Yilan Hong (MA Advertising and Marketing 2014)

Yilan Hong

Tell us about your degree - Why did you choose it?

As one of the largest higher education institutions with its prestigious membership in the Russell and N8 groups, the University of Leeds has a rich heritage, well known for its quality of teaching and research. That was important when I made my decision because I wanted to be recognised and further my career path not only in UK but also worldwide. 

What was your course like?

As an international student, I was both nervous and excited to start my degree in an unfamiliar environment. But only when you come here, you will realise that it is a unique opportunity that you can hone your skill-sets and expand your horizons. Through the one-year course, you will not only study advertising which requires you to be involved in creative design but also place you in the role of research and analytics from marketing perspectives. The modules are really practical and interesting. If you like branding, promotion, communications, research or creative design, this is the right choice for you. I especially liked seminars which brought together small groups for discussing what we learnt from lectures. It taught you a fresh approach to the subject which is something we lack in our home countries. 

In addition, the curriculum provided students with so much real-world experience and thus a smoother transition from school to career. For example, you will learn skills and gain knowledge on employability where you can be advised how to prepare for the constant changes in the job market. The project, which is an alternative to doing a dissertation, enables you to cooperate with a specific company that is more in line with your own interests. Special guest lecturers from renowned companies will also be invited from time to time which gives you a real industry insight. 

What was the best part of your studies here?

The University provides a large selection of studies, good lecturers and an excellent social life. 

For social life, I highly recommend Leeds Student Union and you can take advantage of the huge range of new activities, societies and clubs on offer there. I met my best friends there when we attended Global Café activities. It puts people sharing the same interests all together and you can meet many new people from all over the world. It was also there that I was elected to be the international secretary for East Asian Research Society. It has enriched my experience and enhanced my teamwork ability as I was required to work with British students to promote events and help those Asian students who are in need.

I loved staying in Leeds. It is such a student-friendly, dynamic city with plenty of opportunities for going out and having fun. You can fully use the location advantage of the University of Leeds to experience a wonderful life. It is just 15 minute walk to the city centre where you have all you need. Pubs and clubs are just several minute walk from the University. 

Do you think the experience and skills you gained here will help you in your future career plans?

Of course! Thanks to my lovely and helpful teaching staff, I have finished my studies and am undertaking a marketing internship. It is a stimulating job where you have the opportunity to be creative and now I am working with lots of interesting people on many exciting campaigns. I still remember in the last interview session, the company asked me to do a case study about a specific company. I quickly recalled what I had learnt on my course and applied some theories which were useful to this case. It was not surprising to get the positive feedback and I think that’s part of the reason why I won this internship opportunity in a leading marketing agency.

It is also worth mentioning that the Career Centre has made undeniable contributions to my success. They give you so much useful advice including, but not limited to, proofreading your CV, conducting mock interviews and organising one-to-one deep discussions about your career path.

How do you think the Business school improved your employability?

The Business School organises a variety of events. For example, it invites famous opinion leaders from different industries to deliver speeches and you can also meet successful alumni at events where you can have close interactions. Plus, the Business School has been constantly investing in improvements to facilities, ensuring every student can benefit from a state-of-the-art learning environment. It is also equipped with the career department particularly taking care of Business School students. In addition, you will get the latest relevant positions via your school emails almost every week. Some are only exclusive to students from Leeds University.

You need to fully utilise your time to attend different school activities. I have done a lot of things during this year such as participating in volunteering work, attending different job fairs and seminars as well as running for the positions of the school societies. All these things can help you to practise your skills and make you more confident of your experience when being asked by employers. Another thing is perseverance. The whole process of interviewing for my current company lasted for one month. I followed up three times after the face to face interviews both via email and telephone. It is also a great way to show your sincere attitude that you really want to get this job.

What are your ambitions for the future?

As a fresh graduate student, I think I am not firm enough to say what my long-term ambition is in the future. But I understand I need to start building a strong presence in the marketing industry where I can work for a progressive company that I respect and doing a job that I enjoy. I always believe that only doing things step by step can bring great achievements. But I hope in the near future I can have a higher esteemed position in a reputed company and be the person who has enough experience and ability to share my stories to others.