The path less travelled

An MSU alumnus talks about how he became a successful poultry entrepreneur

25 Aug 2020 / 11:13 H.

MANAGEMENT AND SCIENCE UNIVERSITY (MSU) Class of 2019 alumnus Dr Toong Foo Weng begun his journey in entrepreneurship by selling fresh produce at a morning market in Broga.

After graduating from MSU with a Master in Business Administration in 2014, he took a path less travelled by transitioning to poultry when a friend offered him capital. His first stock of 70 chickens became the beginning of ShanShui Chickens, which grew to its present 30,000 capacity over the next five years.

“A local businessman who had heard about my efforts offered me the opportunity of expansion on his land in the foothills of Ulu Langat, Selangor, where the farm currently is,” he says.

Etched in Toong’s enterprising heart were the words spoken to his MBA batch in a talk given at the Graduate School of Management (GSM) in MSU Learning Centre KL Sentral.

Moving and motivating, those words inspired him to do everything to the best of his ability thereafter; academically, personally, and in business.

Among the challenges the then-new MBA graduate had to face was the chickens’ mortality rate, which in organic chickens is normally 10% to 15%. The green diet was another, because it had to be sourced and put together from various suppliers; soy waste from tofu producers, for example, and coconut waste from makers of kaya (traditional jam made from coconut and eggs).

“I had 2,000 dead chickens in one day instead, more than the 10 to 15%; but after learning and changing many things I managed to bring the figure down to 5%. I had also been sold feed that either had expired, was mouldy, or had been mixed with tiny pebbles to bump up the feed’s actual weight.

“In 2017 I lost RM50,000 from 8,000 dead chickens owing to illness, but even more devastating was a loss from theft by my own workers who stole and sold nearly half the livestock,” he recalls.

Also rearing chickens for a living elicited laughter in the beginning but he kept at it. His efforts began to get noticed, when he was nominated for the Junior Chamber International (JCI) Ten Outstanding Young Malaysians (TOYM) Awards 2018. With green chickens as his subject, he chose to further study halal chicken production.

The PhD student’s typical week saw him delivering fresh chickens and eggs daily to distributors and attending lectures full-time on weekends.

In 2019, he graduated for the second time from MSU as a Doctor of Philosophy (Management/Business) in Green and Halal Poultry Farming.

Toong recommends lifelong learning to aspiring entrepreneurs and the supportive ecosystem at MSU.

“A challenge to any business is in dealing with people; the suppliers as well as the customers. There is always a lot of competition, so besides learning to be nice you must also learn to be strong. When you go through the problem phase in your journey, keep in mind that you are still learning.

“Past this phase, everything will stabilise. Gain new knowledge outside, just as I did at this University, then bring it back to your business.”

As Malaysia’s best teaching and learning university, MSU prioritises quality education; incorporating 21st century learning in the teaching delivery focused on producing holistic graduates.

Real world scenarios are adopted into classroom learning experience. Strategic thinking and thought-provoking case study exposes and equips students with a higher level of practical problem-solving abilities. All modules are rigorously designed with strategic industrial and corporate input, an opening vignette to major events and real-world issues around the globe.

The post graduate programmes at MSU are carefully crafted to cultivate leadership and a real research contribution that address industrial hands-on challenges at the highest management level.

Due to the tremendous and exciting state of flux within business and management communities, top management must adapt rapidly to stay competitive, relevant and strategically positioned to tackle global trends by possessing the relevant post-graduate qualifications.

The postgraduate studies at MSU offers advanced degrees at MBA, MSc and PhD levels covering Business Administration, Accounting/ Finance, Management, Educational Management and Leadership, Education (Teaching English as Second Language), International Business, Master in Fashion Business, International Hospitality and Tourism Management, Early Childhood Education, Counselling and Guidance, Computer Science, Food Service Technology, Biomedicine, Biomedical Sciences, Information Technology, Clinical Pharmacy, Engineering, Pharmacy, Applied Science, Design and Medical Physiology.

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