A class above

IN its eighth year of operations, Berjaya University College of Hospitality (Berjaya UCH) maintains its niche in providing the services industry with valuable graduates. Today, the university college has four faculties – Faculty of Culinary Arts, Faculty of Hospitality and Tourism, Berjaya Business School and Faculty of Liberal Arts – with a total of 1,200 students.

According to Berjaya UCH chief executive and vice-chancellor, Emeritus Professor Walter Wong, there will be new programmes rolled out as well as some changes to the current programmes offered.

“Next year, we plan to have a bachelor degree in Logistics and Supply Chain Management which is targeted for submission to the Malaysian Qualifications Agency (MQA). We will also apply for a MSc degree in the same field. The aim is to supply the workforce for the One Belt, One Road Initiative (OBOR) with graduates who are equipped with knowledge and skills in both manufacturing and services industry.

“We are also going to change the degree programme on Business Information Systems and Marketing, and have a generic degree in Business Management. In real life, industry demand goes up and down and at some point, the market gets saturated and demand will drop hence we revised the programme with a number of areas of specialisations,” he said.

Berjaya UCH has made a mark in culinary arts as well as hospitality having partnered with a very fine culinary arts school in the world – the Institut Paul Bocuse, well-known for producing Michelin-star chefs.

“Earlier this year, we made another mark in hospitality when we were awarded the Hospitality Institution of the Year 2017 (Regional) at the annual World Gourmet Summit Awards of Excellence held in Singapore,” Wong said, adding that they did not apply for the awards and instead were selected for it.

Berjaya UCH offers programmes that are practical-oriented and focused on the services industry. This is particularly ideal in Malaysia because of its culture and the character of its people which cannot be found in other countries. Wong has faith in the country’s business, tourism, hospitality, events management, and culinary industries which are service-based in the world of business.

“In an academic institution, it is very important to have quality teaching and learning, and research excellence. These two go hand-in-hand and is inseparable. Our main goal is to produce graduates who meet and serve the needs of the industry, profession and community. The rest will come based on the individual; some who are innovative who will generate new knowledge and some who are inspired to become entrepreneurs.”

“Boyer’s definition of scholarship includes four categories – knowledge through teaching and learning, discovery through research, application and integration. Everything is interrelated which is why it is so important to ensure students have a strong foundation in the fundamentals of their academic discipline followed by their ability to apply and integrate system in real-life situations.

“At Berjaya UCH, we focus on students’ soft skills (personal, team building and professional), English proficiency and business acumen. It is paramount that graduates are useful in micro and macro levels for the development of the nation, region and the globe,” he said.

Wong revealed that in the near future, the university college has the intention to upgrade to university status.

“Personally, I don’t want to build a large university but a high quality institution ideally with 5,000 undergraduates plus 1,000 postgraduates. If you look at the world’s top 20 universities, the larger institutions have around 20,000 students but most of them are not large but with 12,000 to 15,000 students. Small is beautiful; one can plan, manage and control,” he said.