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Mastering thinking skills

WHILE the eurozone governments are trying to tackle the debt crisis, the HELP Graduate School (HGS) students in Malaysia are studying the world issue very closely as a case study.


Students at HGS are expected to be reasonably well-versed in international affairs be it the possible financial contagion within the EU from Greek sovereign debt or the iPad copyright battle in China. They must also be able to articulate their thoughts in assignments as well.

This, says dean Dr Yap Kim Len, is all part and parcel of pursuing postgraduate programmes at the 26-year-old HELP University.

The HGS is serious when it comes to transforming their students’ mindsets and developing winning behaviour for the 21st century, as stated in their postgraduate e-brochure.

Postgraduate students will not be confined to just textbook knowledge. When they join HELP Graduate School, they can expect fierce debates and stimulating discussions over current world and local affairs in and outside the class. —DR YAP KIM LEN

“Postgraduate students will not be confined to just textbook knowledge. When they join HELP Graduate School, they can expect fierce debates and stimulating discussions over current world and local affairs in and outside the class,” says Dr Yap, a Chartered Accountant of the Malaysian Institute of Accountants and Fellow of CPA Australia.

Citing his postgraduate experience in Canada and Australia as the driving force to setting up HGS, HELP University president Datuk Dr Paul Chan says a graduate school is a critical component of a university.

Graduate programmes should produce leaders who “dare to think and dare to question”, he says.

“A graduate programme is not about passing exams. A graduate school should also be a platform for executive development education,” he says.

Recalling his time of learning with great scholars and peer groups while studying overseas, Dr Chan says it has helped to transform him.

“It helps me to dare to think and question. I am very well grounded in research methodology and philosophy of scientific thinking,” he says.

With Dr Yap’s extensive academic and professional experience, Dr Chan has teamed up with her to lead and expand the HGS.

According to the HGS, the HELP MBA has earned international recognition from reputable European and Australian business schools, including the ESSCA Graduate School of Management in France and HHL-Leipzig Graduate School of Management in Germany.

“Students choose us because of our teaching pedagogy. Our programmes are embedded with various case studies and real-life scenarios,” says Dr Yap.

Postgraduate students, in fact, should keep abreast of the latest developments by regularly reading newspapers and watching current affairs programmes.

The class discussions, she says, would serve as a platform for her students to voice their views and opinions.

“Sometimes when I enter the class, I will ask my students ‘Hey, did you watch the special interview aired on CNN last night?’ to get the class started,” she says.

To keep students interested in their studies, she says it is important to design a curriculum that is relevant to them.

“We do not follow the textbook strictly because what is even more important is the application of knowledge. We incorporate current affairs as case studies in our curriculum so that it is up-to-date and allows our students to discuss and analyse the issues in highly interactive sessions in class,” she says.

“When we have open discussions, we are not looking for right or wrong answers. I told my students that they must have the courage to voice their opinions,” she adds.

Among the attributes that HGS students develop in the course of their programmes are analytical and creative thinking skills, resourcefulness and leadership. Dr Yap says their programmes have received positive response from those in the industry.

“The Master of Business Administration, Master of Accounting & Finance and Doctor of Business Administration have earned recognition from the employers,” she says. HELP has long been known as an institution that has one of the largest alumni of successful individuals in the corporate world in Malaysia and in the region, with many of them in senior management positions.

At HGS, Dr Yap says her Master of Accounting & Finance graduates are highly sought after by the Big Four. Some of the companies would even come to the campus and meet the students and offer them internships and jobs. HGS’s future plan is to introduce PhD and MBA by research programmes.

HELP University is a contributor to the Star Education Fund.



By TAN EE LOO educate@thestar.com.my


Source: The STAR Home Education Sunday, February 26, 2012
Tags: education, skills, thinking
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