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UTB: The university of choice

In today’s world, choosing a university can be challenging. It is an important decision that needs to be based not only on the applicant’s preferred programme, but also other essential factors, such as modules under the intended programme, the university’s ranking, its reputation, available facilities.

In 2021, Universiti Teknologi Brunei (UTB) was acknowledged by the QS World university ranking, and was awarded the Five-Plus Star Award in recognition of the university’s status as an elite destination for some of the world’s most skilled graduates, and prestigious faculty members.

UTB is currently ranked at the 344th position worldwide, 40th for Young Global Universities in under 50 years.

In Asia, UTB is placed at 126, out of 687 institutions. This achievement has placed UTB among the top eight engineering and technology universities in Southeast Asia.

That same year, UTB took a notable step by shortening the duration of its degree programmes from four years, to three.

The shortening of the degree programmes does not compromise its international accreditation, because the university education adheres to the international standards to ensure its graduates are competitive and well equipped with global university merits when entering the workforce.

“The shorter duration of study will also provide students early entry into the job market, giving them an edge over students in four-year programmes,” said UTB Vice-Chancellor Professor Dr Hajah Zohrah binti Haji Sulaiman.

“Our objective is to provide our students with shorter courses that are relevant, agile and more fitting to the work in relevant industries. We want to ensure that the skills and knowledge learnt here are still relevant after three years, and not quickly forgotten,” she added.

Mohamed Irfan Bazrul Jama, an international student from India who previously completed his Bachelor’s degree at UTB, is currently undertaking his Masters in Mechanical Engineering.

He chose UTB because of its reputation for being one of Asia’s top universities.

ABOVE & BELOW: Mohamed Irfan Bazrul Jama, Nur Farhana binti Awang Ahmad and Rohayatul’aisy Nabilah binti Irwan. PHOTOS: UTB

ABOVE & BELOW: Haji Marhan bin Dr Haji Morsidi; and Mohd Ariffin bin Awang Morsidi

Asked why UTB was his first university of choice, Irfan responded, “Every student would want to enrol in a reputable university. When I started researching multiple universities in the region in 2017, UTB had set its sights on being one of Asia’s top universities. That was one of the most appealing aspects of my decision.”

He found that the field of mechanical engineering is generally quite extensive, and thus would allow him to pursue his career ambitions in numerous industries.

UTB, in particular, encourages students to develop their innovative ideas and turn them into a reality by utilising engineering concepts to overcome daily mechanical engineering problems.

Through his personal experience, Irfan discovered that the professors in his field are highly proficient in their subject, due to their expertise and experiences in a variety of industries.

Such competence in the field of mechanical engineering makes learning the contents of their modules more fascinating, he said as they always presented their students with industry-related examples, and provided substantial and comprehensive descriptions that are easily understood by the students.

Haji Mahran bin Dr. Haji Morsidi, an undergraduate student of Computer Network Security (CNS) programme, who is currently pursuing his postgraduate’s degree, found UTB’s hands-on training which includes collaborations with major companies such as CISCO and Huawei, appealing. It enabled students like himself to graduate with imperative skills and the certifications required upon the completion of their studies.

When asked how UTB has helped him develop skills outside the academics, Haji Mahran said, “UTB has taught me to be a 360+ individual; it has given me experience in terms of life skills, social skills, and also going outside of my comfort zone for the better.

“This is also where you will meet people and close friends that you will remember and bond with even after your undergraduate studies.” “Most students will miss the friendly environment,” he added.

Haji Mahran shared how impressed he was with the quality of education he received from
the university.

He found the lecturers to be highly obliging and encouraging, providing him with guidance, which positively impacted him and added to his personal enjoyment during the process of learning.

“Based on four years of undergraduate experience, I found lecturers to be approachable always ready to provide guidance.

“They are all very helpful in answering any questions and in also giving advice, in the case of anyone facing difficulties,” he added.

Nur Farhana binti Ahmad is currently pursuing her PhD in appliedmathematics and economics. She also has Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from UTB.

Conducting research-based studies has led her to a new source of knowledge.

After being given the chance to be part of the teaching staff, she developed not just as a student, but also as an educator. “UTB gives postgraduate students an opportunity to an effective Graduate Teaching Assistants for the undergraduates. Thus, allowing us to have a look into life in academia, which is probably what most PhD students are considering for their future,” said Nur Farhana.

Mohammad Ariffin bin Awang Morsidi, a student from the School of Design, majoring in architecture, selected UTB as his institute of study due to two main factors.

The first being that the academic curriculum which UTB offers is up to the standards of other competing universities, despite the fact that it is the first university in the country to offer a Bachelor’s programme in architecture.

His second motivation was that it is a local university. This enabled him to not only start his own wedding company while studying, but also continuing to pursue, as well as expand his business while simultaneously furthering his education.

Asked about some of his favourite aspects of pursuing a degree in architecture at UTB, Mohammad Ariffin said, “Expressing and pouring my creativity with a purpose is an aspect that I like about this programme. I believe this programme not only provides education, but this area could offer a wide opportunity in the country’s current market.”

While the architecture course has refined Ariffin’s creative and visionary side, his interpersonal relationship with his lecturers throughout his three years at UTB were crucial when it came to interacting with and understanding the lecturers and their teachings.

The constructive feedback he received from his lecturers was also essential, as it provided him a direction to improve himself.

Rohadatul’aisy Nabilah binti Irwan, a Technology Management student at the UTB School of Business, who is currently working as a Business Analyst at Datastream Digital Sdn Bhd (DST), said UTB was her top choice when she considered applying to universities.

“UTB was my first option back in 2017, a year after I finished my ‘A’ Levels. The fact that UTB specialises in technology education was a major factor in my decision.

“I looked up the programmes available as well as the modules taught, and I discovered that UTB’s modules and programmes were more practical and could better assist me in building my career prospects,” she said.

Aisy’s interests, as well as her understanding of the contents of her modules came from the teaching methods incorporated by her lecturers, such as brainstorming exercises, which not only helped in making classes livelier, but also encouraged students to contribute to discussions.

“Alhamdulillah, my lecturers were all very engaging. I am beyond thankful that the materials they prepared were very insightful and relevant. “They were also very approachable and attentive to each of us.

“I am the type of person who questions a lot, and never have they ever turned me down.

“In fact, they were always motivating me and giving me useful advice that encouraged me to do my best. Most importantly, they appreciate our efforts.

“They exposed us to numerous opportunities, involved us in projects, and connected us with industries that elevate our marketability skills.”

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