PETALING JAYA, Sept 30 — Foodpanda rider Mohd Akmal Azhar has won praises online after proving that it is possible to earn a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) while working as a delivery rider.
Speaking to Mstar, he said that his four-year PhD programme was in pharmaceutical technology from Universiti Malaysia Pahang.
The 36-year-old father-of-five from Kuantan said that he received funding to pursue his studies for three years, but had to find a job to pay his student bill for his fourth year of study.
"Before I pursued my studies, I was a contract lecturer but that changed when I decided to study to be a full-time student for my PhD.
"So I became a Foodpanda delivery rider from last year’s movement control order to help pay for my fees and to help pay for house expenses.”
As to how he was able to divide his time between his thesis and job, he said that he would do his deliveries till the Maghrib prayers.
He added that one of the obstacles he faced was making sure he was disciplined to clock out of his job to have time for his studies at night.
"I would spend at least an hour every night writing my thesis.
"Luckily, my lab work and experiments were all completed during the three-year period so for the past one year, I focused solely on writing my thesis.
"There were days that even required me to even head to the university but all was well as God was with me.”
He said that his willpower to study and complete his studies every night was fuelled by his passion to seek knowledge.
"Even as a delivery rider, I learned soft skills such as the art of communicating to customers, patience and the importance of utilising my time well.
"For me what’s meaningful is the journey in getting that PhD — and the skills I’ve learned along the process. And to pray every day to ask God for guidance,” he said.
He also hoped to contribute to his alma mater one day.