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Friday, August 21, 2015

Fashionista's University Review: INCEIF, Malaysia

This is my first university review.

And (I hope), there'll be many more to come. Inshaa Allah.

I've always wanted to do my PhD and I think that this has to do with the fact that both my parents are PhD holders (in an age without google, science direct, elsevier, emerald insight *gasp*) and when I first made the decision to study at INCEIF, I wasn't able to gain more information on the university except for the university's website, official twitter and official Facebook page. So, I hope this post will help future students of INCEIF gain insight on how it feels like to study at INCEIF.

Firstly, what is INCEIF?

INCEIF is a university that offers programs exclusively in the field of Islamic finance (and nothing else) so it is basically a meeting point that brings together a group of scholars (professors, associate professors, lecturers, tutors etc) and students who are involved (or would like to be involved in) the field of Islamic finance. The name, INCEIF is actually a short form for International Centre for Education in Islamic Finance.
There's not that many programs in INCEIF (because of its specialised nature) and all programs are postgraduate programs (i.e. they offer masters and PhD programs only). This is good (in my opinion) because the students basically already have done their undergraduate somewhere else (so they're not green out of high school), the classrooms are small and cosy (the maximum number of students in a class is about 40, but that would be rare, usually depending on the subject, there'd be around 6 to 20 students in a class), and due to the small setting, the relationship among the students and their professors are more intimate (in a sense its easier for you to develop a close relationship among your classmates and get to know each other well, and also it's easier for you to approach your professors because there's only a small group of students in the class and it's also easier for him or her to address any questions in and out of the classroom).
The university itself is located right next to Universiti Malaya at Lorong Universiti A (right off Jalan Universiti, the small road where KFC is located) so if you're a travelling student (like I was in the first semester), to get to the university you can take a cab for RM7 from University Station or wait for the shuttle (INCEIF provides free shuttle service at scheduled hours) at Taman Jaya Station.
There's only three buildings, one is the academic building (where the library, classes and academicians are located) and the other two building are for administration, bursary, and ISRA researchers.

Secondly, why INCEIF?

I chose INCEIF simply because it offers only Islamic finance programs which is the area of research that I would like to specialise in (there're other universities that offer PhD in Islamic finance such as IIUM, UNITAR and UiTM which you can check out if you like) and also because I knew that because of it's specialised nature, I'd be mingling with people who already are (and are hoping to be) involved in the area of Islamic finance. Thus I would be learning about Islamic finance and also be able to network and hear on what is actually happening in the field from those who are working in the industry.
Another reason for me to select INCEIF is because the PhD research program is coupled with courses (i.e. I'd have to pass the courses and also a comprehensive exam before undertaking my PhD research), I feel that the courses would help me to enhance my understanding in the different aspects that are related to Islamic finance such as Islamic capital markets, Islamic accounting, Islamic economics, risk management, etc and this would provide me with a broader view of Islamic finance compared to if my PhD is involved strictly in research.

What have I experienced so far?

What I genuinely like about the university is the atmosphere. I love the fact that the students are always so helpful with each other and there's a certain brotherhood (or sisterhood) feeling that you get with each other.

Here are some photos of my experience at INCEIF:

New students' registration are usually accompanied by orientation day and this was my orientation day. This is Daud Vicary Abdullah, the President and CEO of INCEIF.

A typical classroom at INCEIF. This photo was taken during our Tajweed session with brother Ziyaad Muhammad. 

Fiqh Muamalat class with Assoc. Prof. Ahcene Lahsasna.

A typical class discussion between students and their Professor. This one was taken during Islamic Economics class where brother Alam Asadov was discussing on gold dinar with Prof. Zubair Hasan.

Sometimes we have Professorial Lectures. So this one was taken off Prof. Abbas Mirakhor's discussion of the book by Thomas Piketty, Capital in the 21st Century.

Sometimes we also have visiting Professors giving talks to us, this one is Sheikh Prof Dr Ali Muhyi Al-Din Ali Al-Quradaghi. It was in Arabic so Assoc. Prof. Ahcene became his interpreter.

We also have bankers coming to share on what's happening in the industry. This is Dato' Mohd Redza  Shah Abdul Wahid explaining to us on what's in the pipeline for investment accounts (post IFSA 2013).

We also have Fire Drills...

And visits from other universities. These are my students from UiTM and I am glad to say that one of these students will be joining INCEIF to do his masters next semester =).

PhD Colloquiums are also held once every few months.

And dedicated syndicate rooms for group discussions 

For more information on INCEIF, feel free to check out their website [here], Facebook page [here] and twitter [here].

To life-long learning

xoxo Mrs Fashionista