Thursday July 12, 2012
In the Ivy League, thanks to Bank Negara
By AMINUDDIN MOHSIN
KUALA LUMPUR: Bank Negara scholars Zul-Fadzli Abu Bakar and S. Mahalatchmi will be among the few Malaysians entering Ivy League universities in the United States this year.
Zul-Fadzli will be one of three Malaysians enrolled in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), whereas Mahalatchmi will be the only Malaysian at the prestigious University of Pennsylvania Wharton Business School.
“We'll be leaving for the US on Aug 25. We've completed our pre-university requirements and are sitting for a few final preparatory courses conducted by Bank Negara,” said Mahalatchmi.
The former SMK Convent Klang girl who scored 10A+ in her Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) said she would not be forgetting her favourite pillow when she leaves for the US. She is also worried about how her parents will cope while she is away.
“I'm the youngest of three siblings and when my twin elder brothers started working, I kept my parents company. I'll miss them and I hope they'll be all right,” said Mahalatchmi, who said she loved Latin dancing.
Zul-Fadzli quipped he might miss Malaysian food a little more than missing his family.
“But seriously, I'll miss them and the local food equally. I can imagine what it's like being there. My school seniors who studied in the US say it's hamburgers, hamburgers, hamburgers. I'm Asian, I need rice!” he said.
He said his biggest fear was the culture shock he might suffer while trying to assimilate with the local community.
“I'm afraid I might be bewildered by American culture and society. I don't want to be overly reserved nor do I want to lose my identity. I will have to strike a balance between the two,” said Zul-Fadzli.
He said he would have to keep an open mind while at the same time stay true to his principles.
The future banking professionals will be bonded to Bank Negara for 10 years, but according to Mahalactchmi, it was a non-issue.
“I think I will be staying on past the 10 years, because I would rather be where policies are made than working for a corporate bank that carries out these policies, even though they may offer better pay,” she said.
Zul-Fadzli said he could not think of a better start to his career than at Bank Negara.
Mahalatchmi and Zul-Fadzli also shared some of their views on economics and finance.
“I believe that with western economies in turmoil, eastern economists will play a pivotal role globally as they would be required to provide solutions to many of the world's financial problems,” said Zul-Fadzli.
Mahalacthmi explained that it was imperative to learn from the blunders made by policymakers in shaky economies to chart Malaysia's national economic policies based on local considerations.
“We must study various economies, but we cannot simply follow in their footsteps because what suits their country may not suit ours,” she said.