Universiti Malaya, or UM, Malaysia's oldest university, sits on a 922-acre campus in the southwest of Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia.
Every year, the university organise an orientation week, aka Welcome Week, for fresh undergraduates to prepare them into university life. Besides providing a platform for undergraduates to interact and engage among themselves, W-Week also fosters a sense of belonging in their social, and environmental context, which will help them to unleash their potential and develop into future leaders.
Other than your usual orientation itinerary such as engaging in team-building activities, the undergraduates also got to interact with invited business leaders, who spoke in a series of talks that aim to expose them to challenges in the corporate world, and prepare them for their future profession.
One such invited speaker was none other than our very own CEO, Terence Yao.
Upon arriving at the campus, we were immediately greeted by a team of student leaders, who escorted us to the green room—and were rather surprised that Terence showed up to present in his signature black tee-shirt and jeans.
"I'm here to share my success and failures. I'm not here to give a lecture. If I am to take a wild guess, the speakers before me all dressed in suits and ties. I wanted to leave a lasting impression!" Terence says, with a laugh.
And left an impression he did. Among the topics he shared, Terence also spoke of his admiration and friendship with Chris Gardner—whose memoir, inspired the 2006 movie, "The Pursuit of Happyness", starring Hollywood A-list, Will Smith.
In his hand, Terence also prepared an extraordinary gift to one lucky member in the audience—an autobiography signed by Chris Gardner, and specially flown into town just days before his speech.
The self-professed entrepreneur also highlighted the fact that he has no college degree, nor even a diploma. "But that did not stop me from learning. People always ask what is my biggest piece of advice. My answer? Never stop learning. Because life never stops teaching." he says, adding that complacency happens after most people graduate, and emphasized that the real challenge starts after school.
Terence also urged the young audience to embrace failure, and stressed that the only failure in life is not trying at all.
"Till this day, I don’t know any successful person who hasn’t failed many times before. The reason is simple. When you fail, you’re guaranteed to see results. They are either results you want, or results you don’t want. I live by the mantra of sometimes you win, sometimes you learn. Where most people see failure, I see another way that won’t work," says Terence.