Research conducted to frame the thesis for the Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) progrramme must be practical and demonstrate to the community that WOU produces research students of value.
This was expressed by Chairman of WOU’s George Town Institute of Open and Advanced Studies (GIOAS), Tan Sri Andrew Sheng, during his keynote speech on 24 March 2022. About 60 DBA students from Penang, Kuala Lumpur and Johor Bahru joined the two-day DBA Research Colloquium at Bangunan Wawasan, Penang, including 34 students who presented their thesis proposal, on-site and virtually.
Tan Sri Sheng advised the students to use their real-work experience to their advantage. “You are a DBA student, so you apply your knowledge. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. You can actually take somebody else’s idea and apply to Malaysian conditions and get some insights. We want you to have a doctorate that not only you are proud of, but the community is proud of as well,” he said.
He highlighted that research is a process where the students learn, execute, review and adapt. He wanted to see WOU become the people’s university that trains students to become useful citizens and enriched graduates for the community.
He also shared about the Institute for Capital Market Research (Malaysia ICMR), a research collaboration network that offers funding for research. He told the students that if their research proposal is useful, they can apply for grants from ICMR, of which he is a Distinguished Fellow.
“You cannot succeed without money, without talent and without branding. If you got talent but are not recognised, your value is zero. If you got money, but no talent, you will go nowhere. But if you have talent, money, and brand, that’s how you succeed, from individuals to corporation to country,” he stressed.
He continued, “In your research work, you need to think systemically and systematically. What’s my business model, what’s my objective, what do I want to achieve? Get your thinking clear. Then you need to look at context, what’s the big picture? Next is micro, the devil is in the details and you know the details you are working with. Then the institutional link.”
Tan Sri Sheng said that research is a collaborative effort and they should therefore seek feedback from peers and academics to spark ideas. “Work collectively. Use the valuable opportunity to get feedback from your fellow students. What are the problems faced and how do you resolve them? Ask your mentors.”
He suggested ways they can use their research to benefit the university and community. “The University’s reputation depends on its publication.You can actually package the literature survey in your field and write working papers for the university. We can publish this on the website. It will help the university and also make people aware that WOU is producing research students that are useful to the community.”
He remarked: “Your ideas have to be practical and must resonate with the community, for example, what is going to happen to marginalised communities, the disabled, and so forth.”
Meanwhile Vice Chancellor Prof Lily Chan informed that the DBA programme was launched in 2019, and invited the students to use the newly set-up DBA lounge at Bangunan Wawasan to interact with peers and business partners.