KevinZahri.com

Career Choices

I studied Mechanical Engineering & Economics….what happened?

Like everyone else, growing up I had all kind of ambitions…..at 8 I wanted to be a policemen, maybe a firemen or even He-Man :D….in my teens, I tossed around the idea of becoming a lawyer or doctor…..pheeeew nasib baik tak jadi :D

Most of the time I wanted to be like my dad…a businessman. Since I was lil, my dad used to drag me around to his meetings and work..mainly because he was a single parent (thanks for everything papa :D) ….so you pick up things along the way

So nearing my SPM, my goal was to be a businessman! To be my own man..just like my dad. Being in MRSM, I was offered several scholarships before I actually got my SPM results….but as I was a pure science student, none would offer me a scholarship in Business….BUT I couldn’t imagine being an engineer either…..

So I thought to myself, I don’t need a business degree to do business…..so having a technical degree is not such a bad idea…if anything, I could combine use my technical abilities as a platform to do business.

Why Mechanical Engineering? Coz I was sponsored by Proton, yes the car manufacturer. So it was either Electrical or Mechanical Engineering. Since I’m a very visual person, I choose the latter.

How did Economics fit into the picture? When I entered university in the US in 1997, its relatively easy to do a minor in Business or another field. At first I wanted to minor in business but during that time (1997) the economic crisis in Asia really caught my attention. I thought it was really fascinating how a whole economy can stumble in just a few weeks (well it actually took a lot longer but for the laymen it seemed like a really short time).

Mechanical Engineering and Economics came relatively easy…probably coz I’m left handed and
mixed ;) hahahah but mainly because Americans aren’t very bright! They just talk a lot :D

Business Man – What about today?
Sure I have a degree in both (ME and Economics) but I never wanted to actually be any of the 2.
I wanted to be by own man….a business man. So immediately when I returned from the US (2003), I started about starting my own business…..but I had the following conditions
– I needed to be 100% in control of my business (not my dad or some other person)
– Something I am passionate about
– Small enough for me to manage
– Relatively low risk
– Potential for growth

Hence I formed Maxtrition.com.my in Dec 2004. From there I was able to build a foundation for myself and the company. What was my goal?
– start an eCommerce company
– establish myself as a Fitness Celebrity in Malaysia
– create a brand name for myself so that I can use my name to do business in the future.

Have I succeeded? Well its way way way too early to call it a success but everything has happened a lot quicker than I anticipated!

Conclusion? My advice to you

  • You don’t need degree in business to be a business man. If fact, you don’t need a degree in anything to pursue your dreams
  • Have control over what you do. If possible, never leave the decision making in someone else’s hand (like some Datuk etc). Sure you’ll need people along the way but don’t leave your fate in their hands!
  • Work Hard and Smart! A major key to being successful is not the idea itself but how you execute it. You have to be smart and rajin about your execution.
  • Start small! A lot of youngsters are too eager to be successful and often fall short. Take your time. Take it one step at a time!
  • Stay grounded. Kalau dah mula berjaya….jangan lupa diri. Like anything there will be ups and downs.
  • Have several plans. Think of it like a tree. For example, if my tree is maxtrition.com.my, start with a solid foundation and branch out into various business opportunities like
    • eCommerce
    • Corporate Talks
    • Writing
    • TV Hosting
    • etc
  • Build other trees, I believe in diversifying my opportunities. Knowing that one will not last forever. Just like when you invest…you should always diversify your portfolio…. that way you may not get the biggest returns but you have decent returns and most importantly, minimize your risks!
  • Know your strengths! I know mine….I know what I’m good at. Use your strength to your advantage and make the most out of them.
  • Experience! Theory alone doesn’t guarentee anything…you need to go out there and just do it….its ok to make mistakes…i make many along the way 2…. whats more important is that you fix them (kalau boleh) and learn from them. No one’s perfect.

I’m sure ada banyak lagi petua but thats all just theory and my own experience. Take life in your own hands and just do it…..If I can be an inspiration than thats awesome but me, my dad is my inspiration.

Kevin Zahri

I am a US certified personal trainer and nutritionist with over 12 years experience. Over the years, I have published over 10 books, written for Men’s Health, other fitness and lifestyle magazines, hosted TV shows and appeared on various TV shows, programs and magazines. I am also an avid corporate wellness speaker and web entrepreneur.

More about me here or follow me on Facebook or Twitter.

13 comments

  • Kalau muka Melayu tulen, takde nilai komersial, boleh ke dapat macam yg u dapat? nak buat bisnes modal bukan kecik, kalau pinjam bank belum tentu boleh survive bisnes tu dah kena mula buat bayaran. ramai yg bankrap sebab tak dapat nak survive mula2 buat bisnes. kalau muka antara dua benua, senang2 boleh jadi model iklan, skali berlakon iklan dah dapat bayaran lumayan… boleh buat modal bisnes.

  • anonymous….
    seperti mana yang I mention, you have to know your strength and yeah maybe your weaknesses too.

    I try to make the most of mine but end of the day it comes down to hard work and yeah knowing how to make the most of what you have :D

  • Bro, I think, there are always ups and downs whenever someone is at mid-career level or struggling towards achieving a career dream in life. I have some friends (who used to be a lawyer), and now, happily being a successful farmer. One of them is managing a resort in langkawi and another one doing event management. I think, it’s about believing in ourselves in whatever pursuits we are heading to. Inspirationally, the American Dream starts with the sell of lemonade. Achieve your dreams Kevin! Cheers and take care!
    Noris

  • Bro…. i used to learn Electric & Electronis Engineering back in my Technic School… when i enter college for my Diploma, i’d change my mind to take course in Medical Lab. Technology…

    Now i’d nearly completed my BSc. (hons) Biomedicine… but honestly bussiness it’s kinda hard for me.. i prefer to go abroad and be a Microbiologist researcher or any medical field that related to research.. heheheheh

  • “hahahah but mainly because Americans aren’t very bright! They just talk a lot :D”

    couldnt agree more with you!!! they can bla..bla..bla.. without stop… but sometimes it is good coz u can use them when dealing with the clients :-))

  • u see i dun really know who u r..n hvn’t heard of u before..but i happen to bump in ur blog for some reason..Inspiring..thanks! All d best to you.

Kevin Zahri

I am a US certified personal trainer and nutritionist with over 12 years experience. Over the years, I have published over 10 books, written for Men’s Health, other fitness and lifestyle magazines, hosted TV shows and appeared on various TV shows, programs and magazines. I am also an avid corporate wellness speaker and web entrepreneur.

More about me here or follow me on Facebook or Twitter.