In 2017, celebrity chef and TV host, Brian Chen, took up the #OUMBeyondArtistesChallenge, which is a joint initiative by OUM and celebrity alumnus, Dr Soo Wincci, to encourage local artistes to pursue higher education. With this encouragement and a scholarship, the 33-year-old artiste, more fondly known as Abang Brian, pursued the Master of Education programme and graduated on 22 September.

HOW WAS YOUR GRADUATION?

Up to the moment I walked on stage, I was in a state of disbelief… it seemed like just yesterday that I started on my journey. I remember telling my classmates, “It’s ok, just do only!” Like Dory in Finding Nemo, my classmates and I “just kept swimming” and well, here we are…honestly, I had to hold back the tears as I walked on stage as this would be my highest educational achievement that represented my calling in life.

WHY DO CELEBRITIES NEED HIGHER EDUCATION?

I believe that whether one is a celebrity or not, learning is lifelong. My mentor, Dr Soo Wincci, once said, “Be more than just a pretty, momentarily hyped up facade that will fade away with time. Question your core and develop that.”

DID YOU FACE ANY DIFFICULTIES AS A LEARNER?

Between running a cooking school for kids, doing TV and radio shows, writing cookbooks, running food branding campaigns, and of course, trying to be a good son, it is hard to find time to study. Having a great group of classmates who were as motivated and persistent kept me going. I am proud to say that all in our little nerdy group graduated with distinctions. The flexibility of e-learning provided by OUM helped greatly. Talk to anyone who works with me – teachers, CEOs, chefs, TV producers, actors, TV or radio hosts – and they will tell you that they have seen me in the midst of the chaos of the kitchen, school or TV studio, either reading a physical textbook or accessing myINSPIRE, to keep up with my studies.

WHAT WOULD YOU SAY TO THOSE WHO ARE WORRIED THEY CANNOT WORK AND STUDY AT THE SAME TIME?

Haiyoooo, can one lah! Just keep going one step at a time!

HAVE YOUR STUDIES TRANSFORMED YOU IN ANY WAY?

I am now a better educator and have greater confidence in leading my group of teachers at my cooking school for kids.

WOULD YOU LIKE TO SHARE ANYTHING ELSE?

I believe in the power of prayers and besides appreciating the strongest prayers of my mother, I would also like to thank everyone including the good people at OUM who only wished the best for me. I will be pursuing my PhD in Education, hopefully with OUM too, and I would be more than humbled if you would all join me on this journey again!

Read more at http://oumeducation.oum.edu.my/

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