Going beyond with the American Degree Program

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Izzat Rahman strives toward one very simple goal: to start his own business. From the bustling city of Kuala Lumpur to the culturally and historically rich city of Philadelphia, Rahman has made an effort to live out his passions.

Rahman was a student at the American Degree Program (ADP) department at HELP University from 2007 to 2009. He was drawn to HELP because of its curriculum and felt that it was a good choice, especially for the program he wanted to do in Malaysia and later in the United States.

“Towards the end of my two years at HELP, I managed to apply to several schools on the East Coast of the US. I finally decided to transfer to Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. I chose Temple because it offered reputable business programs such as entrepreneurship, management information systems and risk management among others,” said Rahman.

“All of the courses that I took at HELP’s ADP were also transferable which made it an easier transition for me. Because [Temple] was located in Philadelphia, a city rich in history and cultural diversity, I felt even more inclined to explore and immerse myself.”

He then pursued a major in Business as he has always been interested in the subject since an early age and was keen on starting his own business someday. Now, Rahman is the proud owner of Kayuh Bicycles & Café, a bicycle repair shop cum café in the thriving neighborhood of Francisville, Philadelphia.

His driving force to start his own business began when he was studying at Temple University. He entered the Fox School of Business’ school-wide business competition, “Be Your Own Boss Bowl”, where students and faculty are encouraged to submit their business plans for a business idea that they have. If they are selected, they would then proceed to present the idea in front of a panel of judges.

Kayuh Bicycles & Cafe was one of the finalists for the undergraduate track for the competition. Inspired by the outcome, Rahman completed his degree at Temple University and went on to pursue the business plan.

Kayuh Bicycles & Cafe serves as a hybrid business model catering to the needs of the community. The business offers comprehensive bicycle repairs, spare parts and accessories. In addition to serving all the cycling needs, the cafe was launched in hopes of complementing the irregularity in sales for the bike business during the slower months. Currently, Rahman has two separate teams running the bicycle and cafe departments.

After almost six years in business, his focus has changed the dynamics of the shop by making it a more community-centric hub that offers free repair clinics, group rides, open mics and speaker events for the surrounding community.

“HELP was instrumental in giving me the platform to learn more about what I wanted to pursue. I had a knack for business and while I spent time studying the basic business courses, I was able to foresee what I wanted to get into eventually,” Rahman explained. He found the right place at HELP where he could build a strong foundation for what’s to come in his future.

“After transferring to the US, I learned how to work with a diverse team and made friends from Africa, South Korea, Nepal and the Middle East. It also helped me master the command of the English language and instilled the confidence to live abroad.”

In fact, when Rahman opened his business, he learned to be independent. He said that the most trying times were when he knew that he could not sit idle and expect help from family and friends. However, he managed to push through and achieve his passion with the help of a community of friends he built in Philadelphia.

“Whether you plan on opening your own business, I recommend you to take a leap of faith at some point in your lives and do something out of the ordinary. It can change you as an individual, hopefully for the better, and have a lasting effect, not only on your lives but also on others who you might meet along the way.”

The American Degree Program at HELP is two years of study that prepares a student to complete their Bachelor’s degree in the United States or Canada. Upon completion of most of the general education requirement and some pre-major courses, students can apply to transfer to a US or Canadian university of their choice. Furthermore, students may also opt to continue locally with HELP’s Business, Psychology or Communications degree programs after completing two years in HELP’s ADP.

The ADP department at HELP University has four intakes each year, with its upcoming intake in May 2018. For more details and information on HELP University’s American Degree Program, contact 03-2716 2000 or visit www.help.edu.my.


Izzat Rahman is a young Malaysian entrepreneur who started his journey at HELP University (American Degree Program).

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