show details 12:49 PM (6 minutes ago)
Excepting the obvious difference of time and place of the Malaysia context, you are describing students I taught 15 years ago at one of the UK’s top 3 universities. Included in my comment would also be postgraduate level students.
Such was my state of disillusionment I left after 3 years and went full time into international business. Prior to the University work I worked for a few years in senior Government posts. Now I work in investment banking.
The most depressing aspect of it is, despite living in what should be a world of global access, thus fostering a wide perspective and range of inputs, in fact, events, decisions, and interpretation of such is done in a narrow mono dimensional sense. Summarised by your comment on exam questions – they are taught there is one answer to every question. Give the rehearsed, template answer – question answered. Simple. That was the case in the UK even 15 years ago.
In fact it is often a stage worse. For each topic the same parrot answer is often trotted out almost regardless of the question. That outcome is merely another version of your lack of analytical ability point. This is the most telling and limiting factor; brain dead graduates working for brain dead senior managers. It’s a rot that set in many years back. And its a self-reinforcing cycle.
Until about 1973, when fiscal types started taking over Uni management, the Uni where I taught (international politics) insisted that all students regardless of faculty must for the first 2 years of Uni take compulsory courses in logic and philosophy. The reasons why this was “policy” and deemed essential are, I would have thought, self-evident.
Today I too interview people. But only when I can rouse myself from my boredom. Probably about 8 weeks ago I interviewed the absolutely typical mid-level manager from one of the Big 4. Usual “impressive reading” CV. Substance? Value-add? – virtually nil. Another individual hopelessly adrift from reality as well as lacking an ability to make sensible conversation if we were not talking about audit, accounts or reporting. When asked e.g. about whether the assumptions that were underwriting the audit made sense – the response was one of puzzlement, not so much that there were no assumptions (very few of course) but that someone should question whether the assumptions made sense. Regardless of how many times and from how many different angles I asked about what should be considered when looking at an M&A or “a deal” the answer was always the same – an audit will tell us how the company works, the true value of the asset, whether the management know what they are doing and the potential for the deal to succeed in the market.
This I should add was a conversation about deals in (Asian) emerging markets – where essentially I have been involved for 20+ years in one way or another.
And that was a fairly typical interview. Nothing special or unexpected.
I wonder, would there be any point giving my interviewee a copy of Studwell’s “Asian Godfathers”? Probably not; 90% of the facts, names and places in it would be completely unknown to the reader; the historical context would be a black hole (as we deal with people who live in a world where if something didn’t happen in the last 3-5 years, it didn’t happen); and the structural analysis of intangibles as presented by Studwell would be an exercise in hopelessness as we deal with people who struggle vainly to envisage, let alone explain and anticipate, something they cannot see or touch.
A UK-based friend who works at the top levels of an important UK institution summed up similar things the other day to me in an email as pertains to the senior management of his workplace: “There is no requirement for expertise or for command of foreign languages, we have the Internet”.
show details 12:48 PM (17 minutes ago)
10-20 years ago, our education system was in much better shape. Teachers in school were trained in proper colleges setup under the old british regime. Most of them have since retired or are already retiring. The new bunch of teachers are poorly trained and consist of those who didn't quite make it into the universities. Without good qualified teachers, how do we get good students?
10 years ago there was very limited space available in universities. Only the top students got in. Now university entrance is a foregone conclusion as long as you are not mentally challenged.
Most of the people who get into universities today, do not deserve to be there. People who score ~20 points (adjust that for how easy it is to score nowadays, and you'll see how poor some of them can be) in SPM can easily get into degree programs nowadays. University entrance is a joke.
Once they get in, universities pander to the "customers". Faculty members aren't allowed to fail students because that would
a. make the school look bad,
b. parents will blame in on bad teaching anyway, despite their children not working on their studies at all
c. they are paying customers, lets keep them happy.
So add that all up together what do you get? Graduates that never should possess a degree. Degrees just ain't worth shit anymore. Any Ali, Chong and Ravi can get it easily.
p/s photos: Cerina de Graca (Ka Bik Yee)