JA Malaysia Mall

We Are What We Learn

Interview with Qamil Mirza – Ex-YE Managing Director | Head of Marketing and Communications at JA Alumni Asia Pacific
Written by JA Malaysia Alumnus – Richelle Khor

             Aspiring to emulate the intensity of the astronomical phenomenon, “energetic” and “brilliant” became the key philosophy of Nova Enterprise when it was established in 2019. Other than loud noises, the young, buzzing team from SMK Bandar Utama Damansara (3) also adorned the programme with their great strides in innovation, upholding the legacy to be one of the highest performing schools. Leading the team of masterminds was Qamil Mirza bin Abdullah, whose intricacy of thoughts earned the confidence of his teachers and peers to elect him as the Managing Director. Although he graduated the programme two years ago, he decides to extend his journey with JA and is now the Head of Marketing and Communications of JA Alumni Asia Pacific.

            Who would have fathomed that the emcee who interviewed Datuk Nicol David during the recent JA Malaysia talk series was remarked as being ‘abnormally quiet’ by his teacher in primary school? By a turn of serendipity, the responsibility of Managing Director was suddenly entrusted to Qamil, “It was a quote by Richard Branson that manoeuvred me to accept the position- if somebody offers you an amazing opportunity but you are not sure you can do it, say yes – then learn how to do it later!” In retrospect, the development has been massive, the explosion of potential parallels that of a supernova; when one registers that the weekly meetings, sales plans, company reports and departmental coordination were manifested on the foundation of zero leadership experience.

            Already invested to venture into business at a young age, JA provided Qamil a workspace that amalgamates the elements of team culture and financial literacy. The exposure he gained galvanised him to initiate his own start-up, exiting the safe space to a zone where he is no longer shepherded by any advisors. “The Young Enterprise programme was very useful in giving me initial ideas but as there are aspects that cannot be replicated, I feel that I just have to learn by starting my own business.” Funding is not secured anymore and in the quest of gathering capital, he develops his business philosophy, which is to be persistent in creating more resources from an ungenerous reservoir. Nonetheless, his passion does not dwindle in the face of perturbations, “If it fails, just start again. That is how business works.”

            During the interview, Qamil highlighted the importance of time management to save his juniors from the misconception that there is a trade-off between co-curricular activities and academic performance. JA programmes enrich students’ cognition and they must not be daunted by the fallacy that the immense workload would only result in adverse impact on their studies. “I worked until 3am every day, consistently checking my phone 24 hours. Realisation hit me that I was micro-managing everything and from that point onwards, I started making good use of time log and Google calendar.” In fact, it was JA that boosted his grades. His enthusiasm in entrepreneurship directed him to data science research, in which he discovered the practicality of additional mathematics in constructing blockchain algorithm that is often neglected by school teachers. The genuine joy of learning after realising its true merits and the impulse to examine and interrogate theories ultimately elevate his grade from E to A, recording one of the biggest leaps in his academic endeavours.

            Being a strong advocate of life-long education, Qamil urged for the rectification of mindset. Education should not be perceived as checkpoints; students ought to cultivate true appreciation for learning in order to master intrinsic knowledge. To view education as index-linked missions holds wisdom in shackles; if such misapprehension is deeply rooted, Malaysian students will be barred from the potential liberty of human minds and can never be competent enough to excel internationally. Qamil’s ambition to create a knowledge-driven society that empowers technology prowess requires a proper motivation of learning. Stay curious, seek deeper understanding and utilise the gadget closest to you- your phone.