INTERNATIONAL Medical University (IMU) bridges the gap between school and full-time employment with stellar industry placement and mentorship programmes by connecting students with the industry players while enhancing experiential learning.

This is in light of the unemployment rate remaining a significant market challenge, especially among the youth.

According to findings from the Department of Statistics Malaysia (DOSM), there were 5.61 million graduates in 2021 – an increase of 4.7% compared with the year before. From the millions that graduated, 4.1% were unemployed – a decrease compared to 4.4% in 2020.

What’s more, marketability of Malaysian graduates dropped by 1.8% between the period 2019 and 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, revealed a graduate tracer study conducted by the Higher Education Ministry.

Therefore, it is imperative to give students a leg-up before they graduate.

According to Forbes’ article “The Importance Of Internships And The Invaluable Relationships They Bring”, internships and other industry-placement programmes go a long way in providing valuable training pathways.

IMU’s industry partnerships

IMU’s Industry Partnership and Career Development Unit (IPCDU) gives students the exposure to different fields of study as IMU has varied industry partnerships.

These partnerships range from healthcare providers such as hospitals, clinics, health centres and pharmaceutical industries to digital healthcare providers, complementary health services (chiropractic and traditional Chinese medicine), laboratory testing services as well as nutrition and supplement providers.

IPCDU has seen an increasing number of engaged partners in the last three years and hopes to introduce new and exciting activities to improve student participation in career development activities.

IMU’s industry engagement initiatives include job offers and memorandum of understanding (MoU) signing ceremonies.

For instance, IPCDU managed to secure 40 industry placements for the School of Medicine (SOM) with DOC2US last July through an MoU.

Internship programmes are held during inter-semester break – from two weeks up to six months depending on the curricula requirements.

Meanwhile, IPCDU often organises career development activities for IMU students to give them a better understanding of the job market, essential skills and opportunities for entrepreneurship.

This includes events such as webinars on the future of work and dialogue with CEOs that explore the future of the workplace as imagined by the partners, in light of Industrial Revolution 4.0.

The annual Graduate Career Fair is another platform which encourages industry engagement and industry partners are invited to be guest lecturers, internship preceptors and programme advisers.

With all these initiatives in place, IMU has also engaged with student’s progress via its Career Readiness Passports, which is a points-based system that rewards students’ progress and achievements based on their participation in career development programmes.

Available on a digital platform, this will provide data for personalised feedback to improve student graduate readiness.

Mentoring programme

IMU has gone the extra mile to provide mentoring and career guidance, and this has proven to be extremely beneficial to students as these mentors offer valuable insights and expertise that prepare them for the job market.

Priority is given to final-year students at the tail-end of their studies.

Mentors come from key sectors such as corporate, research, education, entrepreneurship and insurance. While mentors do not have to go through any formal training, IPCDU provides them with extensive frequently asked questions to help both mentors and students manage expectations and familiarise themselves with each other faster.

Meanwhile, students will be given personalised one-on-one meetings where they will have a chance to ask burning questions of career prospects and development.

At the end of the programme, both mentors and mentees are able to give each other a final review and assessment – where IPCDU is able to track the engagement between both parties.

The annual mentoring programme is part of IPCDU’s strategic plan to increase IMU’s visibility in the industry and the National Career Development Centre Association (NACDA) community as a provider of targeted programmes to improve graduate work readiness.

IPCDU is a member of the NACDA which consists of over 40 universities in Malaysia and currently, IMU is the only institution in the country which engages industry members to come on board as mentors for their students.

When both industry mentors and students are able to see the generational gaps and align work expectations, they are able to work together towards a common goal.

Another measure of success is when IMU gains new industry partners based on the strength and diversity of its graduate-readiness plans.

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