Leveraging an enterprising spirit to raise work productivity

Double majors in Management and Entrepreneurship/ Marketing have equipped JCU Bachelor of Business graduate Rueburn Liang with leadership skills to drive change at his workplace

Graduating from JCU with a Bachelor of Business (Majoring in Management and Entrepreneurship/ Marketing) has enabled Rueburn Liang to become a strategic team leader at tech company Netpluz Asia. PHOTO: TED CHEN

Senior Marketing Manager at tech company Netpluz Asia Rueburn Liang calls himself an "intrapreneur". The 35-year-old says the term describes him well because running a department is almost similar to running a company.

After completing his studies at the Singapore campus of James Cook University (JCU), he graduated with a Bachelor of Business (Majoring in Management and Entrepreneurship/ Marketing) in 2011. He attained entrepreneurship skills to understand processes and strategies to motivate his team and improve the productivity of resources.

He says: "Entrepreneurship is not about making profits as the primary goal, but creating value and changing how people perceive and understand things."

As head of marketing at a small and medium-sized enterprise Netpluz Asia with a workforce of 50, Mr Liang drives its digital marketing, creative, and branding and communication initiatives. Since joining the company in 2017, he has streamlined processes in his department to increase productivity for the company's digital communication channels and campaigns.

For instance, Mr Liang implemented an automated programme to relieve the marketing department of performing repetitive tasks such as data collection and sending emails, so that team members can focus more on strategic goals.

He explains: "With multiple channels of engagement through digital marketing, such as social media, emails, websites and live chats, the automated programme lets us keep track of all our campaigns under a single platform."

The art of communication

Growing up, Mr Liang had always dreamt about managing his own business. His aspiration was influenced by books such as Robert Kiyosaki's Rich Dad Poor Dad series, as well as business leadership seminars and conferences he attended.

He enrolled in the Bachelor of Business programme in JCU when he found out that the university placed a lot of emphasis on project work that would enable him to acquire practical skills for the workplace.

"I've always believed that communication skills were critical for my career," he says. "With assignments and projects done in team or group formats at JCU, I knew that this was the kind of education where I could acquire practical skills for my career."

As a student at JCU, Mr Liang had plenty of opportunities to lead group projects. As a result, he has gained leadership skills as well as learnt how to communicate effectively with people from all walks of life. His classmates came from all around the world, including China, Sweden, Sri Lanka and Vietnam.

"I'm very competitive by nature so the whole experience taught me how to manage and communicate with team members of different backgrounds to achieve what we set out to do."

Thanks to JCU's emphasis on project work, Mr Liang was able to develop and hone his communication skills. PHOTO: TED CHEN

Building leadership skills

Mr Liang's majors in Management and Entrepreneurship/ Marketing have also equipped him with skills to excel as a marketing professional.

For instance, learning about consumer behaviour has expanded his perspective towards the buyer's journey, while modules like Leadership System Thinking and Negotiation have taught him to apply strategic marketing methods to communicate effectively with audiences.

Learning from inspiring lecturers with deep industry knowledge has further enriched Mr Liang's knowledge of marketing concepts. He says: "I learnt a lot from Dr Donald Tan and I am thankful that I was assigned to him for most of my marketing modules. They were mostly theory-based, so having him relate real-world case studies definitely helped my coursemates and I understand how marketing plays a role in business."

Apart from being a team leader for academic projects, Mr Liang was also the co-captain of the JCU basketball team. He became the unofficial public relations ambassador for the team as he was able to bridge the communication gaps between team mates from different countries.

He has brought and applied these same communication and leadership skills to his current job. Two years ago, he received the Netpluz Best Employee Award after receiving the highest number of votes company-wide.

"I believe that I received the award due to the positive relationships I cultivated at work," he says. "My Entrepreneurship major, in particular, has formed the foundation of how I manage my professional life, be it negotiating, presenting, storytelling and brand messaging to data analytics-driven decision making and financial budgeting."

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