KUALA LUMPUR: Forest Interactive Foundation concludes its facilitation of the 2021 Malaysia Future Leaders School (MFLS) Tier 3 program, as an invited partner of the Ministry of Youth and Sports (KBS) and Malaysian Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC).
Organized by the Institute of Leadership Excellence and Development under KBS, the national program combines theoretical and practical activities for a selected group of promising university students from across Malaysia to highlight their potential as strategic partners in developing the nation’s future. For the 2021 Tier 3 edition, a four-day event was held at the Seri Pacific Hotel through the week of December 20, 2021.
“The collaboration with KBS and MDEC was a wonderful way to engage directly with our nation’s future leaders,” shared Johary Mustapha, Founder & CEO of Forest Interactive. “Not only that, the program and the respective align with our Foundation’s commitment in shaping future tech innovators.”
On the first full-day event, students were greeted with a handful of speakers, from IBM Malaysia, whose representatives shared about the digital economy in the current landscape, to Johary’s fireside chat with the Co-founder and CEO of Runcloud, Arif Tukiman, and the Chief Operating Officer of REV Media Group, Nicholas Sagau.
The panel session was moderated by MDEC’s own Nadya Jaafar, Manager of Digital Talent Development of Digital Skills & Jobs at MDEC, whom touched on the subject of current tech trends and a leader’s role in a company.
Towards the end of the day, Forest Interactive Foundation briefed the students on the MFLS program’s central activity: the start-up pitch. Students were grouped into teams to brainstorm and develop their own start-up ideas surrounding environmental preservation, which is one of the Foundation’s pillars.
Guided by Forest Interactive Foundation and MDEC, students experienced a series of company visits to selected tech companies such as Aeordyne, Runcloud, Huawei Malaysia, Sunway Group, and Forest Interactive. Each company showcased their own unique environment while expanding on their perspectives on the current tech industry. Students also got to see what it’s like to be part of these reputable companies’ offices and the tech that they employ for their day-to-day operations; an exciting glimpse of the present that will cultivate ideas for the future.
On the final day of the MFLS program, students were treated to a visit of Forest Interactive HQ’s virtual realm on Gather. Aqilah Hashim, Brand Marketing Executive of Forest Interactive, led a tour around the virtual office and engaged students in games within the lifelike space. The tour proved to be an enjoyable experience for the students, who were fascinated by the modern concept of a virtual and gamified office space.
At the end of the evening, students were given co-branded MFLS program T-shirts and unique starter kits assembled by the Forest Interactive Foundation team.
“It was an eye opener for students who have no idea about the life of or what a tech company does,” said Nur Maisarah, a participant from UiTM Dengkil. “I hope I can study well and be part of the team. Or even better, if I could be a part of Forest Interactive! I want to be a mechatronic engineer and hope that I can make Malaysia known in the eyes of the world about our latest tech! Let's beat Elon Musk!”
Shivathishwaran Sivan, a participant from Matrikulasi Kejuruteraan Pahang, commented, “In my opinion, this event really helped me understand the depth or the importance of digital technology. As future leaders we should be able to update ourselves and the community we lead with the latest technology to make living easier. The most important lesson I got is to believe in yourself even when no one does, especially when you want to start a business. We are our own leader and supporter, so we should be able to believe in what we do and give our 100% even if we have to do it alone.”
On the final day of the MFLS program, the students finally got to pitch their start-up projects that they’ve been working since the first day. The process of it acts like an episode of Shark Tank where the students needed to pitch their start-up ideas to these ‘investors’ which in this case are the judges, Sharizan Abdul Latif, Head of pitchIN Campus, Ridzuan Azhar, Project Executive at Cool Code, and Walter Wong, Executive Director for Gain Secure Sdn Bhd.
Points were given depending on how the judges view their presentation skills and their ways of answering the judges' questions among other criteria as well.
At the end of the day and for the event as well, the Forest and the MDEC team organised a farewell and award ceremony through Zoom where students were given prizes for the top three on Best Start-up Pitch, and Best Dress for Male and Female. There were also lucky draws throughout the duration of the ceremony in which the students won from Sony speakers to a DJI Tello drone!
“Having this opportunity to do this collaboration has been a wonderful and a great learning experience for all of us. It’s a great feeling to be able to be a part of something that could greatly affect the future of this nation especially towards building and nurture young talent career pathway in digital technology and am humbled to be able to be contributing ideas to such a cause. Things might not always go for the way we envisioned it but we made the best out of the situation and I am so proud of how the team navigated through those difficult times. We evolve just as much as the students throughout this event.” commented Azura Abu Bakar, Manager for Digital Talent Development at Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC).