6 Dec 2016 Pharmacy Graduate Ventures into IT Education Sector
Intrigued by the world of entrepreneurship, startups and digital marketing, Ng Khai Yong decided to venture into an industry which he perceives to be more challenging. Despite having an MPharm degree from University of Strathclyde, Scotland, he is now working as the Head of Growth and Marketing at NEXT Academy, an education institution which aims to empower passionate individuals with the skills and knowledge to build and grow tech startups.
Elaborating on what he does at NEXT Academy, Khai Yong said, “My responsibilities include growing the revenue of the company and making sure all our intakes are fully sold out. In the morning I would meet with my team of marketers for 15 minutes to go through the priorities of the day and address any roadblocks faced. Aside from managing the team, my daily routine is structured into ‘Business As Usual” (BAU) tasks in the morning and growth activities (innovation) in the afternoon.”
“The BAU tasks include launching new advertising campaigns across different digital platforms, answering prospect enquiries and working closely with my team members to crush through their priorities. On the growth side, activities range from interviewing and hiring, automating work using new technologies, business partnerships and strategising long term business goals with the leadership team.”
“We started off by offering 9-week, full time coding bootcamps and have since expanded into new verticals such as Digital Marketing, Mobile App Development and Web Design. Recently, we launched 2 new programs – Digital Marketing and Web Design and I’m currently the Program Director for both verticals, in-charge of ensuring quality education, mentorship and classroom learning experiences”.
Prior to taking the leap into a different industry and upon graduation, Khai Yong was posted to Hospital Pakar Sultanah Fatimah, Muar for his PRP training. “It was a big change from the cozy lecture halls in Glasgow to the hot and humid, busy environment in a public hospital. I worked alongside many capable, experienced and kind-hearted colleagues, from senior pharmacists to pharmacy assistants and even PRAs/PKAs. I could not imagine surviving in the hospital setting without their guidance. For my FRP years, I was in charge of procurement of medicines in the Pharmacy Store of Putrajaya Hospital – ensuring a constant supply of drugs and medical equipment to the hospital.”
Even though he loved helping patients, Khai Yong always wondered how he could make a bigger impact in the world. “Wanting to learn more about the world of entrepreneurship, startups and digital marketing I would spend my nights learning new skills online and reading books related to personal development. When I returned to KL for the weekends I would attend seminars and meet up with successful people to learn from them. Back then, online learning courses and materials were not readily available so I had to connect the bits and pieces of information I’ve gathered from multiple sources (offline and online) myself. In my case, change did not happen in an instance, but after years of equipping myself with the right skills, I finally made the leap.”
Khai Yong started studying for his degree in pharmacy at IMU and then transferred to University of Strathclyde for completion of his pharmacy degree. Recalling his time at IMU, Khai Yong said, “The MPharm programme was initially quite challenging for me, as I was not from a “Pure-Science” stream back in high school (I did IT, sub-science). However, my hard work paid off and I was able to keep up with my peers.”
“I shared many fond memories with my pharmacy classmates, seniors and juniors alike. Some of my best times include spending many hours in the students’ lounge mingling with students from other faculties. I was also lucky to become the President of the Foosball Club, eventually leading the Pharmacy team to win 2 consecutive gold medals during the annual IMU Cup.”
Transferring to University of Strathclyde and studying overseas definitely helped Khai Yong to broaden his horizons and opened his eyes to new experiences, such as the Scottish culture and the way education works in the UK. “There were also many unforgettable experiences. For instance, for my final year project I had to take a bus to a distant Scottish town where I interviewed patients in a pharmacy for several weeks. It was there where I really got up-close and personal with the Scottish folks.”
All in all, Khai Yong believes that university life definitely taught him a lot of things – organisational skills, how to think and behave more independently and how to be more responsible in managing different aspects of his life, from his health and fitness to studies and even money. It has also given him the opportunity to collaborate and work with teams from diverse backgrounds, giving him invaluable experience which greatly benefited him in his work life.
His motto in life would be “If you have a burning passion or desire, pursue it. Read a lot. Put in the work. Do. Surround yourself with like-minded people. Never give up without a fight. Keep learning and keep pursuing knowledge, for the rest of your life.”
Read about Khai Yong being one of the panellists for a symposium.