Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Career Discovery

"Kereta Besar + Bini Lawa != Doktor Kerajaan"

Kalau batch sendiri, tanya banyak2 sampai dia kantoi

Qays as a chartered accountant

Aniep as a pathologist

Starting from 2006, we have worked very closely with the counsellors to devise a one-year program that each batch has to go through, in order to prepare them for what is waiting outside the gates of MCKK i.e. scholarship, higher education and ultimately their career choice.

It all started out rather naively when some of us were involved in scholarship selection and realised that the selection process and requirements have become so competitive that unless our boys are fully equipped, they will lose some advantages despite being in Malay College in the first place.

In 2006, we had to cover all aspects – career discovery, connectivity between career, interest, subjects and scholarships and interview/writing techniques for scholarship – in half a day; so everything was on “touch and go” basis. This year we are quite lucky as we have locked the date and finalised the program much earlier.

The first part of the one year program gives more emphasis on career discovery – to make sure our boys are at least aware of what each profession is all about from a variety of angles e.g. rewards, qualifications, special traits required, prominence, career path etc.

I was particularly concerned the last time around when I noticed that the number of students who opted for engineering and medicine was too overwhelming, at the expense of the “arts”-based professions such as lawyers, accountants, economists etc. Later on we found out that in most cases, our boys are not aware of the opportunities and challenges of these professions, hence why they overwhelmingly opted for the engineering courses which they are more familiar with.

The whole program was conducted on a workshop basis where they would “discover” the career themselves (with the help of many tools provided to them) and explain to their batchmates themselves. They would have to take questions from the floor that eventually pushed them to try to find out as much as possible about a particular career, since college boys by nature like to poke fun at their batchmates in public! There was also a “reflection”/ “fast-forward” module with role play and acting.

Crowd control was slightly more difficult this year as we had to manage 2 batches (Form 4 and Form 5) at one go; however I had no option but to proceed since I needed the F4 to go through the modules so as to allow them ample time to remedy their subject deficiencies e.g. for those wanting to do art courses but without art subjects. I hope we can see the return of arts classes to MCKK especially the crucial ones like PA and Economics, because we need to continue producing lawyers, economists, accountants, historians and many others; on top of the usual engineers and doctors.

Anyway I have mixed feelings as to the success of the whole program because it’s very difficult to tell whether the boys really did benefit or not – but at least I was satisfied that they could stand up, explain to the audience in English and confidently took questions from the floor. Their understanding of each profession did not differ much from reality anyway.

The next workshop is in September and is specifically designed to expose our boys to all sorts of scholarship selection processes adopted by various sponsors and equip them with interview techniques through the mock interview modules.

There were 60 scholarship receivers from Class of 2005, we should know the statistics for Class of 2006 by June this year. Hopefully we will see a steady increase as we go along.


On behalf of the team (old boys and teachers), we would like to thank the following old boys who contributed to the Career Discovery pack distributed to the boys; sharing their experiences and journeys so far pursuing their careers:

Dr Azraai Bahari Nasaruddin (Class of 92) – Specialist Registrar in Diabetes and Endocrinology, London (Medicine)

Dr Izwan Effendy Ismail (Class of 96) – Medical Officer, Pejabat Kesihatan Daerah Tampin (Medicine)

Khairul Anuar Khalid (Class of 92) – Senior Manager, Group Legal Department, Ranhill Berhad (Lawyer)

Dr Azlan Abdul Majid (Class of 94) – PETRONAS (Reservoir Engineer)

Shazrul Azwa Asari (Class of 97) – Shell Trading, London (IT/Risk Analyst)

Fadli Riza Ramli (Class of 94) – Audit Manager, General Electric Inc (GE), London/Connecticut (Chartered Accountant)

Ahmad Nizam Mohamad Jembari (Class of 94) – Technology Development Engineer, Grand Haven Stamped Products Inc., Michigan (Mechanical Engineer)

Mior Imran Mior Musa (Class of 94) – Project Engineer, Caltex Refineries, Sydney (Mechanical Engineer)

Khairul Annuar Khairi (Class of 92) – Associate, CAV Private Equity (Private equity/venture capital)

This is Azraai’s sharing on his own journey as a doctor which I hope will inspire as well as bring some sense of reality to the boys:

"I came to the UK in 1993 under the JPA British Top University Programme to study medicine. I was fortunate to have received a scholarship which did not include a bond, which meant that I was free to pursue further training in the UK after obtaining my medical degree. I spent three and a half years working as a junior doctor, and in that time passed the MRCP membership exam, which allowed me to apply for a specialist training rotation. I decided to specialise in diabetes and endocrinology and am currently halfway through my training. The specialist training takes five years, after which I plan to return home. In my spare time, I am currently doing a Masters degree in Health Informatics, which involves the application of Information Technology in medicine, which is one of my special interests.

As a medical registrar I have a number of different responsibilities. I have to divide my attention to inpatients (patients under my care on the ward), outpatients (patients who attend my clinics), administrative work (paperwork, looking at test results, responding to letters from various people), education and training (attending courses, teaching juniors, reading medical journals, assessing my juniors, and being assessed by my consultant!) as well as research activity. (doing audits, writing papers, and helping with research projects)

Currently I help look after a ward with 30 patients with all sorts of medical problems. I work as part of a team, not only of doctors, but also physiotherapists, nurses, dietitians, specialist nurses, social workers, occupational therapists, speech therapists, pharmacists, etc. The list is quite long. Teamworking, leadership and communication skills are therefore very important! As a registrar, I do about 3-4 clinics per week. I see up to 12 patients in each clinic, spending about 15 minutes with each patient. I do various clinics – diabetes, thyroid, pituitary, growth, general medical clinics and more. I am on-call once a week. We do shift-based on-calls in the UK – 13 hour shifts instead of working 24 hours. On-calls can be tiring, especially when you do a week of night shifts. This is when you deal with emergencies and really sick people, and it is very satisfying when your patients get better, but can be draining and depressing when they don’t. Emotional rollercoaster!!

Endocrinology is a specialty that deals with problems with the endocrine system. Essentially the endocrine system is made up of various glands such as the adrenals, thyroid, pituitary, ovaries, pancreas, etc. that secrete hormones that regulate bodily functions. Disorders of the system can lead to all sorts of symptoms, and it is a fascinating subject to study.

Medicine has a very wide range of career options, with very different lifestyles. From intensive care medicine to old age medicine, from performing emergency surgery as a trauma surgeon, to looking down microscopes as a pathologist. You need to spend time talking to doctors in various specialties to get an idea of what the job involves but remember that medicine as a profession is undergoing rapid change. From the time you leave school, till you become a medical consultant takes on average 15 years. Medical careers 15 years from now will be very different to what it is today. Try to imagine what you would like your life to be like 20 years from now and what you would like to be doing daily."

1 comment: