From MSc Marketing & Strategy to Head of Planning at Emerging Communications: Rocky's journey as an MSc alumna

11 April 2019

WBS MSc Marketing & Strategy alumna Rocky Chi shares her experiences of studying at Warwick Business School, and how she’s gone on to put them into practice in her current role of Head of Planning with full-service marketing agency, Emerging Communications.

Deciding to take a career break to become a game changer

Mine is quite a different story from the majority of Chinese students who pursue postgraduate study in the UK, as I was a career-break student. After three years of very stressful working experience in the China headquarters of a global marketing agency, I reached my career bottleneck. I was too busy to have any headspace to look at things critically and strategically as I was drained in endless tasks. I knew I needed a change, and when the MSc Marketing & Strategy course appeared on my radar, I knew it was right for me – I wanted to be a game changer!

Breaking down the pieces of what I thought I knew, and reforming them

Without an education outside of China prior to my year at Warwick Business School, and after years away from student life, it was not always easy for me to meet the expected standard of academic excellence. Everything was new and challenging, and I would say that the year was a journey of breaking down everything I thought I had already known, and then reforming from the pieces.

I learned a lot from my peers, especially their critical thinking and strategic approach, especially from small group projects. Some of my favourite modules included a focus on service marketing, and design in business.

I knew it wouldn’t be easy to pause a career in my home country to pursue an overseas Masters degree, however it was to become so much more than just a degree to me! I believe that WBS trained me up, or more specifically, reshaped me, to become a real problem solver, solution provider and game changer.

You don’t learn marketing in books, you do it

As a career break student, taking on a consulting project was a good fit for me. I would recommend this route to anyone looking to take this course at WBS. I would say that this was really valuable, once in a lifetime experience.

There is a saying in Chinese; ‘You don’t learn marketing in books, you do it’, and I still firmly believe this. I took on quite a challenging project, in which I couldn’t use any of my established knowledge or experience, and really tested myself with this.

Rocky graduating from WBS in 2016

Feeling empowered to use my knowledge from WBS in the real-world

I was very lucky to find a position at a full-service marketing agency, Emerging Communications, following graduation from WBS. We help global brands to connect with, engage, and sell to Chinese consumers. In the last three years the business has grown very quickly, and we have managed to distinguish our services through marketing level consultancy and strategy, and our expertise in strategic planning expands into all sectors and includes very niche or complex business-to-business contexts.

Working in a dynamic start-up is nothing like my previous experiences in established global companies, but surprisingly I uncovered a much bigger vision here and then built the consultancy division from scratch. I couldn’t have achieved this without my MSc year; it’s given me the ability to see what others don’t and make a difference. I’m sure it’s not just me that feels this way about how WBS empowers its students.

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