Making a difference by pursuing a PhD

BORN into privilege in a country where most people struggle to make ends meet, Muhammad Ali Jaleel, the current Chief Executive Officer for Philips Group of Companies for Malaysia and Pakistan, said he sees it as his moral responsibility to contribute to society.

“In my opinion, the gift of education is the only way to give back to people. An intellectual person will find a way to survive and improve his or her life.

“An educated person will find a way to survive and enhance his life. And that is what prompted me to pursue a PhD in order for me to get into academics and make a difference in people’s lives,” says the Kuala Lumpur-based Muhammad Ali who is currently pursuing a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Management / Business at the Graduate School of Management (GSM), at Management and Science University (MSU).

On how postgraduate studies reflected his career, Muhammad Ali further added: “I have been serving in the corporate world for 24 years and decided just a few years ago to achieve my doctorate. The reason why I am doing a PhD is so that I can start teaching when I decide to move out of the corporate sector.

“I have been professionally quite successful, and achieved high leadership positions which is the dream of any fresh graduate. In my professional career I have worked for some of the biggest multinational companies in the world like Microsoft, Apple, Philips and Dell.”

Muhammad Ali said he felt it was time to give back to the society that has helped his growth, and which has given him such life-enriching experiences.

“I believe that by teaching young people business strategies, addressing issues and corporate ethics based on real life experiences, I can add much value to their theoretical knowledge”.

He said due to various commitments as a consequence of his professional responsibilities, to pursue his PhD, he needed to choose a university with a good reputation and international affiliations, as well as flexibility, where he could manage the demands of his tight schedule and at the same time, pursue a quality PhD programme with support from his supervisors.

“I was lucky to have found all of my requirements fulfilled by MSU. I believe MSU is one of the top universities locally and globally and will help me with the necessary knowledge and skills to support my aspiration.

“As I am doing my PhD part-time while keeping my full-time job, it demands a greater commitment. However, MSU and its staff especially from the Graduate School of Management (GSM) has been extremely supportive to ensure my progress and deadlines,” added Muhammad Ali.

He said despite the challenges, he has sought to dedicate part of his weekends and most of his holidays to fulfil the demands of a PhD undertaking.

“I learned through experience that a PhD is a full-time commitment, requiring complete dedication and focus. In an ideal world, I would have preferred to take a few years off from work and focus entirely on the pursuance of a PhD degree, but I am glad that I still went ahead with my decision to join.”

MSU houses the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, the Faculty of Business Management and Professional Studies, the Faculty of Information Sciences and Engineering, the International Medical School, the School of Pharmacy, the School of Education and Social Sciences, the School of Hospitality and Creative Arts, the School of Graduate Studies, the Graduate School of Management, and the Centre for Fundamental Studies.

In all, as an applied, enterprise, holistic and international university, MSU offers foundation, undergraduate, postgraduate and flexible programmes through an entry system that facilitates the admission of students from all walks of life, where it aims to Transform Lives and Enrich Futures.

For a full range and information on postgraduate programmes at MSU, contact 03-5521 6868, or send an email to Additional information can also be obtained at