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UMS PhD students shine at international conferences

31st December, 2020

KOTA KINABALU: In the midst of shifting from conventional learning method to online learning, more conferences have moved to online platforms devoid of the hustle and bustle of physical attendance.

Two UMS postgraduate students from the Faculty of Business, Economics and Accountancy (FBEA) have proved that online presentation is not an obstacle for them to win and shine at international competitions.

Ng Yen Phin, a PhD candidate won the Best Presenter Award for the 3MT – 3 Minute Thesis Competition at the International Postgraduate Symposium in Tourism and Hospitality (IPSTH 2020), an international competition jointly organized by National Kaohsiung University of Hospitality and Tourism (NKUHT), Taiwan and UCSI University, Malaysia.

Ng, who hailed from Lahad Datu, shared the content of her manuscript titled “The Meaning of Work for Tourist Guides” in three minutes using one PowerPoint slide, which won the hearts of the international panel of judges consisting of industry experts and academia from a total of 25 PhD students across Asia.

Ng thanked her supervisors, Dr Balvinder Kauer Kler and Dr Oscar Dousin from FBEA for their guidance on script preparation and presentation practices over Google Meet.

Zhang Ke, an international student from China also won the Best Paper Award at the 1st Asian Tourism Research Conference, jointly organised by Mahatma Gandhi University, India and Sunway University, Malaysia.

Zhang, who is also a lecturer attached to Neijiang Normal University, China, is currently pursuing his doctorate degree in UMS. He presented a paper titled “Sunset, Seafood & Sea-gypsies in Malaysian Borneo: An Alternative Destination Image for China Tourists” during the conference via Webex platform.

Zhang, who co-authored the paper with his supervisor, Dr Balvinder Kaur Kler, received recognition from a total of 45 full papers presented at the three-day conference.

Being the supervisor for both students, Dr Balvinder expressed her joy on her students’ achievements. The ceremony, held through online platform, was such a different experience to her.

“When the awards were announced, I was nowhere near my students and could only smile back at the screen,” she commented.

“Although the experience of celebrating was not the same, the key point is that we won, which is a great end to 2020,” she added.

“Reading, for a PhD candidate, can be a lonely journey. So conference attendance is important in building confidence and motivation,” she said while informing her plan to celebrate the victories with her students once life is back to normal.

FBEA Dean, Prof. Datuk Dr Kasim Hj Md Mansur was also pleased with the students’ achievements.

He believed that the quality of postgraduate supervision at UMS will continue to thrive during the new normal.

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