledge to navigate through the Moodle pages.
For the second session, we are honored to have the Vice Provost of Research and Knowledge Transfer, Professor Graham Kendall to give his opening remark to the students. One of the things he highlighted was that the researches done by the students are the driving factor to enhance the University’s reputation as they are the engines of the University. This opening remark has helped to build confidence in the students as they have a lot of worries and still a bit unsure of what is ahead of them. Dr Nashiru Billa seconded the statement by Prof Graham Kendall while addressing the constraints Postgraduates may face throughout their PhD journey. All students are bound to face some difficulties in their journey as a student, and knowing this issue well, Dr Billa encouraged the students to always find a time to attend any meeting, research talks or seminars in or off campus as through these platforms, students may get new ideas on how to solve their own problems that are related to their research.
Dr Seow Hsin Vonn shared her experience of facing difficulty to get reading materials for literature review section where she had to travel to London from University of Southampton to get her reading materials. She also highlighted the importance of having a breath of all aspects of their research area and understanding the basics are very crucial as it may help students to have a more structured research. As there is no guide in writing a thesis or how to do research, the thesis Postgraduates are working on are the guides of what is wrong or right. ‘Having a backup plan is important as it helps you to quickly resolve difficulties you may face’, said Dr Khiew Poi Sim. He emphasised on the importance of a novelty research as it helps to pave way for students to make their research to be worth of a PhD. Conducting a good research and coming out with a good thesis is pointless if it is not published. Dr Khiew strongly encourage Postgraduates to publish their work as it doesn’t only help them to build their own name, but also will help them in improvising their research in the future.
The annual Coffee and Cake Session with the Alumni & Donor Relations Office took place in the afternoon session of 24th September 2014. Taking a slightly different approach from last year, Amara and Shalini from ADRO explained further on the background of ADRO and highlighted on the numerous benefits of being an alumni such as a lifetime connection to the University through numerous events, talks and activities as well as Nottingham Advantage Advance Programme. ADRO invited two alumnus for a casual sharing session with the Postgraduates.
The first alumnus was Mr Wong Wei Soong who completed his Bachelor Degree in Finance, Accounting and Management. Wong is a co-founder of Infinity Abroad, a company that promotes and provides affordable platform for their participants to follow their passions to inspire, to empower, and to connect people in the global community, through practical work experience and extensive cultural immersion in foreign countries. Having admitted to being unable to express himself in English, Wong realised he had to do something about it so he took the challenge to do a dissertation on the topic of Corporate Social Responsibility, where he ventured further into not just developing his thesis but also upgrading his soft skills. Upon completing his studies, Wong ventured into different fields before he and his good friend, Favian, decided to set up Infinity Abroad, based on the experiences they have gained throughout the years.
The session was also joined by Mr Dinesh Dorai Raj, who completed his Master of Science and Bachelor of Engineering in Chemical Engineering in the University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus, is a Learning and Development Specialist of Leaderonomics. Dinesh was born as a healthy and active boy who enjoyed driving so much and was always on the go to look for fun things to do. Until one day, he met with a massive accident which caused him broken ribs, punctured lungs and above all a spinal injury which left him paraplegic. When he was told he will not walk again, he had a hard time coping with this fact. However, this made him even eager to challenge the prediction and he promised himself that he will walk again, by hook or by crook. He gave the credits to the University for shaping him with values such as being independent, optimistic and confident despite whatever life may throw at you. He believes that always being hopeful and always challenge himself to get out of the comfort zone are his main motto in life.Special thanks to all the speakers and we sincerely hope that the sessions held were beneficial to those who attended.