My degree really helped develop the problem-solving, analysis and planning skills.
Discover SIM GE Scouting Association Executive Director Dr Mohd Effendy Rajab has reached the apex of his learning journey, from certificate and diploma to EdD WHEN eight-year-old Ghazali Rajab watched his father receive his degree from RMIT University, he didn’t dream that one day he too would follow in Dad’s footsteps. But nearly two decades after Dr Mohd Effendy Rajab completed his business studies, his son joined the university’s extended alumni family by graduating with a Bachelor of Business Management. “I was proud of my father but I was only eight when he graduated so I had no idea at that time where my studies would take me,” Ghazali says. “My father always encouraged me to take responsibility for my own learning so there was no pressure to follow his lead, but he did encourage me to consider RMIT because of how much he had benefited from his degree.” The pair undertook their degrees at the SIM Global Education campus. The SIM-RMIT University partnership has produced more than 24,000 graduates in 26 years of collaboration. Appreciating the value of knowledge Dr Mohd Effendy Rajab graduated in 1993 with a Bachelor of Business Administration - now known as the Bachelor of Business (Management). The undergraduate degree came about half-way through a decade of dedicated studying, starting with a certificate and diploma, and finishing with a Masters and EdD in Human Resource Development from George Washington University. “I embarked on my studies because I didn’t have the academic qualifications I needed to progress up the corporate ladder,” says Dr Rajab, now 58. “When I completed my Bachelor studies, I began to appreciate the value of knowledge and so decided to continue the learning journey to the doctoral level, purely out of the love for knowledge that I’d discovered.” Dr Rajab’s association with RMIT and SIM GE continued after his studies, as an associate lecturer for RMIT and later for SIM University, where he teaches part-time. He is also Executive Director of the Singapore Scout Association (he achieved the highest scouting rank as President’s Scout in 1973), whose core values he credits for contributing significantly to his personal and professional development. Years of watching students develop and grow have convinced Dr Rajab that RMIT degrees offer something beyond a mere qualification. “RMIT graduates are totally different people,” he says. “The degree doesn’t just give you a skill and knowledge base, it helps shape personalities, bringing people out of their shells and encouraging them in independent learning. The way the courses are structured forces you to discover learning in a different way, through group work and practical projects. “Working as part of a team, people learn about the importance of good dynamics in groups and they are far more prepared for the real world.” Failure is an arbitrary definition In Dr Rajab's case, the real world includes working with 11,000 Scouts in primary and secondary schools, junior colleges and the polytechnics. "In Scouting, we shape young people's lives to help them become better citizens physically, intellectually, socially, emotionally and spiritually." His own personal motto is "Don't give up hope". As he points out, "without hope, there's no purpose in life. Even when you've failed, you ought not to give up because failure is a learning process. You learn more through failure. "In fact, the term - failure - is an arbitrary definition. People may set a certain standard but that is not your standard. You define your own reality and not let passively accept the reality and expectation of others." Dr Rajab lives by what he preaches. At 33 - an age that most people considered "too late" to get a basic education, he earned his first credential, a Certificate. This was soon followed by a Diploma and then a Bachelor. At 44, he received his EdD, the highest possible tertiary qualification. Marketing major develops communication skill Ghazali Rajab, who graduated in 2011, is following his father’s example in dedicating his skills to the non-profit sector, as the Public Relations and Marketing Officer for the Muslim Missionary Society Singapore. “My degree really helped develop the problem-solving, analysis and planning skills I need in this role,” he says. “I majored in Marketing which has proven extremely useful in my work, where one of my main tasks is fund-raising. Knowing how to craft messages for target audiences has been essential in the strategy I’ve devised to help the society raise much-needed funds.” Adapted from RMIT News, 2012, further interview and update in September 2013 Posted online, 24 August 2018