Serene is currently employed as a government executive officer. She is an alumna of the HKBU School of Communication and a lifelong learner. The road to success has not always been easy, but driven by her passion, Serene has faced the unknown to develop a successful career. Her courage and curiosity have ensured she has made the most of every opportunity to develop her abilities and shine. She has now returned to the School of Communication to share her knowledge and experience with those who hope to follow in her footsteps.
Never could Serene have dreamt that knowledge acquired as a student of Communication Studies at HKBU would prove fundamental to her success.
Spark of Education
Serene graduated from Hong Kong Baptist University with a major in organisational communication (ORGC). At the time, it was a three-year undergraduate program. When she first arrived on campus, Serene was undecided about which major to choose. However, after chatting with senior communication students at the orientation camp, she happily chose Organisational Communication.
Fast forward to today, Serene is proud of her identity as an ORGC graduate. “The School of Communication is a place that nurtures students to become well-rounded professionals,” says Serene. At the conclusion of the three-year program, Serene had mastered a wide range of soft skills including leadership skills, communication skills and problem-solving skills.
These skills have allowed her to successfully compete with other candidates in the job market and to secure her current position. Indeed, Serene has found that academic knowledge and practical communication skills acquired in the ORGC concentration have had broad application in the real world of work.
Courage is essential to become a success in the workplace. Without it, we shrink from new experiences and stagnate in our careers. Serene took advantage of the learning opportunities provided by the school.
“I participated in the exchange programme for one semester in the United States. The overseas study adventure was truly a great experience. I met people from very different backgrounds, experienced a brand new culture and grew as a person. My courage allowed me to broaden my career horizons,” says Serene excitedly.
Studying at a US university which promoted a proactive classroom learning culture gave Serene the opportunity to develop further at a personal level. “The exchange programme helped me to develop confidence and a greater sense of independence, to widen my social network and improve my English language skills,” says Serene.
While at university, both in Hong Kong and the US, Serene was determined to equip herself for life after university. For example, she met a Taiwanese professor, whom she came to regard as a mentor and friend. “He treated each student as an individual. He had the ability to empathize and share ideas to help students think broadly and strategically about how to pursue opportunities.” Through this relationship, Serene came to appreciate the importance of preparation and planning. Various internship experiences reinforced such abilities.
“The internship experience allowed me to apply academic knowledge in real business contexts,” Serene explains. She believes this opportunity provided experience that gave her a distinct advantage when she entered the workforce. As if to prove the point, four years ago, Serene secured her dream job as a government executive officer.
Serene’s humble attitude has taken her a long way. “I believe the true way to learn is by giving: giving your time, your energy and your passion,” Serene stresses. “In the process of giving, your heart will tell you where your true interests lie.”
Serene took on several work roles before landing her current role as a civil servant. She was at various times, a bank manager, a market research analyst responsible for content creation and a website manager.
Striking a healthy work-life balance as a means of performing well at work was recommended by a friend. Taking this advice on board and putting it into practice represented a turning point in Serene’s career and has enabled her to perform at her very best.
In her current role as an executive officer, Serene has had job rotations to different government departments every two years. To date, she has worked in the Home Affairs Department, the Marine Department, and the Leisure and Cultural Services Department.
Serene is hosting the Marine Department Union Cum Dinner
“I love my job because I am able to experience a completely different type of work every two to three years without changing companies,” she revealed. Serene has gained insight and expanded her skill-set from her current role.
Serene knows success is not an overnight phenomenon. She urges students to make the most of their four years at university to prepare themselves for the challenges that lie ahead.
Serene believes, “Friends are assets that enhance the quality of your life and sometimes even assist your career”. She encourages students to build a wide social network while at university. This can be achieved by joining societies and participating in extracurricular activities such as the unique “huts” activities in the School of Communication.
Serene’s experience at the School of Communication was one of belonging to a large nurturing family which she found to be a rich source of support. She hopes the current crop of students will take advantage of this. “Take the initiative to ask questions,” advises Serene. Ask for advice from teachers and fellow students and embrace the possibility of success in the foreseeable future.
The Last Word
No one can shine overnight. “Life is full of unknowns, which sometimes leaves us overwhelmed. Yet, with clear future goals and a good dose of courage, anyone can become a rising star”.
Authors: Yammie Chan Ho Ying, Kimmy Kwan Wai Yiu, Otila Cheng Tsz Ying, Judy Cheung Yin Yan, Tavia Kan Man Yi (ORGC3046 Class 2021)
Edited by Dr. Michelle Huang