Charger blue and gold runs deep for a family whose home in Malaysia is nearly 9,500 miles from the West Haven campus.
Baharom Hamzah and Nur Ashikin Muhammad both completed their bachelor’s degrees in 1985 and then the MBA program in 1987. They were back on campus earlier this year to attend the graduation of their daughter, Suzanna Binti Baharom’12 MBA.
“It will be like seeing myself walking across the stage, receiving my diploma,” Nur Ashikin predicted less than 24 hours before Winter Commencement in January. “I am very happy for her. I know she will do great things.”
A few weeks after graduation, Suzanna returned to Kuala Lumpur to become the assistant group manager and executive director of Romstar, a pipeline inspection services company, started by her father, that works with many of the major suppliers of crude oil, including Exxon, Mobil and Shell.
The company’s sophisticated research and development efforts have created proprietary technology that places it among a select group of 16 companies worldwide that use “intelligent pigging services” to inspect off-shore and on-shore piping. Romstar is one of only five companies that operates worldwide.
The company employs 90 people, including engineers and scientists from India, China and other countries around the world.
“The BP disaster happened because of a lack of monitoring pipeline conditions,” explains Baharom, who serves as the managing director and CEO.
Baharom and Nur Ashikin, who works in procurement at Romstar, came to the United States in the early 1980s as part of a Malaysian government-sponsored program. They spent a semester at New Hampshire College (now Southern New Hampshire University) where they met, before coming to UNH.
In Malaysia, Baharom worked in agriculture, but upon arriving in the United States, he started his education in business.
“One of the best parts of my life was living in the States,” says Baharom. The family might be returning stateside again soon to celebrate another graduation, as Suzanna’s youngest brother is considering attending UNH in the near future.
The family talked about the differences in the teaching style in Malaysia compared to the United States. In Malaysia, students aren’t able to ask questions of their teachers, while here, discussions between students and professors are encouraged.
Suzanna credits her MBA experience for introducing her to people who eagerly embraced her ideas and perspectives. The group projects, presentations and hands-on learning opportunities instilled in her the confidence she’ll draw from in her new position at Romstar.
“I believe I’m very prepared for my new responsibilities,” she said.
Posted Fall 2012