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More in this section Alumni Profiles

Xuefei Yuan

Studied: MA Asia Pacific Business

Graduated: 2009

Place of Work: MetaDesign

Position: Account Manager

What were your main reasons for choosing Royal Holloway?

It’s a reputable university and an acceptable distance from London, so you can experience the city and also have the campus lifestyle. A couple of friends had studied at Royal Holloway and they highly recommended it to me. You are also able to share resources with other University of London colleges; I used to visit Senate House and other libraries to access their reading rooms and resources, so it’s pretty convenient.

Why did you choose to study Asia Pacific Business?

Initially my major was European Business, but I transferred to Asia Pacific Business because I think that this particular market has a lot of potential and I want to work in the countries that make up the region in the course of my career. The course itself won’t provide you with the detailed knowledge you need to work in this region, but it does enable you to develop methods of studying and researching that will help you in the future. The traditional Chinese education system is very different to that in the UK; in China you are given all the information and your task is to remember it, so there’s not much room for independent thinking. In the UK, the lecturer won’t give you all the answers, but they will teach you how to find them, from research, to writing papers and presenting your findings. That’s great, because at work you are expected to be able to think for yourself, solve problems for yourself, be that acquiring all the relevant details from a client brief or providing solid analyses of the information. I think that this skill of independent thinking is something that only the UK education experience can provide you with.

What is your fondest memory of Royal Holloway?

The experience that you get is very different to other universities because of the campus. You become very close to your classmates, studying together, socialising and eating together – it’s pretty cool. During essay and examination periods, everyone comes together to discuss the course material, offer advice and new ways of approaching the problems raised. Even in those pressured situation we were still able to have fun. I have kept in contact with most of my classmates from Royal Holloway and, even though we live across the world, we are still able to meet up with each other, sometimes just for a casual dinner one evening you might happen to be in Hong Kong or something. Studying at Royal Holloway was a very international experience.

Were you part of any societies?

I participated in the Chinese Society, getting involved with singing and dancing competitions and photo shoots. A memorable event was the karaoke competition that took place in front of hundreds of students in the Windsor Building. Only being there for one year meant that I didn’t have so much time to participate in extra-curriculars, but I do think that societies represent a great opportunity to develop your soft skills and get to know other people.

What was your favourite aspect of the course?

The UK university where I completed my undergraduate degree was quite different to Royal Holloway. They didn’t have as much experience dealing with Chinese students and that could be quite tough. Royal Holloway was a much more supportive environment. The tutors were great, always ready to help you, even if you caught them outside of their office hours. If you had questions about the course, most of the answers could be found in the course booklet, so we went to our tutors about other, more personal issues.

Tell us about your role at Metadesign.

As an account manager I am responsible for managing the client relationship, as well as managing client projects. My clients include VW, Nokia-Siemens and Financial Times China, and we are also working with local Chinese companies. It’s not necessary to go out to find clients because we have built up a good client base, so I focus on managing our existing clients. I work with my clients to deliver branding strategy, and then transfer the strategy into points that we can implement. I make sure that the project is well executed, delivered within budget and on time, so I’m multitasking from start to finish. During quieter periods I will look at business development for the local companies. Some of them are growing really quickly so it’s a pretty exciting place to be.


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