June 15, 2020, by Lisa Chin
What does the industry look for in PhD graduates?
Postgraduate Careers Series
Careers Advisory Service, in collaboration with InvestKL and us at the Graduate School, organised a second instalment of virtual Postgraduate Careers Series on Thursday 28 May 2020. This webinar featured an insightful and useful talk by Dr Rahmat Shazi who is the Technology Director at ShazInnovation Solution, focusing on Social Capital Analysis.
Read more about Dr Shazi’s profile
In the webinar, Dr Shazi delved into the burning question of what are the industry expectations for PhD graduates. Almost 40 of our postgraduate research students and staff tuned in to the webinar via Microsoft Teams.
Drawing on his substantial background in both technical and non-technical (social science) fields as well as extensive experience in both academia and industry, Dr Shazi talked about the Innovation Value Chain, which is what the industry really leverages on and what the high value added industries are looking for. He provided a brief, yet concise, explanation on the two phases and four stages of the innovation process.
Dr Shazi further demystified the elements and differences between high and low added industries in order to provide the audience with a better overview and understanding of why it is difficult to get jobs in certain industries. He also outlined the three main capabilities that the industry seeks from PhD graduates. “High cognitive understanding of complex processes, in layman’s term, it is technical skills, and undoubtedly, a PhD graduate would have those skills. However, the second bit – challenging the status quo through creativity management, is a huge problem among the postgraduate students that I had interviewed over the years. And finally, high level decision making and accountability, is something postgraduate students also struggle with,” said Dr Shazi. He later outlined the key attributes that postgraduate students should possess in order to show and convince the industry of your trustworthiness, trust behaviour and risk-taking behaviour.
“When you go into the industry, it is all context-driven,” said Dr Shazi. And this is where critical thinking comes in. “As a PhD graduate, you are expected to be able to look at the problem and come out with problem statements. You need to demonstrate the ability to group those particular problem statements and further categorise them,” explained Dr Shazi. He highlighted that many researchers struggle to get industry buy-in as the linguistic domain is different. Apart from innovation buy-in skill dimensions, Dr Shazi also talked about communication chemistry which is a skillset that serves as a solution to the challenge in communicating clearly and effectively.
The second half of the webinar was set aside for a Q&A session. In addition to the questions submitted in advance, Dr Shazi also addressed the questions posted in real-time through interactive live chat platform in Microsoft Teams and Q&A polling channel called Slido.
One of the attendees wrote, “Thank you, Dr Rahmat and the organisers, for hosting this webinar session. It was a great session and I hope to follow your sessions in the future.” Many of the attendees left some very encouraging and positive messages as a show of appreciation to the insightful and useful information and guidance provided in the webinar.
“We are glad that you enjoyed the session and learnt from it. Do let us know if you would like us to organise any career related webinars. You can also find a copy of this webinar recording in our SharePoint,” wrote Ms Alicia Ch’ng, Head of Careers Advisory Service (CAS). You can get in touch with CAS by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Special thanks and acknowledgements: Dr Rahmat Shazi, guest speaker; Mr Riyadh Dahalan and Ms Yogeswaree Supramaniam from the Investors & Ecosystem Management at InvestKL.
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