Thursday, October 8, 2015

Interview with Ms Karen Chia

Ms Chia (extreme right, in red) with her students

It may be the term-break for most students, but most lecturers are already busy planning lessons for the next semester. Ms Karen Chia from the School of Business Management (SBM) is no exception. She is a personal mentor to her class MK1321 - Diploma in Marketing, and also lectures on “Entrepreneurship and International Business”, a module that is infamous for being one of the most challenging of the SBM modules. Having been with NYP for 11 years, her passion towards her students and teaching has not withered since Day One.

“My students are the main reason I love coming to work, and I find teaching and interacting with them the most exciting part of my day. I have had many batches who have graduated and still keep in touch,” says Ms Chia fondly.

She credits the 3 R’s for her strong connection with her students.

“The first R is ‘Relate’. Trying to relate to whatever triumphs or problems your students go through is important, especially to them. I don’t see myself as their superior, and it definitely helps them open up,” Ms Chia said.

“Number 2 is being ‘Real’, as teachers, sometimes we have to put up our guard so as to not mix our professional and personal lives together. I would try to create a bond without any interference, so they would be able to share their problems with me,” Ms Chia added.

The third R that Ms Chia mentioned is ‘Respect’, where she draws the line both in school and in a personal context, and ensures there is always a certain amount of mutual respect. It is important to her that a student never steps out of bounds in any context.

“See the gem in every student. If you only see the flaws, you’ll be blinded,” she said.

Ms Chia is deeply passionate about all her students, even if they are written off by others.

An example of such a student is Shawn Loo, whom Ms Chia describes as the poster-boy for SBM. He was a student for who, lecturers always had complaints, but made a remarkable turn-around, and became an entrepreneur, creating the company Gold Plus Fuels.

Her passion towards her students seems apparent whenever she describes experiences with her students, such as sending her students for a recent external marketing competition.

“They were shortlisted in that competition, and it makes me very happy to see them working hard,” expressed Ms Chia.

However, she had one of the most challenging experiences as a personal mentor, when her mentee passed away due to a heart-attack. It was such a shock for her class which were preparing for their exams.

“The whole class went down for the funeral of their friend, and they were really emotional. As an adult I did not know it would affect them this much until I received calls from them. So, I booked rooms for everyone to study and support each other whilst they prepared for their exams,” explained Ms Chia.

The class eventually made it through the exams, and the experience further strengthened their bond with their personal mentor.

Ms Chia is a personal mentor who manages to maintain the special bond with her students even after they have graduated for many years. SBM students, do keep a lookout for her, and who knows, she might just be your mentor next year!

By Nasruddin Islam Bin Ramli, Diploma in Electronics, Computer & Communications Engineering
A Diploma in Electronics, Computer and Communications Engineering student, Nas hopes to be able to achieve his dream and make little changes that would benefit the world. But he also understands that life has its curve-balls, so he would just be happy being able to improve himself as a person and a human-being by learning something new every day, regardless of it being inside or outside the classroom. 

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