University Malaya Top Student Awarded Fast Track for PhD

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2017 Kuala Lumpur – University of Malaya awarded  a rare “PhD Fast Track Offer” to an exceptional graduate, Tham Kuen Wei who was the president and founder of the National Union of Real Estate Students of Malaya (NURES) in 2014. He was instrumental in gathering Varsity graduates to unite and push for property management reforms, creating a greater awareness on regulation of property management in Malaysia. On top of that remarkable achievement by a young graduate, Tham receives the Royal Education Award from the Rulers Conference of Malaya which goes to the top stu­dent from the Univer­sity of Malaya (UM) being the lat­est ac­co­lade earned by the high achiever.

Tham was se­lected based on his il­lus­tri­ous aca­demic and in­tel­lec­tual ac­com­plish­ments on both the na­tional and in­ter­na­tional fronts. The youngest of three chil­dren from a fam­ily of ac­coun­tants, Tham’s par­ents and two sis­ters are all in that pro­fes­sion; ad­di­tion­ally, his fa­ther, Stan­ley, is a feng shui con­sul­tant as well.

The youngest of three chil­dren from a fam­ily of ac­coun­tants, Tham’s par­ents and two sis­ters are all in that pro­fes­sion; ad­di­tion­ally, his fa­ther, Stan­ley, is a feng shui con­sul­tant as well. Tham, how­ever, chose to study Es­tate Man­age­ment in UM. From the start, Tham’s road to suc­cess had been smooth. He re­ceived his early school­ing from St Michael’s In­sti­tu­tion and the Pa­hang Ma­tric­u­la­tion Col­lege. Dur­ing that time, he achieved straight As for his UPSR, PMR, SPM and Ma­tric­u­la­tion ex­ams. In 2011, Tham was a re­cip­i­ent of the Kings’ Scout Award con­ferred by then-Perak Crown Prince. In UM, Tham rep­re­sented his var­sity in many in­ter­na­tional events.

He was a mem­ber of the first team from a Malaysian univer­sity to win the Pa­cific Rim Real Es­tate So­ci­ety’s (PRRES) 2015 In­ter­na­tional Case Com­pe­ti­tion in Christchurch, New Zealand. Pre­vi­ously, he was named Best Pre­sen­ter at the 4th Royal In­sti­tu­tion of Char­tered Sur­vey­ors (RICS) & Royal In­sti­tu­tion of Sur­vey­ors Malaysia (RISM) In­ter­na­tional Con­fer­ence for Un­der­grad­u­ates, and also rep­re­sented Malaysia in such in­ter­na­tional English de­bat­ing tour­na­ments as the United Asian De­bat­ing Cham­pi­onships in Manila and the Aus­tralasian De­bat­ing Com­pe­ti­tion. Pre­vi­ously, he was named Best Pre­sen­ter at the 4th Royal In­sti­tu­tion of Char­tered Sur­vey­ors (RICS) & Royal In­sti­tu­tion of Sur­vey­ors Malaysia (RISM) In­ter­na­tional Con­fer­ence for Un­der­grad­u­ates, and also rep­re­sented Malaysia in such in­ter­na­tional English de­bat­ing tour­na­ments as the United Asian De­bat­ing Cham­pi­onships in Manila and the Aus­tralasian De­bat­ing Com­pe­ti­tion.

Be­ing well-versed in global is­sues, Tham was cho­sen to rep­re­sent Malaysia in the Bi­en­nial ASEAN Youth Lead­ers’ Sum­mit in 2014. Then last year, he tri­umphed at the Deloitte Na­tional Risk In­tel­li­gence Chal­lenge Tro­phy.

Not only was Tham an ex­cel­lent aca­demic per­former, he was also heav­ily in­volved in cocur­ric­u­lar ac­tiv­i­ties. While an un­der­grad­u­ate, he was on the Dean’s List for four terms.

Said Tham: “All un­der­grad­u­ates should fully utilise their time on cam­pus by tak­ing part in ac­tiv­i­ties that help their aca­demic as well as char­ac­ter de­vel­op­ment, mix with peo­ple from all back­grounds so as to learn from each other, and en­gage more in so­cial and wel­fare-based ac­tiv­i­ties.”

This he demon­strated in his in­volve­ment in or­gan­is­ing the first UM-FAB Post Dis­as­ter Re­con­struc­tion Mis­sion to re­build homes for flood vic­tims in Ke­lan­tan, vol­un­teered by ral­ly­ing stu­dents to read for the vis­ually-chal­lenged com­mu­nity in UM, set up a car­pool­ing sys­tem to re­duce car con­ges­tion on cam­pus, was in­volved in projects to im­prove fac­ulty ameni­ties for stu­dents, and em­ceed var­i­ous events.

He was also the stu­dent rep­re­sen­ta­tive in the UM Stu­dent’s Coun­cil for the 2014/2015 ses­sion, was pres­i­dent of the Na­tional Union of Real Es­tate Stu­dents in 2013, pres­i­dent of the Real Es­tate Stu­dent So­ci­ety of UM in 2015, and vice-di­rec­tor of the UM-As­sump­tion Univer­sity Real Es­tate In­te­grated Project to Thai­land in 2015.

In recog­ni­tion of his ac­tive par­tic­i­pa­tion and lead­er­ship ex­cel­lence, the Univer­sity awarded Tham its Anugerah Ke­ce­mer­lan­gan Akademik Tuanku Bahiyah and Anugerah Pemimpin Gemi­lang Siswa in 2013 and 2014, re­spec­tively.

To cap it off, he re­ceived the 2016 Royal Ed­u­ca­tion Award for his ex­cel­lent lead­er­ship skills, co-cur­ric­u­lar par­tic­i­pa­tion and aca­demic prow­ess.

Tham was also awarded a research fund from Khazanah Nasional, Malaysia’s largest sovereign wealth fund to conduct research into Real Estate Finance at the height of 2015-2016 real estate bubble in Malaysia, looking into non-performing property loans and macroeconomic factors in Malaysia. His early publications included “Macroeconomic Determinants of Non-performing Property Loans in Malaysia and its Paradoxical Effect” and “Factors Influencing the Malaysian House Price Index”.

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