Saturday, 18 Dec 2021
(From left) Lim, Shahrizal, Subramaniam, Hazrieffendy, Mohamed Azlan and Nazrul with their doctorate degrees at the 58th convocation of USM in Penang. — ZHAFARAN NASIB/The Star

COLLEAGUES by day and study buddies by night, four of Penang’s Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) staff members stuck together and earned their Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Business Administration at the same time.

Dr Mohamed Azlan Ashaari, 45, Dr G. Subramaniam, 58, Dr Shahrizal Nazri, 45, and Dr Hazrieffendy Bakri, 47, were thrilled to receive their PhD scrolls together at USM’s recent convocation.

Mohamed Azlan said they never planned to study together despite knowing each other for years.

“We are friends but with work and other things, we did not always catch up.

“When all of us turned up to register for the course, we were pleasantly surprised.

“This led to over four great years of supporting each other and holding study groups together,” he said at USM’s 58th convocation on Monday.

Mohamed Azlan, who has been with USM for almost 20 years, said it was difficult to juggle both his work and studies and attributed his success to time management and a great support system.

“I now plan on writing a book based on my research paper on data analytics,” he said.

Subramaniam was elated to receive his PhD because, growing up in an estate, he worked his way up without much of a formal education while young.

“My studies have always been part-time while I worked.

“I did my degree and masters after I started working and it has been a juggle, with work being my priority.

“It is all worth it as now I have my PhD. If someone like me can do it, anyone can,” he said, hoping to motivate others to further their studies.

Subramaniam has been with USM for over 31 years and expressed joy at graduating with friends who are also colleagues.

“I now want to guide others to pursue their higher education.

“I want everyone to know that they can achieve what I did. A good education is essential.”

Hazrieffendy said although they were in the same field of study, their researches were all different.

“We were a support group, helping each other with the methods of our coursework.

“We studied during the weekends together at the lounge in USM,” he said.

Shahrizal, who has been with USM for 20 years said he had always wanted to further his studies but it was a challenge as he had to balance work and his studies.

“We were lucky to have finished with our studies right before the lockdowns began,” he said.

They were joined by two other colleagues, Dr Lim Chee Ann, 29, and Dr Nazrul Hassan, 44, who both graduated with PhD.

The 58th convocation ceremony held over the week will see 5,964 USM graduates in various fields receiving their scrolls at the Tuanku Syed Putra Hall in USM.

The convocation is being held over a span of nine days from Dec 13 to Dec 21 for students of Year 2020, as it was earlier postponed due to the pandemic.

-Source from The Star Online

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