Jeric from Malaysia, web developer at MSLGroup
Jeric Yuen Juin Keat
Studied: BSc (Hons) Information Systems at Lancaster University and Sunway University in Malaysia (2008 to 2010); MSc E-Business and Innovation at Lancaster University (2010 to 2011)
Now: Web developer at MSLGroup UK
‘Always remember to keep learning, meet new friends, have fun and enjoy life too!’
That’s Jeric’s advice for new students – and his own life policy! Find out how his bachelor’s degree – a partnership programme between Malaysia’s Sunway University and the UK’s Lancaster University – inspired him to join a UK master’s course, and how an internship kickstarted the career of his dreams…
What drew you to studying in the UK?
‘For my bachelor’s degree, I studied Information Systems at Sunway University in Malaysia, which has an academic partnership with the UK’s Lancaster University. My background has always been in business and technology, and I am very proud to have graduated with first-class honours from a degree programme that is validated by Lancaster University.
‘The quality of education convinced me to further my studies abroad, so I applied to the master’s programme at Lancaster University in the UK. It has been a great experience in terms of knowledge sharing, cultural exposure, working in real-life projects, and making new friends with people from different parts of the world.’
How did the teaching style in the UK compare to Malaysia?
‘I feel the style of teaching in my UK master’s degree is almost the same as my bachelor’s with Sunway University, mostly due to the fact that the BSc is a collaborative degree that is validated by Lancaster University. I would say the quality of UK education is excellent, which influenced me into coming to the UK for my MSc.
‘Lancaster University also did a very good job by having a lot of clubs and societies. I’ve learnt to manage my time effectively throughout my year there – focusing on my studies as well as enjoying myself by volunteering for Green Lancaster (an environmental society) with an organic garden. I was also a Student Ambassador, part of the team managing events on graduation day.
‘I was chosen by Green Lancaster to represent my university for the UK-Aware Programme in London, which showcases how technologies and big companies are playing their part in making the world a better environment for everyone. I also participated in a data workshop for the Internet of Things Day, and another event on 'Harnessing Collaborative Software and Social Media for SMEs'. Both events were great in terms of exposure to sensory technology for open data, as well as gaining insights into how SMEs (small and medium-sized businesses) are approaching social media.‘
Jeric on the University of Lancaster campus – looking colourful after Holi, the festival of colours!
So what’s your current job and company like?
‘MSLGroup is a leading communications agency based in central London, producing insight, creativity, brand, talent and corporate communications for clients such as Sainsbury’s, Aviva, The Coca-Cola Company, Unilever, Alcatel-Lucent, GlaxoSmithKline and KPMG.
‘My responsibilities in the company are split between web architecture, development and strategy. I’m given the opportunity to influence the digital maturity of an agency by leading the development and implementation of the Umbraco CMS (content management system) for some really astonishing corporate websites, working alongside big, interesting and demanding clients.’
How did you get the job?
‘I started applying for jobs several months before the end of my MSc course. Other than applying for graduate programmes, I took another approach and did some research into digital agencies in London. I sent out applications for internship programmes as well, and was offered a 6-month internship in MSLGroup’s Development team. The Development team and the culture in MSLGroup are absolutely amazing. At the end of my internship, I was offered a full-time position in the company.
‘I’ve noticed that especially in the creative and digital industries, what attracts employers the most is not your study experience or exposure at university, but what you did differently or in addition to your education – the extra-curricular activities that you might have participated in.
‘There’s a stiff learning curve in the technological industry, as we all know that technology evolves through time, which means that in order to follow the trend and to keep myself up to date with technologies, there’s a need to constantly keep learning. I always think of learning new things as a fun thing to do, and you just don’t get bored doing it at all.’
Jeric (first row, far left) with friends on graduation day
What advice would you give students hoping to work in the digital marketing industry?
‘For those who would like to experience working life in a digital agency, or even those who wish to know more about the industry and to find out if you fancy working in such an environment, there’s always the opportunity for a short work placement.
‘Most of the digital companies might not advertise work placements on their site, but don’t feel shy to send them an email enquiring about work placements for two weeks or even a month, just to get a feel for the environment. Lastly, always remember to keep learning, meet new friends, have fun and enjoy life too!’
What are your ambitions for the future?
‘I am passionate about the development work that I am doing at the moment, and I’m grateful for the opportunities given by my current company to really develop my skills and to work on some really interesting projects, and with people that I can really learn from. My ambition for the future is to take on new challenges and management responsibilities over time, where I am able to manage a team of people who work towards achieving similar goals.’
What’s your number one memory of your time as a student? The one you’d tell your grandchildren about?
‘One of the best memories as a student would be meeting people from all over the world, and gathering together for a potluck dinner – where you can taste different cuisines from different countries, chat and share all day and night about cultures, foods, families and experiences.
‘Many factors influence and make me who I am today, but the one thing that I always keep in my mind is a quote by Gandhi that goes by the saying, “Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.”’