In this Uni to Career Success story we get the inside word on what it’s like to work in the New York of the East, Hong Kong.
What is your current position?
Senior Recruiter at Bloomberg in Hong Kong. I look after the recruitment process for Sales, IT, Project Management & Electronic Trading types of positions.
What is the Australian expat community like in Hong Kong?
Roughly 8% of the Hong Kong population are Aussie expats, so there are quite a few Aussies living abroad in Hong Kong along with many other nationalities from around the world eg. American & British. It really is a multi-cultural city with lots to embrace & explore & is very much seen as a Financial hub for work. It’s a bit of a cultural shock at first as the local Chinese are very different to us Aussies in terms of the way they think, their lifestyle, their cultural values & the way they do business. There are lots of sporting clubs in Hong Kong which is where a lot of the Aussies meet up eg. The Rugby Club, The Cricket Club etc. There are also lots of Ex-Pat Associations & Forums that Aussies are connected to as well.
What course did you start at University, which Uni?
Human Resources & Marketing Australian Catholic University at North Sydney
What did you graduate with?
Bachelor of Business - Major in Human Resources
Did you know what you wanted to do for a career when you started studying? My marks in year 12 were really good in 3 Unit Business Studies & I quite enjoyed the HR subject, so when I finished school I went to TAFE to do a 1 x year HR Certificate to see if I really liked it or not & if I wanted a HR career. After that I went onto obtain my Business Degree at University.
Why did you choose your course?
A Business Degree can get you anywhere in life, it’s pretty broad & covers the basics.
Was it hard to change courses?
I didn’t change courses, but other people did & I think it was relatively easy to get credits & get into other courses of interest.
What did you most enjoy about your course?
Meeting new people over on the North side as I grew up in the East. None of my friends from high school went to ACU so it really put me out of my comfort zone. ACU is a really small Uni which I also liked, so the classes were more personal. I really enjoyed the Marketing minor subjects that I completed as well. The practical work experience element was also really good. I remember for one of my subjects, Business Ethics, we had to do community service & helped out with delivering food to the elderly with Meals on Wheels. It really focused on giving back to the community & that not all businesses should just be in it for the profits.
What did you do straight after Uni?
I got my first real HR job as HR Co-ordinator at a 5 star hotel in Sydney. It was really good grounding & hospitality is a great industry to start out in.
Where is the best place you travelled since finishing school?
What a hard question! how can I choose? I’ve been to lots of amazing countries since finishing school. Italy & Greece would have to be up there. I also recently visited Boracay in the Philippines which was pretty amazing too.
Could you give a brief description of the different positions you have held since graduating uni and any highlights.
I spent 1.5 years in the HR Co-ordinator role at Sir Stamford Hotel, then I moved onto working in a similar role at Multiplex in the Construction industry, then I moved to London for 2.5 years & that’s where I discovered internal recruitment was what I wanted to do. It’s the best part of the employee lifecyle & HR overall. Highlights for me in London would be working for British Airways recruiting for Cabin Crew. The Assesment Centres were lots of fun! London was also where I got a foot in the door in HR in Finance where I worked for M&G Investments. Then I moved back to Sydney & I spent 4 x years as a Recruitment Specialist at ING. Working at ING would have to be the best job I’ve had so far, the company culture, the people & working environment were awesome. I have now been living in Hong Kong for coming up to 2 years in my current role at Bloomberg who are a leading provider of Financial News, Data & Analytics. My Hong Kong experience has had many ups & downs. People say Hong Kong is like the New York of the East, so if you can survive here you can survive anywhere! The shopping, roof top bars & opportunity to travel around Asia are all a plus.
What piece of wisdom would you give to yourself as a Year 12 student?
Don’t worry if you haven’t figured out what career you want to have - it’s hard to know at such a young age! Certain life experiences will happen & you will realise where your key strengths are & that will lead you to your chosen career. Even though I’ve had a pretty solid HR career since finishing Uni I still have moments where I wish I did Marketing or Events or something more creative & I think about completely changing career paths! I think it’s also normal these days not to just have the same one job for life. People take different career directions, make sideway moves etc & it’s not all about climbing to the top & becoming CEO!
Business/Commerce/Economics style courses
Bachelor of Commerce (UNSW) – 2012 ATAR 96.30
Bachelor of Commerce (USYD) – 2012 ATAR 94.05
Bachelor of Business (UTS) – 2012 ATAR 93.00
Bachelor of Economics(USYD) – 2012 ATAR 90.25
Other success stories - Sarah, Business Strategy at Morgan Stanley Private Wealth Sydney
Hong Kong Facts
- Population - 7 million
- It boasts one of the world’s highest per-capita concentrations of cafes and restaurants at one restaurant for every 600 people.
- It has the most skyscrapers in the world, with 8,000 buildings having more than 14 floors, almost double that of New York.
- Personal income tax or salary tax starts at 2% and goes up to 17% for income above HKD 120,000.
- The official languages of Hong Kong are Cantonese and English
- Hong Kong boasts of more Rolls Royce cars per person than any other city in the world
- Hong Kong is one of the most densely populated areas in the world with more than 7 million people packed into 415 square miles