IACT College has redefined the role of its lectures by adopting a subtle philosophy of “IACT Cares” and implementing Project-based Learning (PBL) pedagogy. Lecturers are mentors rather than mere teachers, where students are treated as they would be in the media industry and are guided to ensure student success. This is IACT College’s winning edge over other local institutions as witnessed by its recent wins in both, the 2014 Kancil Awards and 2014 Shell FuelSave College Competition. Both competitions were designed to target the youth market. Yet, it was the seasoned corporate experience, patience and perseverance of the lecturers that guided the students though the tribulations.
Esther Hon is one of IACT College’s Diploma lecturers with over 10 years as marketing practitioner in multinational corporations. Her students recently won first place in the 2014 Shell FuelSave Competition and winning RM15,000 worth of prizes. Clearly the teaching and mentorship proved to be a winning formula to be industry capable champions. Since the competition was a mirror to industry campaign roll-outs, it was crucial that Hon treated the students like young executives.
Hon describes the struggles started from day one from team formation, time management to convincing the students they had a chance of winning. “After their seniors previously won third place, that in itself triggered a hungry desire to outdo each other.” As much as it was an exciting event with lucrative prizes, Hon had to ensure that they were doing it for the right reasons and not be swallowed by the enormity of the competitive pressure. The hardest moment was to get them to develop the big idea. “Their facial expressions were glowing and beaming with enthusiasm and pride when they pitched the ultimate proposal. That’s when we knew we had IT.”
Penny Low and Yaw Quee Peng, lecturers with over a decade of corporate training, had a similar predicament with their Creative Multimedia and Graphic Design students when they were asked to pitch an idea to make Kentucky Fried Chicken the hangout place for youths and to rekindle their love for the brand. “IACT College had always stood for Award Winning Creativity hence joining the competition was a norm.” However, according to Low it was pushing the students to act and function according to industry standards that were the bigger concerns.
“The students went through the grueling process of getting their ideas thrown out repeatedly,” she grins. Though it’s common practice in the real world, the students were given the same pressure of sleepless nights leading to their Eureka moment. “It was around 3am when the students messaged their lecturers … but to complain they were going to give up!” Instead, Low motivated them to re-strategize their thinking process and to re-evaluate their teamwork approaches. Coaching moments like these lead students to believe they can do it with hard work and self-motivation, and is what makes IACT College students become specialists in their own right.