What does it take to climb up the corporate ladder in one of the most powerful brands in the world?

The tips were shared by Hajah Melati Abdul Hai, a Vice-President and a Chief Marketing Officer from McDonald’s Malaysia to Master of Business Administration (MBA) students and talent management enthusiasts at Azman Hashim International Business School (AHIBS), Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM).

Hajah Melati has over 20 years of experience in the world’s leading global brands. She served Nestle and PepsiCo prior to joining McDonald’s Malaysia 10 years ago. Hajah Melati is also a Regional Representative of Asia Business Unit for the Global Women’s Leadership Network (GWLN) advisory committee, an initiative to provide women a platform to discuss further issues on professional and personal development.

A webinar conducted on 27th June 2020 via Zoom, was part of the Leading Talents in Organisation (LTO) course for the MBA program at AHIBS. Under TalentTalks series, guest speakers from the industries are invited to provide first-hand of industry-based perspectives on topics concerning talent management and leadership.

Featuring McDonald’s Malaysia exemplifies the focus of the LTO course to develop participants’ knowledge and skills in managing self and leading others through talent management interventions. The company is widely recognised for its people commitment after winning several awards including the Best Employer Award, the Commitment to Talent Focus Award, and the Best Company to Work for in Asia.

The company’s policy to employ 100% Malaysians, as well as a notable presence of senior citizens, are other evidences that highlight its people’s commitment. Under a special Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) with UTM, managers at McDonald’s Malaysia now have the opportunity to extend their in-house programs to a full-fledged AHIBS MBA.

The participants gained perspectives on related topics of human resource, leadership, personal development, marketing, and strategy. Some take away messages from the talk: leaders need to cultivate genuine people relationships; engage in daily self-reflection; listen to understand not to answer; love what you do; and follow the leader instead of the company when making career moves.

The MBA participants who consisted of working professionals at the most productive phase of their career have shared positive feedback as follow:

“One may read and learn about inspiring individuals and possibly aspire to be like them. But it takes high conscientiousness to know the potentials (and limits) of oneself and be the best version one can be. I concur with one of her many statements; Follow the leader, not the company. The way I see it is if the leader represents the brand and the values of the company, you’ll naturally follow the company because the two are not different. In the end, it’s about who you are as a person and the values you hold dearly.”  Syafiqah, An-Nur Specialist Hospital.

“A well-thought content that resonates with MBA audiences from diverse backgrounds. Small bites-size of sub-topic presentation makes it easy to digest and relatable to our daily lives. Love the part ” listen to understand, not to answer”.  Khomar, Telekom Malaysia Berhad.

“We really enjoyed listening to Madam Hajah Melati’s sharing. It was very informative, genuine, thought-provoking, and well prepared. The transition from slides to slides was very smooth, we didn’t realise that it was going to end and we wished that we could learn more from her. It’s a great pleasure to learn from a very knowledgeable, experienced, friendly, and beautiful Madam Hajah Melati from McDonald’s Malaysia. Good job to AHIBS for this industrial talk.” Nurhasmiza, UTM.

“We have to listen to customers, there is no one size fits all plan’. This phrase is deeply rooted in my mind after the talk. Truly grateful to have someone influential and successful from the industry to share her story on the company’s success in managing business and how they manage talents. Thanks to AHIBS for always making efforts to link students with the industry people so that the learning is practical ” Shu Har, Air Traffic Controller, CivilAviation Authority of Malaysia (CAAM).