Elevating Education – The MSU Success Story

by | Jan 23, 2024 | Covers Stories | 0 comments

Yang Berbahagia Prof Tan Sri Dato’ Wira Dr Mohd Shukri Ab Yajid combines his passion for education and community work to offer hope for the young generation to survive within the current climate of global industry demand. He does this through his work as the mastermind behind one of the most respected private educational institutions in Malaysia, the Management and Science University (MSU). In an interview with Top 10 of Asia, he shares his views on the current educational climate as well as gives some insight into the man himself. 

Knowledge is power and education is the only pathway leading to it. Management and Science University (MSU) sets its focus on nothing but education in preparation for its scholars to venture into the world and create changes for a better future. The President and founder of MSU, Yang Berbahagia Prof Tan Sri Dato’ Wira Dr Mohd Shukri Ab Yajid has built a purpose-driven institution with the aim to provide equal opportunity for education to everyone in various fields. His unending dedication towards his lifelong mission has placed MSU among the greats winning awards such as Malaysia’s Best University (TVET Education) and being ranked within 100 of the best young universities in the world. When it comes to education, Tan Sri Shukri is always thinking on the larger scale of global competitiveness and relevance. 

Tan Sri Shukri’s life has always revolved around education and community work even back then as a local student and then abroad in the United Kingdom. His involvement in various community works struck a chord with him to realise a vision of creating his own higher learning institution that would provide quality education to as many people as possible. That particular intention from more than three decades ago has led to the establishment of MSU as the respected organisation that it is today.

“I think education is the best mobility factor and equaliser for many. When I was young, I could see how difficult it was for people to gain access to higher education. I wanted to build a purpose driven organisation and institute of higher learning that gives equal access to everyone, even for those who were told they will never make it and excel. We will guide them to develop their talent and later on create changes for themselves, their family, their community and the nation as a whole. This is true to our tagline- Transforming Lives, Enriching Future. That is our hope and vision,” explains Tan Sri Shukri.

Tan Sri Shukri’s success in his chosen industry – education – is deeply rooted in his good intentions and focus on making sure that MSU is always ahead of the trend and progressing towards the future. “We would like to enhance ourselves, particularly within the talent capabilities. We would like to continuously nurture talents to serve the different segments of the market and to make sure that MSU becomes a comprehensive university. We are also working on our international strategy. Currently, we have offshore campuses in Bangalore, Colombo, and Jakarta. We also have a presence in China right now. We want to set up more offshore campuses and increase the number of international students on our campus here. 

“Currently, we have students coming in from 65 countries which is a number that we hope to increase to at least 100 in the coming years. Aside from that, we are working to enhance our skill-based TVET programmes to meet the demands of the industries. By doing this, we hope that everyone will get equal opportunity. The focus is not solely on academics anymore but for the development of the sector as well. It is our way to develop and contribute to our industry partners. Currently, we have more than 2,000 companies that are attached to our university ecosystem and they are tied up to our programs as well,” he continues. 

The COVID-19 pandemic hit MSU just as hard as it had hit any other establishment. Making it to the other side and using the ordeal as an opportunity to grow and transform, Tan Sri Shukri believes that the biggest challenge for the university is always in sourcing talents and expertise. With the introduction of emerging technology such as fintech and blockchain to its curriculum, MSU has to go through the hurdles of finding the experts and talents to consult and guide throughout the development stages. Over the years, MSU has always managed to pull through despite these challenges, with the collaborative leadership style of Tan Sri Shukri. 

Tan Sri Shukri is the one who sets the strategic direction of the university and sets its priorities in nurturing and developing talents. The strategic direction ensures that the university is heading towards the right path. Tan Sri Shukri is a coach and mentor for many. In fact, he is still teaching PhD classes at MSU, a vocation that comes naturally to him. 

“Here at MSU, our values are different from those of others. We are not just looking to produce graduates but to launch holistic and balanced well-rounded individuals into the world. Having that as our goal, ultimately everything that we do has to go beyond the classroom. We are talking about producing professionals in all different areas yet have the same communication skills and leadership abilities ingrained along with the sustainable development goals, love towards the environment, and most importantly, entrepreneurial in their perspective”.

The TVET Award given to MSU serves as a recognition by the industry and a reflection of its commitment to remain an industry-embedded university. At MSU, the students’ skill base is built to meet the requirements of each respective industry. Tan Sri Shukri works very closely with the industry through his involvement with the Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM), a very fruitful collaboration. 

“Our policy is to offer 50% academic programme and 50% skills-based TVET programmes at MSU. We are talking about high-end programmes with great potential and profitability. Fashion programmes for instance, we are looking at it from the supply chain point of view that is relevant with the current economy today. I believe that TVET skills can be a great support to the SMEs which will be the engine of growth for our country. Support towards SMEs should be seen as support for the economic growth of our country. I think that is why the collaboration between all matching industries is very important,” says Tan Sri Shukri.

When it comes to balancing his professional and personal life, Tan Sri Shukri has his own different take. He believes that both his work life and personal life are intertwined. He has managed to combine both aspects of his life seamlessly and is enjoying every moment of it. MSU will always be one aspect of his life that he is most proud of. Along with his team, he is currently working on enhancing the university’s TVET capabilities and internationalisation in an effort to bring the Malaysian education brand to the world.

“I would be really proud if we can bring our brand of Malaysian international university to the world. MSU aims to go global and let the world know that Malaysia has a very good education system and high-quality university that we can be proud of. We are currently top 300 in the world in terms of employability. I think that really gives me the motivation to push forward and aspire me to carry the brand worldwide proudly and successfully as a Malaysian.”