George Town, 6 July 2018 – Application of learnt material to real-world scenarios consolidates learning; this is a fact that UOW Malaysia KDU Penang University College readily recognises and incorporates into its education model. During the Business Proposal Challenge 2018 at the University College, groups of A-Level students from the Centre for Pre-University Studies (CPUS) competed against each other for the Best Proposal and Best Presentation awards.
The theme of this year’s Business Proposal Challenge took inspiration from the tourism boom recorded in Penang the previous year, which saw an increase in airport arrival rates and hotel occupancy rates. The participants in this competition were challenged to come up with creative ideas that could further boost the tourism industry in Penang with a caveat – how could one incorporate science and technology to increase the appeal of the natural and cultural attractions of Penang whilst reducing the environmental impacts of tourism?
Two teams bested the others with their carefully researched proposal and engaging presentation of their ideas to the panel of judges in this event. “It was a good and memorable experience. We learnt more about the requirements for writing a good business proposal, the importance of teamwork, and good communication skills,” said Ng Zhi Yen, one of the members of the winning team for the Best Presentation award.
Wong Zhen Qian, a member of the winning team for the Best Proposal award, felt that this hands-on approach helped him strengthen his knowledge in accounting, research skills, and problem solving, which will be helpful for his upcoming A-Level examination.
“I feel that the business proposal challenge has given me the opportunity to enhance my knowledge especially in the green tourism sector, and it has given me a chance to explore the existing green tourism that we have here in Penang. Besides that, I would like to thank the university college for their initiative and also the guidance given by the lecturers to our group. Overall, the business proposal challenge made me realise the importance of soft skills and the importance of analytical thinking,” said his team member, Ng Zhi Wei. “We are glad that we were given this platform to showcase our skills. Furthermore, we learnt about communication skills and some key presentation techniques that will benefit us in the near future.”
Through the Business Proposal Challenge 2018, the students were privileged with a head-start in their eventual foray into the working world, wherein seamless translation of knowledge acquired through the sterile environment of classrooms to the real world has to be made to satisfy the creative demands of the 21st century workplace. In drafting out their business proposals, these students successfully demonstrated their ability to integrate knowledge from across a number of seemingly unrelated disciplines. This allowed them to appreciate how “dry textbook knowledge” on economics, business, marketing, finance, law, and psychology could be applied directly to assess the viability of their proposed business projects and to uncover the complex interplay of factors behind the realities of commercial success.
Winners of the Best Presentation award also shared similar sentiments. “Through this challenge, I’ve experienced how difficult it is to operate a business,” said Ooi Wei Jie. “At first I was bored, but it quickly became interesting when we learnt about the kind of problems one will face when starting a business. I’ve learnt things that cannot be learnt in class, for example, how to do a forecast income statement, the considerations one must make when operating a business, and so on. I want to thank UOW Malaysia KDU Penang University College for this learning opportunity and the lecturers who helped us when we were stuck.”
His group member, Khairul Iman, concurred and added that, “this knowledge and experience we’ve gained will be applicable to the real world when we want to start our own business.”
We at UOW Malaysia KDU Penang University College firmly believe that hands-on approaches, good mentorship, and guided experimentation are keys to a fulfilling learning experience that is intimately intertwined with real-world needs. Students in the A-Level programme might still be contemplating which major to choose, but it’s never too early to start grooming them to hit the ground running.