Lynn joined Meltwater in 2016 through our Management Trainee Program. She enjoys taking on new challenges inherent in working in such a hyper-growth work environment in our office and in a city like Hong Kong. As a Business Development Manager she is in charge of helping our Chinese technology and internet clients make better decisions with using alernative data.
Q. Upon graduating from HKU, what is the career plan at that time?
I recall times in university when all my friends would be frantically scavenging for internships whenever summertime came. I was of course infected by this energy and that also prompted me to look for internships too. However, as a student from Mainland China, there were limitations since I had to take working location into account. I was a Comparative Literature and English major at HKU, and for art students, there were really two major career paths I thought I could embark on: studying for my masters degree or working in the banking.
I was a little confused about my career goals at that time so I chose something totally different - joining a one-year program of international thoroughbred internship in Ireland.
Q. Why did you choose Meltwater?
As mentioned, fresh graduates from art-type majors would normally go for three paths: studying a masters’ degree, getting into the banking industry and joining an MT program in large MNCs.
As a graduate from Mainland, Meltwater was quite a special experience and very different from what I expected.
Personally, I prefer not to a small role in a large corporation as an assistant or something. I wanted to work at a start-up-type company with high flexibility and higher risks. , I prefer not to work in a large company with a small role such as an assistant.
Given that Meltwater is an international corporation, it is fast-paced and challenging without any traditional framework. With well-organized teams and a great management system, Meltwater is a well-established company in this competitive realm of media monitoring.
We don't really have a hierarchy in the office either. Our management is relatively flat, encouraging youngsters to grow and be nurtured by each other and by their seniors. Everyone at Meltwater is self-autonomous in planning their work and approaching new clients. And in terms of cultural background, I think that Meltwater has a good balance of that.
Unlike the other company, our proportion of locals and Mainlanders is around half-half, which boost our cultural diversity a lot. Hong Kong is an ever-growing financial hub and it is very nice to see how Meltwater is keeping up with the city's pace. I and my fellow colleagues are also developing and ever-growing and we will keep this pace up.
Q. What is your take on sales at Meltwater?
When I first started working at Meltwater, I realized that I really enjoy pitching to clients. During my time at HKU, I worked for an art commentary website in devising advertising sponsorships and I did find some similarities between my work there and here. Although the task of acquiring clients is much more difficult here, both require similar soft skills, such as communication skills since taking and doing cold-calls are a apart of our daily routine.
My responsibilities in sales constantly test my perseverance and endurance. I am a marathon enthusiast and love doing extreme sports. Instead of staying in a comfort zone, I would rather go for something hard and challenging. I feel more successful in achieving some goals and my career in sales definitely reflects that. In fact, sales is quite like a marathon; time, practice, and skills are indispensable. Successfully closing a deal is the same as completely accomplished a whole marathon; a feeling of accomplishment and reward is one that can't be described with words.
There are two stages in my Meltwater journey: building up a solid foundation and actively taking initiative. I first chose start-ups as my target client base, especially ones in China. Then, I have more opportunities to meet more management level people and CEOs, which would be beneficial for my future career. Afterward, I started to pitch to larger corporations. I believe that having a good foundation will lead to a prosperous journey when approaching to new potential clients from various industries.
Q. What were the biggest challenges you were confronted with at Meltwater?
Being a mentor in my team.
My manager gave me lots of support and guidance when I was a consultant but then came a time where I had to teach and share my experiences with the next generation. However, I do really treasure the time of being with my team. Not only do I have to be a beacon of light to the newbies, I also have to be a good listener and be open-minded to giving and receiving different feedback.
Q. Do you recall any exciting or especially memorable moments at Meltwater?
One of my most memorable memories at Meltwater is definitely my second month here as a sales consultant. I even cried during the closing dinner. I had gone through so many ups and downs during that time, I was even close to missing my target. But in the end, I was able to meet it and I was crying tears of joy.
Q. What are some frustrating moments you've experienced at Meltwater?
One aspect of Meltwater's culture that I struggled with would be how we give each other constructive feedback within the team. I would get frustrated with this sometimes because my teammates would directly point out my strengths and weaknesses in my calls. I would find their comments too harsh sometimes and sometimes I would receive negative feedback even though I thought I had improved.
I understand that that we can grow a lot faster if we face our weaknesses headstrong, so I have learnt to cope with this. Now, I welcome any critique or feedback as I know that my teammates are only trying to help me.
Q. Which type of graduate should work at Meltwater? Any suggestions for future career development?
Someone who is highly ambitious and enjoys learning in a fast-paced workplace is definitely what we're looking for. You should definitely be able handle your tasks with full and independent ownership and responsibility. A metaphor for Meltwater would be a ‘sales college’. You will be educated to become a skillful and savy sales consultant, providing you with an opportunity and platform to grow and empower your self-discipline.
Q. What are your views on the future of Meltwater in terms of an industry-wide sales?
After working at Meltwater for a few years, I have noticed amelioration to the coverage of public media and witnessed changed in the inner workings of different industries. Media Intelligence is common in western countries and PR and data analysis has been growing rapidly in China too. The development of professionalism in PR and data analysis in China is growing rapidly.
Still, Meltwater has a long way to go until becoming a giant in our industry but media monitoring as an industry has huge growth potential especially in this day and age.