We interviewed Joan Wong, one of our MSc Occupational and Organisational Psychology graduates about her career. Joan is now a Senior HR director in the financial technology industry

Author: Joan Wong

Which course(s) did you do at Northumbria and what have you done since graduating?

I was inspired to study Psychology after reading several books about human minds at the age of 15. Having torn between the Counselling Psychology and Organisational Psychology, I finally decided to pursue a MSc degree in the latter with the aim of contributing something to all human beings who spend nearly half their lifetime in the workforce for a living.

I graduated in 2017, and I was lucky to be given the opportunity to be a recruiter one month after I came back to Malaysia. It was a start-up like environment as one of the prestigious firms (also my dream company) set up a shared services centre in my home country back in 2016. Lots of professional growth opportunities as I was able to get involved in campus recruitment, employer branding, and people advisory functions in my first job.

What is your current job title and what does your job involve?

I am currently working as Senior HR Executive in the financial technology industry; another wonderful company where growth opportunities abound. My day-to-day is challenging yet inspiring in different ways, i.e. writing HR policies/process, handling employee enquiries from different regional offices, and my favourite – to plan and execute talent development related projects.

What inspired you to follow your career path?

My dream of being able to help employees achieve a balance between productivity and happiness at the organisation has allowed me to soldier on for the past few years. I realised I could achieve this dream through talent development and talent management functions where my passion lies.

What advice would you give to current students wanting to follow a similar path?

I volunteered to have mock interviews with students from other departments (me acting as a recruiter), when I involved in a value-based recruitment consultancy project with an external NGO, and when I presented my thesis at a conference. They are all about challenging oneself to understand the meaning of limitless, and to understand that being limitless is indeed possible.

Other than the academic knowledge taught by my favourite lectures/professors (they are still the best in my heart to this day), one of the greatest takeaways from this MSc programme is not to be afraid of trying new things in an unfamiliar environment. Say yes to all the opportunities presented to you whilst you are still a student; say yes to all the opportunities to you whilst you start working; say yes to all the wonderful things during your lifetime because they are going to bring you to a place where you never imagine such place even exists on this planet.

Go volunteering and do not be afraid to take on additional projects/responsibilities at the workplace. They might seem daunting, and the journey is going to be arduous. But trust me, the outcome is going to be rewarding to the extent that you are not going to trade that with any other things.

What was your favourite thing about studying at Northumbria?

If I were given a change again, I will choose to re-live the same path. No regrets! Especially the library at Northumbria. It was there for me during so many sleepless nights (the jet lag) at the beginning, and its marvellous reservoir of books. It never failed me when I was looking for different books to read during weekends and semester holidays. Being able to borrow those books from other libraries was an experience that was so special that I could not even replicate this experience at any other places.

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