Starting Out in the Logistics Industry in Malaysia
If there is one word to describe Elizabeth Reima’s attitude to her role as a freight management supervisor, it would be “passionate”. The perception of the logistics industry is that it merely involves hauling boxes or driving lorries and it is often – wrongly – thought to be a dull, dead-end job.
“Any industry needs logistics and there are no limits in terms of careers,” Reima clarifies.
My Student Experience in UCSI University’s Logistics Program
has an advantage as she pursued a tertiary education that is specialised for the industry. She chose to pursue the diploma instead of a foundation programme as the former would give her knowledge directly relevant to logistics.
When searching for a tertiary education institution to pursue her diploma, she chose UCSI as it had run its logistics programme for several years then.
“I shortlisted a few, but only UCSI University had qualified lecturers who specialised in logistics,” she says.
This enabled her to transition smoothly from university to the working world – something that impressed her bosses at a Hong Kong-based global logistics company. Whenever her superiors found out that she studied logistics in university, they would take the opportunity to quiz her about her knowledge. Being familiar with the workings of the industry enabled her to answer them.
“I would tell them that this is part of what we learned during our studies at UCSI University,” she says with a grin.
UCSI University’s unique internship program helped get me a job after graduation
It is no surprise then that her dedication to her work has attracted the attention of her superiors not just in Malaysia, but also in Hong Kong. From just filling forms and assisting a colleague during her first month of internship, she was entrusted with an account and eventually was allowed to manage the accounts of several customers.
Upon completion of her internship, Reima was offered a permanent position with the company.
Her vice president for Freight Management even personally came down from Hong Kong to expedite her confirmation after just two months of probation instead of the usual three.
My work in Logistics in Malaysia
So what exactly does she do at work?
In her own words, she “coordinates”.
Upon receiving an order from a customer, she will find a vessel suitable for the customer’s products. Depending on the goods shipped, a vessel can be fitted with state-of-the-art technology such as temperature controlled storage for pharmaceutical products.
She then needs to quote the price to the client before sending the shipping instructions. Upon confirmation from the customer, she then contacts the haulage and forwarding team.
She also represents the company to act as a liaison between government officials such as from the ministry of trade and her clients to deal with any problems. At the end of the multitasking, coordinating, and pushing for shipments to go through, Reima gets satisfaction when her customers get their shipment and nothing interrupts the process.
Listening to her speak, one can’t help but be struck by her confidence and maturity, which belies her 24 years and the fact that this is her first job.
Revealing that she was a timid person, she said that her time at UCSI University made a positive difference to her personality.
The combination of mixing with friends from all over the world on campus and being guided by lecturers who pushed her out
of her comfort zone made her the confident person she is today.
As many of the lecturers have worked in the industry for years, they gave Reima and her friends a better understanding of the real industry expectations.
In line with the University’s Praxis® approach that focuses on merging industry expectations with academia, the Logistics Management department and Logistics Students Association (LSA) often organised visits to some of the biggest names in the industry.
These include PKT Logistics, North Port and Maskargo.
The experience of seeing how logistics work first hand made a deep impression for Reima and her friends as they were able to understand the entire process instead of just one component. They would then try to implement what they learned at these multimillion dollar companies during their presentations and assignments.
As the vice-president of the LSA, Reima also had an early exposure to coordinating with external companies to organise industry visits and this helped her hone her leadership skills.
Looking back, she is glad that she followed her curiosity and pursued logistics. Now, she plans to focus on doing the best she
can at work and eventually ask for a transfer to one of the company’s twenty plus branches around the world.
Eventually, she plans to do her masters and gain professional membership for the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT). UCSI University is a member of CILT. Staffed by lecturers and professors who have working experience in the logistics industry, the Logistics Management department at UCSI University often liaises with industry players to ascertain exactly what the industry needs.
With globalisation, it is more crucial than ever that goods and materials be effectively distributed globally and locally. Its latest offering, the BA (Hons) Supply Chain Operations Management is designed to enable students to understand operational strategies and manage supply chain activities.
Summing up, Reima shares that if a school student considers a career in logistics and seek her advice, she would say that he or she made the right choice.
“You can get jobs easily, the demand is there.”
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