3rd #GreatHeights Series - An Interview With Muhamad Saiful Hakimi, Class of 2012
By Norfarah Mohamad,
Head of KYSER Content, Cemerlang
The Cemerlang Editorial Team had the opportunity to interview the first ever Malaysian to receive a College of Earth and Mineral Sciences’ Engineering Honour Marshal, Muhamad Saiful Daud. It was a historical moment as he was also the first Malaysian to achieve the award with a perfect score of 4.0 Cumulative Grade Point Average. Now, he works as a Petro Physicist Trainee for Schlumberger Sdn Bhd., a world leading oilfield services provider.
Saiful Hakimi was awarded a scholarship from JPA for A-levels and University after Kolej Yayasan Saad years and went to Kolej Teknologi Timur for A-levels and Pennsylvania State University. His career journey has only just begun as he has recently managed to secure a position with Schlumberger Sdn Bhd.
As a passionate, highly driven and self-motivated person, he strived to become one of the future leaders in the industry.
Hussein House Captain of 2012 Despite Failing Law of Indices in Form 2
When asked what is his biggest challenge in school, he talked about his experience in Form 2 when he had the most difficult time trying to understand Law of Indices, even failed the monthly examination. He decided to seek out help and really took the time to fully understand the concept
“I know that even though you failed once, it doesn’t mean you’ll stay down forever.I asked my friends who were far superior than me to assist me and try to emulate their way of thinking. Thankfully, my scores in next few tests slowly improved and it was an amazing feeling knowing that you can finally reap what you sow”
Saiful love the environment and the friendly rivalry between the houses. To him the competitive environment is a key factor in challenging himself to be a better person. “Competition among my friends was quite tough, as many of them are far better than I am in various fields. However, I also think that it is important that we acknowledge everyone’s strength and think about the ways they are able to garner their strength. Imitation after all, is the sincerest form of flattery”
"I have always known that I wanted to pursue my career in oil and gas engineering ever since I was in Form 2”
He have always known that he wanted to pursue his career in oil and gas engineering. He initially wanted to join the University of Texas, Austin but he wasn’t accepted.He went to Penn State University instead. Even though this is not his first choice, he met a lot of amazing people there.
His main supporter (financially or emotionally) is definitely his family. They have been with him through thick and thin and he is very grateful for it.
“After I graduated, I decided that I wanted to join the oil and gas industry to gain experiences because I believe that it is important that I correlate what I have learned so far during my college years and apply the knowledge accordingly”
“I was first introduced to oil and gas industry through my elder sister, who was often sent offshore for her work. Whenever she came back from the field, she shared with me the stories about the lifestyle of an engineer and basically the challenges that she faced as an engineer. From that point, I felt attracted and was drawn into the oil and gas industry. In addition to that, throughout my life, I have been one of the few lucky ones and privileged enough to be able to obtain scholarships to support my education. Thus, in order to give back to the community, I believe that oil and gas is the best place for me to pursue my career as it is one of the largest industries in Malaysia”
Saiful later secured a position with Schlumberger Sdn Bhd and planning to further his studies in PhD. soon
"The toughest challenges that I had to face are: breaking the language barrier when I first arrived at the States, as well as challenging myself to venture out of my comfort zone"
Saiful went to Kolej Teknologi Timur under JPA Scholarship to complete his 1.5 year A-Level program and was the President of Student Council
“I had a lot of scholarship applications, but I was only invited to three interview sessions. First is by Khazanah, second is by MMC and lastly by JPA. The interview for the Khazanah scholarship was really intense and it challenged me to develop the skill of persuasion. Next, the interview for MMC scholarship taught me that talents can be found everywhere. I realized that graduating from KYS doesn’t mean that you’re better than anyone else, you’re just one of the privileged few that were able to pursue your study there.”
One of his biggest accomplishments at Penn State is receiving the Engineering Honor Marshal Award. This award is given to the best engineering student graduating from College of Earth and Mineral Science.
“I hold firmly to the belief that there are times where you have to lose the battle to win the war. For example, I had to skip my math class frequently in order to go to the office hour of an engineering subject that I was struggling with. It took a lot of time and effort to attain the award but in the end, I believe it is worth it”
If he is given a chance to turn back time, he would focus more on computer science classes and learn more about the coding.He believes that it is not about the coding that makes you an excellent student, but how to approach a problem in the most efficient and effective manner. He would also give a lot more attention to the Mandarin classes, a useful language beneficial in the long run, considering we are living in this beautiful multiracial country.
“In the future, I don’t see myself pursuing the technical field any further. I would like to broaden my horizon by maybe pursuing an MBA or DBA. I believe my technical skills can be sharpen through real experience working in the field.
Tips for KYS Students
Here are some tips from Saiful to KYS students
- Never settle for the mediocre. Always think critically of any opinion and reflect how that can help you or your house to progress.
- Be humble. Always ask other people if they have a much better way of completing a task. Lastly, always have the initiative to better yourself or your organization.
- It is okay to not know where your interest lies now. Explore, try new things. Think about how you might feel about the industry, five or ten years down the road. Remember, our life is short so do the things that you want to do. I’m not saying that it wouldn’t come with any challenges but at least you know that you are doing it for yourself and not others.
- Life is always changing. What you aspire to be today may not be available anymore in the next decade. Always keep your options open but ensure that you gain the necessary knowledge and skills so that you can remain relevant to the society. Lastly, remember that life can shove you down to the ground in an instant. What matters is how you stand back up and rise to meet the challenges in the future.
- Do not be afraid to admit that you’re not good at something and do something about it. Do a lot of mock interviews, be it with your friends or with the counselling unit. Make sure your resumes are revised regularly.
- Be sure to sharpen your soft skills while you’re still in KYS. Join public speaking competitions, or even choral speaking! Communication skills will definitely be one of the most important skill sets a person should acquire.