Most people would look at their phones or chat with their companions before their movie begins in the movie theatre, but not Ms Sheryl Ng. In fact, she would pay close attention to the advertisements that play before the show starts as she has a penchant for analysing interesting ones.
"I would always think about the thought processes behind the advertisements and the amount of work that goes into them," says Ms Ng, who has always been interested to join the advertising and marketing sector.
When the time came for the 23-year-old to think about pursuing higher studies to gain the knowledge and skills to chase her dream career, her search for a suitable education institution led her to discover the Singapore campus of James Cook University (JCU).
The Australian university, which has a campus in Singapore, appealed to her as she has always been keen on studying in an international setting. This also meant that she would have many opportunities to meet people from all over the world with different backgrounds.
Ms Ng also decided to enrol in JCU as its trimester system allowed her to complete her degree in two years instead of the average three to four years, which would enable her to get a head start in the workforce and gain work experience earlier than her peers. JCU students are also able to take cross-discipline majors, which she thought would give her an edge in her career.
So upon completing her A levels in 2016, Ms Ng took up JCU's Bachelor of Business (Majoring in Management and Marketing).
Applying theories in real life effectively
After Ms Ng graduated from JCU in August last year, she joined marketing and advertising agency White Space Digital two months later as an advertising account executive. Her job involves conceptualising and managing marketing and social media campaigns for clients such as statutory boards like Workforce Singapore, National Environment Agency and People's Association.
Although she is still rather new in her job, Ms Ng is already making a positive impression on her team. Her supervisor, Ms Zerlind Koh, a senior account manager at the agency, is impressed with her positive attitude and creativity.
"Sheryl's strength lies in her desire to continuously learn and improve herself," she says. "She is accountable for her own projects and never fails to bring new ideas to the table."
Ms Ng feels that the numerous opportunities for learning relevant marketing skills as an undergraduate at JCU helped to develop her potential and capabilities. She recalls working on an assignment for the Interactive Marketing module that helped her to become familiar with different media and platforms. It involved creating and marketing a product on social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, and even filming a YouTube video with her group. What she learnt then came in handy for her current work that requires her to monitor, create and upload content on social media sites daily.
Other subjects such as Applied Marketing Research taught her how to organise and present survey findings for reports as well as analyse data. She adds that studying consumer behaviour has given her a better understanding about picking the right marketing approaches and campaigns for a target audience to achieve results.
"Through these projects, I was able to apply what I learnt in theory and in books to real-life experiences," she says.
Lessons beyond the classroom
Other than acquiring technical skills, working on group projects has also taught Ms Ng to communicate well.
She says: "While doing group assignments, I realised that it was important to overcome language barriers and communicate well so that everyone is on the same page. It is the same at work - it is crucial that we communicate with the different parties effectively to ensure that the deliverables and timelines are met."
Ms Ng gained confidence through such academic activities. She also picked up valuable life skills from being part of the JCU orientation committee. While planning for Orientation Games Day, she worked with Mr Joshua Ho, senior executive of Campus Activities. His dedication and passion in planning activities motivated her to be committed to her tasks.
She has learnt a lot during her time with the committee, such as managing crowds and organising logistics. She also became skilled in time management and being confident in public speaking.
Such are lessons beyond the classroom that she has reaped many benefits from.
Visit www.jcu.edu.sg/courses-and-study/courses/course/bachelor-of-business for more information on the Bachelor of Business and majors offered at James Cook University.