The decision to study for an electronics degree at WOU has turned out well for an entrepreneur, leading to his enhanced academic standing and the expansion of his business and network.
Ts Kuan Teik Hua graduated with a Bachelor of Technology (Honours) degree in Electronics (BTEL) in 2014. He shared how the WOU qualification has benefited him during an online talk on 31 October 2021. The virtual event organised by the School of Science & Technology (SST) and the Kuala Lumpur Regional Centre was attended by some 30 people.
Kuan is the Founder and Director of KL Automation Engineering (KLAE) Group of Companies. He entered WOU with two diplomas from Singapore, and after obtaining his BTEL, he went on to get his Master of Engineering degree and is now studying for his PhD in Engineering.
He has more than 30 years experience in the oil and gas industry. He returned to Malaysia in 2004 and founded KL Automation Engineering, with branch offices in Korea, China, Singapore and Malaysia, as well as sales channels in ASEAN, China and Korea.
He remarked, “After setting up KL Automation, whenever I tender for jobs or meet prospects, they tend to doubt me and ask questions to test my technical knowledge. Also in Malaysia, certain companies require your CV, i.e. your qualifications and experience, when submitting a tender.”
The troubling experience motivated him to improve his qualifications by enrolling in WOU. He found that the WOU degree gave him “professional recognition and respect”, and opened the door to pursuing a Master’s degree and PhD.
Kuan is now a tutor for WOU and a project supervisor for WOU and UTAR. The BTEL degree offered him a fast-track option to become a certified professional technologist (Ts) by the Malaysia Board of Technologists (MBOT). “I can now write academic papers, I am a reviewer for an international journal, and a course evaluator for MBOT. I am one of the evaluators sent when a university wants to offer a degree course that’s recognised by MBOT.”
He said the WOU qualification broadened his academic and career prospects, while the study environment provided networking opportunities with peers from different industries. He advised, “Use the occasion to network with your classmates. Being a tutor allows me to look for talented staff for my company. I am in discussion with two students interested in starting their own companies, and I may join as a partner.”
He stressed the importance of networking for entrepreneurship success. “When I came back to Malaysia, I only had one company. Now I have 9 companies, most of which started via study networking and chatting informally over coffee.”
Kuan said that the BTEL holders can become engineers in process automation (e.g. oil and gas industry, food and beverage, petrochemical), factory automation (e.g. semiconductor, automotive industry) and building automation (e.g. auto car park, smart home control, energy management).
During Q&A, he allayed concerns by stressing that there is no difference between a technology degree and an engineering degree in terms of salary schemes and career prospects.