Wong Wee Siong

Student recognises the importance of paper qualification and enrolls in degree programme after completing Diploma in Culinary Arts.

“I had actually been working for a month after completing my Diploma in Culinary Arts when my mother advised me to pursue a degree to enhance my career prospects,” says Wong Wee Siong who opted to enrol in Nilai University’s BA (Hons) in Business and Hospitality Management programme.  With a diploma under his belt, Wee Siong was entitled to forgo the first year of the degree programme. “Although I had planned to work to gain experience and some pocket money, I agreed with my mother that a paper qualification is important when applying for supervisory and managerial positions. Given that I had a great time at Nilai University during my diploma programme, I was quite happy to return to do my degree there.”

Wee Siong’s enthusiasm for cooking started from when he first worked in his eldest brother’s bakery. “After the many initial mistakes, seeing the loaves of bread that I made emerge from the oven filled me with pride. From that moment, I had wanted to be a chef. I joined Nilai University based on the recommendation of a friend who spoke positively about the teachers and the learning environment,” he explains. While his practical classes in the kitchen and dining room were his favourite lessons, Wee Siong says his best student experience was with Nilai University Mixology and Flair-tending team. He recalls many anecdotes about the students’ initial fumbling before becoming well-versed in both areas. “We practised for many hours after class and the lecturers were always there to guide us. They gave us the confidence and the belief that we can do well in competitions,” says the 22-year old, who hails from Johor Bahru. “I cannot stress the importance for our students to get involved in these competitions. It builds character as you have to be disciplined to train for long hours over many months. You will also get used to performing under pressure.” Wee Siong also notes that entering competitions helps to impress future employers and also to network with industry professionals. “I was actually hired by one of the judges at a competition to work in his bar. He was obviously impressed by my flair-tending skills,” he smiles.

Although he admits his new degree programme is far more difficult than his Diploma in Culinary Arts course, he still found the time to compete in this year’s edition of the Monin Cup. He hopes more students will follow his lead and join Nilai University School of Hospitality and Tourism. “There are many programmes to choose from and students will be entering an exciting industry allowing for opportunities to see the world and meet interesting people,” he says. As for Wee Siong, his plans for the future is to own a bar and restaurant where he will get to show off his culinary and flair-tending skills. Given his enthusiasm, it would not be surprising if he succeeds sooner rather than later.

Nilai University School of Hospitality and Tourism offers Diplomas in Culinary Arts and Hotel Management. Those wishing to pursue a degree can opt for the BA (Hons) in Business and Hospitality Management programme. For more information, you may browse the website or call 06-8502308.