Category Archives: Biz Buzz
As graduation year approaches, engineering students will be looking forward to settling into an engineering career that will pay off for all those years of notoriously difficult learning and study.
If you’re a budding engineer, you’ll be happy to know that there is still a huge demand for engineers in Malaysia, with the National Council for Scientific Research and Development estimating that the country will need almost half a million scientists and engineers by 2020.
As you prepare to apply for engineering jobs, pay attention to these tips to help you get your dream career.
- Make sure you get industrial training
Most degrees will incorporate industrial training or engineering placement as this is a requirement for accreditation under the Engineering Accreditation Council (EAC)Malaysia. Don’t panic if yours doesn’t, as you can still find one on your own.
The starting point should be your university’s career centre. From there, you can locate placement officers and other industry contacts whom you could speak to regarding placement or training. In general, these trainings can be as short as a month but can last up to three months.
The most valuable aspect of industrial training is the experience. If you impress at training, you might even get offered a permanent job.
- Join engineering competitions
Competitions are a great way to show off your talent and certified skills while getting exposure in the industry. There are several well-established engineering competitions in Malaysia that have produced some ground-breaking creations.
The largest is the Innovate Malaysia Design Competition, although others such as the Clash of Robots by Malaysia Robotics Engineering Association (if you’re in robotics) and AngelHack (if you’re a computer science engineer) are gaining popularity. Your own engineering campus is likely to hold campus-level competitions as well.
You don’t even have to win to benefit as participation gives you hands-on building or creating experience, while expanding your network when you communicate with industry leaders on competition day.
- Build up a portfolio to complement your first CV
Whichever branch of engineering you’re graduating from (be it mechanical, chemical, civil or electrical), do make sure you start building a brief portfolio of your design or manufacture work as you study.
Even simple projects from your first year or an impressive final-year project could make you stand out from competing candidates when you finally graduate and start applying for jobs.
Don’t overkill with too many details. A simple one-pager or even a visual presentation of your design work is a good way to demonstrate your potential and capabilities as an engineer.
- Consider registering yourself
According to the Malaysian Board of Engineers, there are just over 90,000 graduate engineers registered with them. Consultancy firm Eduspiral estimates that only half of employed engineers in Malaysia are registered.
While registration does not necessarily make you a better engineer, it does demonstrate your willingness to commit yourself to a long-term career in engineering and this can appeal to future employers.
At the end of the day, personal determination and hard work will be the main factors for success in getting employed. But with the current dearth of engineers in Malaysia, engineering graduates are among those with the best starting chance.
A lot of entrepreneurs are still not sold on the idea that social media can be beneficial in the workplace. Many harbor the mistaken assumption that social sites like Facebook are distractions that curtail productivity. Some businesses even go as far as banning social sites in their offices. However, there’s growing evidence that encouraging workers to be more active in social media can actually help them to accomplish more tasks.
An academic study conducted by Joe Nandhakumar of the Warwick Business School in the United Kingdom came to the conclusion that social media is a productivity-booster, not a productivity-killer. For two years, Nandhakumar and his research team recorded and studied the social media policies of a large European telecommunications company. Said company encouraged its employees to be more active on sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Skype. The team found out that the policy significantly increased office productivity and improved customer interaction.
1) It’s a great marketing tool. As an entrepreneur, it’s advisable to encourage your employees to use social media. However, you need to create boundaries. You have to write a policy which states that social sites can only be used within the bounds of the business. The sites should only be used for customer interaction, office communications, and product/service promotion. Encouraging your employees to talk about your products and services on social media is referred to as social selling. It’s a very effective branding and marketing technique.
2) It promotes collaboration among your employees. When workers learn to accomplish tasks and projects as a team, their productivity rates will go up. It’s also a lot easier for employees to communicate using social sites. Sending someone a quick message on Facebook is easier compared to writing an email. This ability to instantly share information with workmates inspires collaboration.
3) It improves customer service. Most of your customers are probably active on social sites. If they have questions, complaints, or comments about your products and services, they are more likely to engage you on social media than on traditional customer service portals like email and phones. If your employees are active on social sites, they will do a better job of answering questions by customers.
4) It provides light relief. Social media can be a source of relief for your employees who are in need of a break. Even if the interactions are still work-related, they can help employees in dealing with stress.
