A semester abroad in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam during Johann Einarsson Berg’s undergraduate studies in Norway proved to be an enriching time for the Icelander. But his brief time in Asia sparked an appetite to explore his postgraduate options in the region to see what it has to offer.
Not unlike many graduates, Berg found himself at crossroads after graduating with a degree in human resource (HR) management: should he enter the working world, or pursue his postgraduate studies?
“I wasn’t entirely sure if I wanted to work with HR for the rest of my life, so I began to look for options that wouldn’t limit me to one business field.
“I’m very interested in Asia and the relations between the East and the West, so a Master of International Business (MIB) at Monash University Malaysia was the perfect fit,” he explained.
Monash’s highly rated School of Business was a major draw for Berg. At the same time, the school’s MIB programme also piqued his interest.
Monash is one of the few business schools in Malaysia that is AACSB-accredited, cementing its status for delivering a solid business education with relevant learning materials that will prepare students to be effective leaders upon graduating.
“The fact that Malaysia is vastly different from my home country made the thought of studying here very exciting,” he added.
Gearing up for the globalised future
The MIB programme is an apt course for individuals who wish to delve into business, considering globalisation’s hand in bolstering interdependence between the economies of the world.
This coursework-based degree exposes students to contemporary international business issues. At the end of the programme, students will be equipped with the skills needed to lead companies through the internationalisation process.
Career opportunities for graduates are vast. Apart from being suitably trained for employment by multinational corporations, individuals aspiring for career advancement in public, inter-governmental and non-profit sectors and those wishing to extend their skills in the analysis and interpretation of the global business environment will also find this programme useful.
“MIB is very up-to-date. Most of what you learn are real cases, and many of the courses avoid textbooks as they tend to be outdated,” said Berg.
“The degree has given me a very in-depth comparison and understanding of different cultural habits and business systems. I’ve also learned a lot about the international aspect of the choice of business strategy, supply chain and innovation.”
Sapnayan Das had originally planned to enrol in Monash’s MBA programme but changed his mind after learning about the MIB, the university’s flagship programme that is also highly valued by Malaysian employers.
A master’s in international business is “a rather foreign concept for Indian students,” he opined. After much deliberation, however, he decided that it had much to offer students, especially from a managerial context.
“Considering that it was a unique mix of courses and subjects, with a focus on research and understanding people, I believed that it would be a valuable addition to my repertoire and went ahead with my decision to enrol,” said Sapnayan, who resigned from his job with the Indian government to pursue the programme.
Its versatility can be seen from its core units, some of which include accounting and finance for international managers, international management, international trade law, international business strategy and cross-cultural management communication.
Sapnayan added that the programme also lays the foundations to ensure students understand multiple business fronts which is essential for those holding or aspiring to hold managerial positions.
Networking also forms an integral part of the postgraduate experience. Sapnayan said, “I have been lucky enough to forge relationships that I expect to last in the long run.”
He added: “I think the course teaches us how to prevail through adversities and to plan ahead and navigate the many research essays and assignments across different topics of interest for global businesses. All in all, it has been an extremely engaging and fun experience for me so far.”
Stellar facilities to facilitate learning
The decision to pursue her postgraduate studies at Monash was a no-brainer for alumna Kelly Chew Hui Ing, who could definitely attest to the university’s quality of teaching, state-of-the-art facilities and quality student services, which include academic service assistance, extracurricular options and counselling services.
The MIB appealed to her as she believes globalisation is key to integrating people and organisations across the globe.
Coupled with the rise of cross-border businesses, cross-cultural studies will become essential for professionals who want to carve for themselves a career in international business, said Chew.
Postgraduate studies come with its unique set of challenges, including when students are faced with multiple assignment deadlines that are due within days of each other. However, according to Chew, these moments are key to training students’ time-management skills.
She is also thankful for the palpable spirit of camaraderie among her lecturers and peers who are ever-willing to lend a helping hand during the course.
Due to the programme’s highly diverse cohort, Chew is also thankful for the networking opportunities presented by being a MIB student.
A programme for students of all ages and backgrounds
Shamala Nair may be the oldest student in her class, but she is also a living testament that age should not be a barrier for busy professionals like her who are aspiring to upskill themselves.
As a mature student, she does face some challenges that some of her younger cohorts don’t, such as balancing her studies with work and family commitments.
“The fast-moving technological advancements are hard to catch up with, especially when I completed my master’s degree 13 years ago!” said Shamala.
Despite that, the MIB programme constitutes a research pathway which she is “very passionate about” as an aspiring PhD candidate and lecturer. The MIB programme also equips her with the latest perspectives on business to complement her MBA qualification.
Her mantra is that education is a lifelong process.
“There are so many things that would have been left unknown to me if I didn’t pursue the MIB programme,” said Shamala.
She has also realised the importance of keeping up-to-date with current business practices to drive her to keep abreast with the latest platforms and strategies.
Without a doubt, the MIB has plenty to offer to students across all backgrounds. Visit www.monash.edu.my/business.