Elaine is a fresh graduate from Hong Kong Baptist University who majored in Government and International Studies with a minor in Business. She is incredibly involved on campus, participating in HKBU’s Model United Nations, TEDx as well as AIESEC in HKBU and Hong Kong. She describes herself as a dynamic person who is energetic and eager to learn. When put in unfamiliar situations, she always tries her best to deliver her best.
Q: We’ve done a little LinkedIn search about you and noticed that you are kind of an overachiever to say the least, earning Dean’s List for 7 consecutive semesters, while interning at different companies and being VP then National director for AIESEC, how did you manage all your academics concurrently with extra curricular and internships?
For academics...although my answer may not be presentable the reality is that I don’t really like the structure of lectures. I prefer exploring my academic interests independently and I only sign up for classes that I genuinely find intriguing rather than choosing classes to boost my GPA. Personally, I believe finding genuine interest in what I study is very important and usually I end up performing well. My ultimate goal for learning is to get the most out of it, not for my GPA and the results turn out fine in the end. So essentially, I think passion-driven learning is the key.
Actually I find that my learning attitude is similar to how startups operate. They strive towards their aspirations and passions and the fruitful outcome will follow.
So what is your passion?
Wow, such a sudden question!....I think my passion right now is to be a ardent problem-solver wherever I go and to learn the most from every experience, regardless of if it is from the people that I meet, projects that I work on. And while navigating through career-life, I hope to encourage people and come to the understanding that they shouldn’t let labels that have been imposed on them constraint their ability and impact.
In times when you have class, extracurriculars, your internship and also other activities, how does a typical day or week play out?
Mapping out your day is very important. Usually, I would commit myself to certain activities at given times and really plan out everything. Back in the day when there were still in-person classes, I had to go to class physically and come to Meltwater after. So being strategic in allocating your time and ensuring that you don’t waste time is critical. Typically, I would map out my days and assign times for commuting too.
Q: What were your criteria for choosing an internship, and how Meltwater fit into that criteria?
When choosing an internship, there are a few things I consider: What does the company do and does it excite me?
I think it is really important that I take interest in what the company is doing or how it is contributing to society. As supposed to just working at a big corporation, it is much more important that I am genuinely drawn in by the company in what they are trying to establish, whether or not they are forward thinking and try to innovate things and bring something new to the market. So, my first criteria is whether or not the company is impactful in their own realm and if I am actually interested in what they do. For instance, technology is undoubtedly something that is integrated into many parts of our lives. It has shaped how we act, how we think, how we interact with one another as well. So this is one of the reasons why I want to work at a company with a strong element of innovation.
During my time at Meltwater, I’ve witnessed a lot of product launches, product updates. Through these experiences, I can definitely see the dedication and commitment Meltwater possesses in striving to provide cutting-edge media intelligence technologies and find solutions that actually address challenges current businesses face with the coming-up of social media. In contrast, some companies may choose to play it safe instead and not pursue innovating ventures or R&D; that for sure isn’t the case for Meltwater. I definitely believe that Meltwater is continuously looking for ways to stay at the forefront of the media intelligence industry and sustain their position as a pioneer.
At Meltwater you can have your own impact, they will really give you tasks that are out of your comfort zone.
Q: How has your previous internship differ from Meltwater, for instance in your involvement and responsibilities?
When you think of an internship, you would naturally think of basic tasks. Your learning curve would not be that steep. You would presume that you won’t be confronted with very challenging tasks. However, at Meltwater you can have your own impact, they will really give you tasks that are out of your comfort zone.
Your capacity and capability will constantly be pushed to the limit but I think through these experiences we can comprehend our own potential. Meltwater is a place where you can unleash your potential. Your managers may work closely with you to guide your process which was very different from my previous internship experiences where I had to figure out most things myself. Here, I also got to work under real circumstances. When I started to gain my manager’s trust, I had the opportunity of directly interacting with clients and gaining practical experience.
Q: How has Meltwater morphed your perception of the media intelligence industry, specifically in social media intelligence or media analytics?
The media intelligence industry was a foreign concept to me. I’ve never encountered something like Meltwater until this internship. I didn't realize so many things could be quantified with social media - every comment, every like, every interaction.
News or publication media are always one step behind in reporting what people are discussing on the internet.
Things that we feel are hard to quantify or generalize and analyse are possible with Meltwater. I was really surprised by this because it never occurred to me that my actions on social media could be collected and analysed then generate useful insights for businesses. News or publication media are always one step behind in reporting what people are discussing on the internet and social media makes up a lot of how we interact with people nowadays. So I think through media analytics, businesses can stay on top of the game and trends before it actually makes it on the news.
So what do you think is the difference between media analytics and financial data?
I think financial data is more useful for informing investment and financial decisions. For instance, they are used when companies need to analyse whether something is profitable or not, observe market trends whether it is on an upward or downward trend, and how different investments perform; the observations are rather directly correlated with the business performance. As for social data, at the surface, people may not understand how valuable it is, but they may realize how their market performance may be affected by how people speak of their products and band on social media. At the end of the day, this is crucial because social media users are the consumers.
Q: What advice or tips will you give a future Meltwater intern? What kind of person do you think should join Meltwater?
The first thing is to always ask questions when in doubt. People at Meltwater are really friendly and they are always willing to help others succeed, so don’t be afraid to ask questions and don’t shy away from the problem. I think that this has actually been my key to survival at Meltwater.
I always ask when I don’t understand something, even if it seems stupid. It is a very direct way for you to learn instead of trying to figure out things yourself afterwards.
The second thing is to always be curious. I think it's very important to always be inquisitive because that incites interest, and therefore, you will be more engaged in something.
And lastly, don’t be afraid of making mistakes. Above all, I think that Meltwater is a place for people that are eager to learn and make an impact.