In a nutshell, it’s time to rethink the role of social media in the workplace. Instead of restricting your employees in using Facebook, you need to consider encouraging them. As an entrepreneur, it’s time to learn how to engage employees through their social accounts. Social media is growing at a very rapid pace and you should take advantage of it. Use it as a tool to promote collaboration among your employees, to improve your customer service, and to provide a source of relief for your stressed-out workers.
There are many ways to make your money work for you. There’s the stock market as well as different kinds of investments. Plus, there are several financial products offered by banks. However, most of them are accompanied by various levels of risk. Fixed deposit accounts are considered the odd-one-out among this lot. Being halfway between a money-earning instrument and an ordinary bank account, fixed deposit accounts are best meant for those just starting out in the world of investment.
In a fixed deposit account, you have to keep your money in the bank for a fixed amount of time. The bank lets you earn higher interest rates for fixed deposits than for regular deposits. Here are a few tips to help you take advantage of the account’s unique features.
- Mind the investment period. Most banks usually offer fixed deposit periods of anywhere from a month to 5 years. Remember that until this period ends, you will only be able to withdraw your money if you are willing to lose the interest rates. This is the main difference between fixed deposits and regular bank accounts.
This is also the main point of misunderstanding when it comes to fixed deposit accounts. Contrary to popular belief, your money is not frozen. These accounts are actually very liquid. Instead, you will lose the whole point of the investment if you withdraw early (i.e., you lose the interest). Hence, it is important to ensure you will not be needing the amount you will be committing to the fixed deposit.
- Mind the interest rates. Generally, you will earn a higher interest rate the longer you keep your money in the bank. This is a fixed rate, and will not change regardless of how the market goes. This is its main advantage over other investment platforms. In the same way, a higher principal means a larger amount of earnings based on the interest rates.
However, different banks have different rates. There are some Malaysian banks that offer anywhere from 2.6% to 3% and above interest depending on the length of time the money remains with them. It is important to compare the rates of different banks depending on your chosen investment period, to determine which works best for you.
- Mind the fees. Like in every banking instrument, fixed deposits are not exempt from various fees. These are the ones that eat into the final earnings. There are monthly maintenance fees, taxes, ledger fees, and much more. In case you run into a financial emergency, it is also important to know the fees for closing your account before maturity. All these should be taken into account when comparing various tools.
Fixed deposits are among the safest money-making instruments due to their stable interest rates. As a plus, they can also be pledged as a loan security for some banks. The main disadvantage here is the relative inflexibility of the deposit. You have to keep it until it matures, lest you lose the interest. Also you cannot add into it when you wish, like a regular bank account.
Fixed deposits are also among the most overlooked of all money-making instruments. But by understanding its ins and outs, you can make it work as a valuable, low-interest part of your investment portfolio.
There are many people who are interested in starting a business online. Over the long term, this is a great way to increase your income and affect your customers. Online companies have a lot in common with regular businesses. However, there are also a lot of things that are different about the entire process. Anyone who is looking for advice on starting an online business can find it in a variety of places. Here are some of the most important tips for anyone who is looking to start a company online.
Know Your Market
It is vital to understand the industry you are going in to. There are a lot of people who do not truly get all of the aspects of their industry. When starting a business online, it is vital to hit the ground running with your clients. Anyone who wants to make an impact with an online business needs to make sure they are meeting the needs of clients. Over the long term, the companies that can engage with customers are the ones who will earn the highest profits.
Developing office space is important even if you have a company that is based online. Finding an office for rent can be difficult in many areas of the country. However, many business find that this is a great way to engage workers with one another. As part of the company registration in Malaysia, it is vital to give a physical address of where you will be working. Having the right amount of office space is critical to long term success.
A financial plan is essential if you are going to have a lot of success in business. There are a lot of company owners who do not understand the financial side of the business like they should. Over the long term, company owners who have a firm grasp of their finances will have more success than those who do not. As a company owner, it is your responsibility to take the time to understand the various aspects of your business. Learning how to relate this back to your company is an issue that many people have. Even online companies have bills to pay in order to stay open. Understanding your finances is essential if you are going to have long term growth.
There are a lot of people who are thinking about starting an online business. Over the long term, an online business has a lot of advantages to those that have physical locations. There are many people who do not know how to start a company online. The good news is that there are a variety of sites that can walk you through the process. Always make sure that you rent office space every now and then to get employees and customers together. This can go a long way in making you company stand out from other online business sources in your area.
