Aren’t you tired of living life feeling like you’re on autopilot? Like you’re just going through the motions, mundanely weaving through your academics, social life and countless other responsibilities, with no excitement or little self-satisfaction. 

Whereas all around you are people who are thriving, fulfilled with what they’re doing, and you wonder, what can I do to be like them? Well, the answer to that question is simple – self-improvement. 

Self-improvement is defined as an integrated development process that evolves throughout one’s life and teaches us to be more self-aware, improve one’s personal abilities, and ultimately achieve our life goals. Self-improvement can bring about inner feelings of happiness and satisfaction with oneself. 

As students, the self-learning process starts by obtaining, honing and applying critical skills or competencies in our everyday life. We need to take time to invest in acquiring and growing new knowledge, skills, attitudes and values, which will help us to better succeed in our complex and dynamic world. Here are five key skills every student needs and why. 

1.  Problem Solving

The ability to solve complex problems in the real world is a valuable skill. In striving for success, it is important to focus on devising effective solutions to real-world problems. As risk and initiative takers, problem-solvers can work independently of higher supervision as they are unafraid to make and learn from mistakes while seeking to create more efficient and economical solutions.

2. Analytical Thinking

Students need the ability to think analytically. This includes being proficient in making comparisons, contrasts and evaluations, and then taking actions based on analysis without instruction or supervision. Routine manual tasks requiring linear thinking are being outsourced gradually. Therefore, it is important to instil the ability to perform analytical thinking as it empowers students to make effective and level-headed decisions in their personal and professional lives.

3. Collaboration

Students must possess the ability to collaborate seamlessly in both physical and virtual spaces, with real and virtual partners at any location. Connection and collaboration with others are essential not only to students’ learning but also to their mental and emotional health. With the upward trend of globalisation, it is possible for an organisation’s business partners to meet and work with each other online on a daily basis without the need to travel long distances. It is now a usual means of communication which achieves instantaneous and effective interaction.

4. Communication

With the existence of as well as an increase in methods of communication, students must be able to communicate in different multimedia formats and not just with text or speech. Communicating visually through video as effectively as they do with text and speech is a bonus to an individual. Encouraging yourself to develop and hone every aspect of your communication skills will serve you well in both your personal and professional lives.

5. Ethics, Action, and Accountability

A well-rounded and responsible global digital citizen can contribute towards a better world by practising personal, global, and online responsibilities. As an individual, we should be respectful of other cultures and belief systems and be diligent about being at our best when in our interactions with others, both online and offline.

In conclusion, these 5 key competencies can be very helpful and useful not only for future use but also in the present situation. Here in ICMS, we expose our Associates to all these key competencies through real-life project initiatives and interaction with Partners & Sponsors. All in all, embrace the inner force that pushes you towards self-improvement and seize the opportunity to grow and to make progress daily. To begin with, do drop your application and be part of the great team.


The International Council of Malaysian Scholars (ICMS) is a non-profit professional network of driven Malaysians students created in 2010. ICMS is designed for Malaysian students to develop their leadership capabilities, intellectual rigor, and career pathways through wholesome learning experiences. We create great impact in our Associates’ by realising ideas and empowering leaders. If you are a passionate Malaysian student looking to self-develop and contribute towards the empowerment of our youth, join us as we recruit for the 10th ICMS Council at

About the Writer

Esther Tan is an Associate of the ICMS-MY External Outreach & Publicity Division 2019/20 and an Accounting student in TAR UC aiming to pursue her ACCA professional papers. An active learner who constantly seeks to develop new skills to create an all-rounded lifestyle, she’s incredibly passionate about inspiring the people around her through her life-changing stories and experience.