Looking back at the last 15 years or so of my life, I can definitely say that I’ve been through a lot. In 2006, I suffered an accident at work that left my right hand badly injured. But I didn’t see this as a hindrance, and enrolled at OUM in 2011, graduating with a Bachelor of Manufacturing Management (BMM) in 2017. I enrolled again in the Master of Safety and Health Risk Management (MOSHRM) programme in 2018, and graduated again this year!

Working and studying part-time was not easy. I had to re-sit several papers in the MOSHRM programme, and because of the pandemic, going through the last leg of my study online was tough. But at the end of the day, I can say that OUM has had a positive impact on my career.

I now have two qualifications, and both are meaningful in my line of work. Once I completed the BMM, I had the opportunity to sit for the Steam Engineer (Grade 2) exam at the Department of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH). Thanks to what I already learnt in the BMM programme, I was exempted from one part of the exam, and only needed to complete the remaining two parts.

This bonus qualification then led to my promotion as acting mill manager in Bintulu. I was already busy with the MOSHRM programme then, so when I was again promoted to mill manager in Kluang, I transferred my study from Sarawak to Johor. I then sat for the Steam Engineer (Grade 1) exam at DOSH, and passed early this year.

As a mill manager at a palm oil processing facility, I manage almost 100 staff, and am in charge of many aspects related to crude palm oil and palm kernel processing. I’m also responsible for ensuring safety regulations are met.

My BMM qualification helps me perform my daily tasks, like in manpower management, maintenance and cost control, and material purchasing. Meanwhile, my MOSHRM qualification is essential in ensuring the prevention and reduction of accidents, and that safety precautions and procedures are in place.

I want to be an expert in this field and go for a top management post someday. I want to be a good role model to my children too: they must work hard in their schooling and be responsible in whatever jobs they will hold in the future.

If you asked me 10 years ago where I would be today, I wouldn’t have been able to imagine any of it. From a humble family with nine children, I am the first to have a master’s degree. My father Subramanian was also a mill manager, and my mother Saraswathy took care of the whole family.

OUM has been the bright light in my life, and I owe so much of my success to this University.

Saravanan Subramanian was born in Tanjung Malim, but his job as mill manager has taken him from Sarawak to Johor. He is now 43 years old and lives in Seremban with his wife Selvanagananthini and their three sons.