Muhsin Abdul Ghani who hails from the small town of Wakaf Baru in Kelantan is the son of a former religious school teacher and businesswoman. It is not at all surprising that his mother’s entrepreneurial spirit has rubbed off on him and catapulted him into the world of entrepreneurship with architecture as his selected line of work. In this interview with Top 10 of Malaysia, Muhsin Abdul Ghani, CEO of MAG Builders Sdn Bhd touches on his passion for architecture, the challenges faced and his advice for aspiring entrepreneurs.
Born in September 1973 to a teacher and businesswoman who opened her first mini market in 1975, Muhsin Abdul Ghani grew up with the influence of his mother’s business ideals. When he was furthering his studies at Universiti Sains Malaysia and his results fluctuated, he had a tutor who helped him excel towards the end of his first year. After that, he pursued a degree in statistical mathematics.
“I was nearly expelled again until I got inspiration from my roommates at the time. They were doing management and architecture studies,” Muhsin shares. He soon realised his passion for architecture and enrolled into a double degree architecture programme.
Completing his studies after 5 years, and armed with a double degree in Housing and Building in Architecture, he received an Anugerah Pelajar Dedikasi certificate at graduation. Then, he had a brief working stint with his cousin before securing a job at a local architecture firm as a Project Architect, where he handled projects. “As a novice, I often excused myself during meetings to call friends in the same industry for advice. As the years passed, I realised that I didn’t have to rely on them so much anymore as I noticed that I eventually gained much more experience,” Muhsin explains.
He then received a promotion and soon after that he started his company – MAG Builders Sdn Bhd situated at Batu Caves, Gombak and took on housing projects worth over a million. Muhsin explored interior design for kitchens and went on to establish MAG Interiors Sdn Bhd and MAG Steel Sdn Bhd in 2007. This was followed by the formation of Mag Architect Sdn Bhd in 2016.
Muhsin’s projects are carried out in locations from Damansara Heights to Hartamas, where the name MAG Architect is now popular among the elite. A major project in Damansara Heights involved the combining of two semi-d bungalows into one big bungalow in which the kitchen and parking was conjoined. Another major project Muhsin completed for the late Dato’ Seri Ismail, a former Maybank director was in Tropicana Indah and had cost RM6 million. Additionally, his recent project involves a bungalow for the cost of RM10 million.
He shares that metaphor and enigma designs are essential to have a great combination of aesthetics and structure for a home. “Contemporary or modern house designs are widely accepted in countries like America, whereas it is quite a challenge here as most people are content with traditional house designs,” Muhsin adds. This is not to say there aren’t any adventurous types as there is a house he built in Shah Alam which follows the design theme of spiders.
Furthermore, Muhsin struggles with dyslexia but constantly strives to grow his business further. His vision is for younger architects to gain inspiration from his designs someday as he hopes to grow into a household name and be on par with top architects. Thus far, the challenges he faces when growing his companies include sourcing for workers and managing finances. However, years of experience has taught him how to read his clients and cater to their needs.
When asked of how he manages a healthy work-life balance, he has this to share. “I leave work at work and vice versa when it comes to my personal life,” Muhsin says. His wife works alongside him handling the finances as he manages employees with firmness and respect. He ensures a gap between himself and employees to maintain the respect for each other’s positions.
His advice for those starting out in entrepreneurship is to start from the bottom and manage resources. “Managing resources is important when growing the company and brand. Be humble, progress slowly and do not rush it when building your company,” Muhsin shares.