02 Aug 2018

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What Makes a Great University?

We all have that one family member that makes you feel bad about yourself, right? That member of your family who makes you feel like you’ll always be inferior to him or her.
In my case, it’s my cousin who’s studying in Harvard University all the way in the US of A. He’s in a foreign country, living the dream life of travelling and partying while getting a degree from one of the top universities in the world!

What. A. Life.

Doesn’t it make you wonder though, what made Harvard into Harvard? At one point in time, it would have probably just been a local, neighborhood university. A far cry from the prestigious status its name carries now.

The same goes for places like Oxford University, Cambridge University, Hong Kong University, or the University of Melbourne.

At one point, they were all just fledgling education centers. What exactly turned all these universities into world famous ones? 

More importantly, what factors would drive someone to seek admission in these universities before any other? (Hint: It’s not really the attractiveness of the students. Though, that doesn’t hurt either.)


“All great things take time.” 

That quote has never been more applicable than when talking about famous universities. It takes years and years and years to establish an educational center. Many more years than most of us would imagine!

Harvard was established in 1636 in Massachusetts. Oxford was founded way back in 1096 while Cambridge has had its roots traced back to 1209. Hundreds of years in every case allowed these places to develop a reputation for quality and excellence.

However, it’s not just universities in the western world which have a storied past.
A few private universities have been around for a sufficient amount of time now to be considered well established in our very own sunny Malaysia!

City University Malaysia, in Petaling Jaya, was founded in 1984 by numerous dedicated academicians from both local and overseas universities. That means, if it were human, it would be old enough to be a parent to school age children! 

In the last 34 years, City University Malaysia’s reputation has grown exponentially and it has managed to position itself near the top of the pyramid. It’s not just the amount of time it has been around though as City University Malaysia’s vision of commitment to excellence and perfection have been followed strictly all throughout the last 34 years, allowing it to stand out amongst the others.

Alumni and Modern Teaching Methods

Mark Zuckerberg. Barrack Obama. Bill Gates. Matt Damon.

Seems like a random group of ridiculously successful individuals doesn’t it? Turns out, it’s not that random. In fact, all 4 of them have been students in some form or the other at Harvard University. Though of course, a few of them didn’t complete their courses (I’m looking at you Zucks), Harvard can still boast them among its notable alumni.

Universities which produce individuals with successful careers tend to produce graduates who are well equipped to deal with work place challenges. The emphasis is not just on rote learning for exams. Often, intangible skills such as communication and mindset are taught in top universities and these extra bits and pieces make all the difference in the careers of the alumni. 

Accordingly, City University’s focus on developing skills outside the classroom is stronger than ever. The Art and Design faculty, for example, allows students to interact with full time professional models and host their own fashion programmes providing invaluable experience even before they graduate! The Faculty of Education and Liberal Studies meanwhile, provides automatic access to the City-U Media Club which further fosters development in communication skills. 

Courses and Employability 

“What’s worse than being a coal train engineer in 2018? Being a coal train engineer with a degree.”

Or so the joke (apparently) goes.

A university is only as good as the education it offers. An institution training the next generation in employable, applicable and relevant fields will always have a greater reputation than one in which the degrees offered are none of those things. 

The best universities tend to update their programmes offered as the needs of the local and international market changes, ensuring that the value they offer their graduates is always up to date.

For example, courses which focus on the rapidly occurring digital revolution are those which are likely to provide a satisfying and prolonged career to the young adults who choose to pursue them.

A Bachelor of Graphic Design or a Bachelor of Multimedia would be perfect examples of courses which would seem to be perfect fits as we move further into the digital era.

With up to date courses comes easy employment. City University Malaysia, boasts a dizzyingly high track record of employability for their graduates straight out of the blocks. Their art and design faculty has a 99% employability …