Engineering students from Sir Kamal’s perspective


According to a discussion with Sir Kamal a few days ago, I had a simple question for him :

Q: “What do you think is missing (characteristics) in your students ?”

A: { “In general, most students (studying engineering) are excellent in the beginning but as they progress to their following/majoring year/s, they just tend to be more dependant on the lecturer. In theory, they should be more independent, creative & better problem solvers.

What happens in reality is the opposite. Students sometimes just give up too early in attempting to find a solution for a certain excercise/case study/problem/obstacle/challenge presented to them. After only a few trials, they run back to the lecturer and say “I’ve tried but can’t find the solution.”

My anticipation is that they did not try hard enough. They have the brains but just want the easy way out. Therefore, the challenge is no longer a challenge but merely another question thrown by the lecturer for him to answer FOR the students later on in the next class. This in turn bars the students’ mind from expanding & trying all the possible angles in problem solving.

The major impact is that later on after graduating, when they enter the industry & face the real world out there. Its possible that they might not be adaptable/flexible/creative enough as what is required by industry standards at that time.

My advice : Try as many attempts as possible. Learn to be on your own & never give up. Then & only then you can consult your lecturer/teacher if you still haven’t found the solution.

Remember that “adversities are challenges in disguise” }

I remember a proverb that stirred my father’s interest when we were discussing the local education system. I still remember that proverb until today.

“Spoon feeding teaches you nothing but the shape of the spoon”

10 Responses to “Engineering students from Sir Kamal’s perspective”
  1. Yuzairy says:

    Being an engineer myself, the problem with engineers is that they don’t business sense. In other words, a lot of nonsense. An anonymous man once said, the most potent qualifation is engineering degree and MBA. I’m not saying you should have BEng and MBA, but you must be able to thread between technical and business. I’ve seen many times an engineer (or a team) spend countless hours of coming up with a solution but shot down by the management. They are technically competent but lack the art of selling and came short of providing a clear connection between technical justifications and company’s bottomline.

    If you went to the corporate world, spend time to study and absorb company visions, objectives and its current direction. Relate it to your technical job and you will deliver a knock out in whatever you are proposing.

    My advice for would be engineers is to go out and take business modules especially presentation skills, negotiation and communication. If you have the time, project management, economics, basic accountancy are also recommended.
    During my time, I was the only engineer in a lecture hall surrounded with hundreds of business students and it was the best class that I’ve ever attended. I was always fascinated with Project Economics although it was the longest lecture (2 slots) in our Chemical Eng program.

    Remember that all engineers can be a good businessman but not all businessman can be an engineer.

    p/s I am leaving the corporate world soon and go venture into marketing and business.
    Dr Naz, check your spelling. Knowing you, I don’t think spelling is something of a problem to you.

  2. drnaz says:

    very well said Yuzairy & may all those engineers/engineers in the making use your points to their advantage.

    spelling? haha! even that latest article was edited 3x! and yet spelling mistakes. Now I know why I got all those red punctuation marks from Ms Sharon, Ms Hasni & Pn Habibah.

  3. mal says:

    my former lecturer quoted before, ” a good engineer can make one dollar/ringgit malaysian the most”… if you think your knowledge could brings out the best for that one dollar, you are a good engineer… i am not one of those “good”, yet….

    please, i am not disregard, a non-engineers field… i have a high regard for them… engineers or non-engineers, needs each others…. no wonder enginner tend to find non-engineer for their companion….ahaaa!!!

  4. ceprz says:

    One of the ways to equip yourself with those communication, negotiation and selling skills is to start early i.e. during your studies (i.e. not only study,study and study but involved yourself in external programs/activities). This is where you pick up the people-skills and grow your leadership. And that’s why in my blog I complaint that I have to reject people with 3.8+ pointers and opted for 2.8 with leadership traits.

    Enrolling to MBA and such can do good but here in Malaysia I realized they’re many programs which are disguised as quality programs but instead are more title-driven and lack of real exposure. So maybe we need to be careful on this.

  5. izzat says:

    gambar itu sungguh retro sekali. huahahaha….

  6. ceprz says:

    I met kamal few months back at Apeng’s wedding, I can tell you he looked nothing like the picture… hi hi

    I think you look better these days…

  7. ain says:

    i could swear that i know this guy. i think he’s a lecturer/tutor in uniten. pls clarify k, dr naz. he’s also a uniten graduate, like myself…if i got the person right that is. what a fascinating discussion. but actually this topic has been going on and on for decades now.. in my opinion, we can’t generalize people according to their professions. being an engineer myself, although i’m no longer practising, i don’t think i lack the niche of being in management. in fact, i’m doing well in management now. if a person is a fast-learner, i believe that they can be good in anything, regardless what first degree they hold. engineers or non-engineers can be equally successful businessmen/women, provided they have the interest and ability. and there business admin degree holders who didn’t make it as businesspeople at all. and says who businessmen can’t become engineers? they can..just sign up for any engineering degree anytime…just my 2 cents. cheers 😛

  8. drnaz says:

    tq ain for your comment. sir kamal? you can personally email him at

    you can ask info from him. 😀

  9. not yet dato' -k- says:

    engineering students…? tell me what exactly do they study right now. even those engineers in US are running out of study materials that they have to turn back and study the pyramids!! hahaha… can they call themselves engineers… re-engineer more likely. truth is engineering is made simpler nowadays even a logbook is considered ‘ancient history’. HAH..take that ‘mr hodeng ibn pungut’.

    solutions are provided in clicks instead of brain tinkering. thats how easy it is.

    what the world really need right now is how to change to world to a better place. we dont really need to know how to make faster cars, or how to build a taller building, or how to cross a strait in the most fashionably twisted bridge, or how to challenge the nature…..

    what we need is a better place for everyone…. anyone engineering that?
    engineering students….?

  10. supersomething says:

    ah.. a healthy intellectual discussion. i’m no intellectual, but i’d still like to write a few words.

    i have to agree, what we need is really a better place for everyone. but i also believe that in order to achieve that, we need to push our limits instead of being complacent and staying idle in our comfort zone. building faster cars, taller building are examples of pushing engineering knowledge to the limit. true, fast cars have no direct effect to the well being of the human race, but i belive the very same technology would be useful, someday, in ways we never tought possible. the way i see it, building faster cars and taller buildings doesn’t solely mean building faster cars and taller buildings.

    these are just my personal opinon. feel free to disagree. ^_^

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