An experience I had today with a final year university student made me sit up and wonder what is wrong with our education system.
And I am not talking of Government institutions either. The soon-to-graduate young man studies at a premier private university in Kuala Lumpur that runs Australian and American twinning programmes.
It was at the British Council library that this incident played out. The young man was trying to check if a particular book was available when he just could not articulate himself well. He was struggling just to get his message across to the librarian.
At that point, however, I was rather unsuspecting as I thought he was a foreign student from China. So, as any friendly Malaysian, I just butted in and asked him if I could help? He spoke to me in pretty decent Bahasa Malaysia and only then did I realise he was Malaysian after all.
Though I am originally Singaporean, my wife is Malaysian and a product of the local school system. And yet, she speaks flawless English. So what happened in the intervening years? How did Malaysians come to this level of having such poor command of English?
See also: Vinod Sekhar
Now before anyone starts bashing me in our sometimes ridiculous Singpore versus Malaysia quarrel and claim I am just another Singaporean taking a dig at Malaysians, please hold your tongue and understand that I have called Malaysia my home for the past 11 years. So I am really more Malaysian than Singaporean.
Anyway, it is somewhat distressing to learn that my young friend who will graduate at the end of this year and studies all in the English Language says he also spent the last one year in Australia, and will return soon to continue another year at his university, where he studies for a degree in Business.
Related Stories: Datuk Vinod Sekhar
Fact is, how is he studying in English, writing his examinations in English, but not able to articulate himself verbally in English? I am still in disbelief, but this is the situation. And he has spent the past year in Australia too? That takes the cake! Was he speaking Bahasa Malaysia to the Aussies or just mixing around with other Malaysians and not using English at all?
Whatever the reasons for his poor English, one thing is certain – our undergraduates had better realise that if they can’t articulate themselves in the English Language, they will never have any place as part of a global workforce.
English, after all, is still the global language of commerce. Isn’t it?
Business security systems are designed to prevent and protect businesses from theft, trespassing, and other criminal activities. There are many types of security systems including video cameras and motion sensors among others. The type of security system to install in a business premise is determined by many factors. The most important factor is the type of business. Some businesses require special types of security systems. For example, retail outlets require cash drop safes inaccessible to staff. Businesses that deal with valuable properties, such as jewelry, should invest in alarm monitoring systems and reinforced entry points.
Basic Business Security Systems
Most businesses require simple, after-hours access control security systems such as motion detectors and attendance tracking system. These security systems are designed to ensure only authorized persons are allowed into business premises when staff is not present. Most of these security systems come with password panels and motion detection hardware. Advanced access control systems can be linked to remote monitoring sensors to alert private or police response teams to the business in case of a security breach.
Business Security procedural Systems
Training management and staff on business security procedural systems is an effective means of protecting employees and business assets. This type of training covers a wide range of issues from proper use of fire decam and cash drop safes to use of silent alarm systems, like those found in banks and casinos. Other issues covered in business security procedural training include lessons on how to prevent people from tailgating through security checkpoints without being reported or challenged by building security.
Businesses should have security procedures that protect employees against crime. Such procedures include providing after-hours escort for staff going to their vehicles in the business building parking. This will prevent after-hours violent crimes, especially against women and the handicapped. These escorts can be facilitated by building security personnel or mobile patrol units.
Supermarkets and building supply stores should consider having pneumatic canister-based cash safes. This type of safe allows staff to make cash drops without leaving their tills, and minimize the likelihood of problems occurring.
On-site Security and Remote Monitoring
On-site security systems offer certain advantages that remote monitoring security systems cannot equal. For example, on-site security patrol teams can do foot patrols of business premises and inspect areas that are in the camera’s blind spots. In addition, on-site security systems offer a direct line of communication between facility management and business staff. This is significant when standard management employees are not available.
Remote monitoring is most effective in small facilities as backup systems for supporting on-site teams. For example, many thieves like to create distraction for on-site security personnel so that they can access business facilities through other avenues. Remote monitoring systems can alert on-site personnel in case thieves want to attack a business premise by distracting on-site security personnel.
Loss Prevention Tips
Unfortunately, not all security problems in a business are caused by people outside the business. Internal theft problems abound in many businesses. Employers in Singapore suspecting internal theft can hire independent private investigators offering security solutions in Singapore to conduct secret video surveillance to catch employees stealing from the business or committing other types of crimes in the business.