Jiayi Hu

Current employer: Covance Pharmaceutical Development ltd

Current job title: HR Assistant

Location: Shanghai

“As a member of Plymouth’s alumni network, there is no doubt that I am still connected to the University.”

Tell us about your career path since graduation.

Since graduating from the University of Plymouth, I have continued my studies by undertaking a masters in Human Resource Management at Leeds University. I plan to be an HR practitioner in the next five years. I’m willing to be relocated globally and take on challenges. The careers service at the University of Plymouth gave me a lot of help when the time came to choose a university to continue my studies, and they were also very helpful with regards to building my CV.

How has your degree helped/influenced your career path?

By completing an exchange year at the University of Plymouth, the undergraduate degree had definitely provided a better platform for me to go and apply for a masters. The selective module of comparative HRM stimulated my interest in human resources and that’s one of the reasons why I am currently studying HRM.

What is the most difficult thing which you have faced in your career?

I think the most difficult thing for me was finding a part-time job during term time. I also think that it’s really hard for an international student to keep a good balance between work and study. The language barrier exerts much pressure on us.

What is the best, most exciting or fun thing that you have done in your career?

The most fun and unique thing that I have done in my career to date is the shadowing I did in the HR department of the University of Plymouth. I really appreciated the precious opportunity to know what it is like to work in a real workplace; it gave me a general understanding of human resources in the UK. The difference between HR practices in China and England pushes me to explore the discipline deeper.

Imagine you were about to start university again – with the benefit of hindsight – what would you now tell yourself to have done differently?

I would be more open and compatible with the new environment, especially university life. I had really nice British flatmates and I regret not talking to them every day to tell them more about myself. Besides, I would have spent much more time travelling to the beautiful places in the west of England. I would definitely have liked to have gone with my flatmates.

If you were just about to graduate again, what would you do differently?

It’s really a shame that I didn’t have enough time to say goodbye to my friends in Plymouth because I had to go back to China for my dissertation as soon as I finished the course in the UK. My friends are my best memories. If I come back, I will definitely spend a whole day on the Hoe.

What advice would you give to anyone wanting to get into the same line of work?

The important thing is to decide what subject you want to study in the future. Another factor is whether the city is satisfying, as this is something which students have to experience every day. I would recommend applying for a postgraduate degree as soon as possible.

How did studying at Plymouth help you?

Studying at Plymouth helped me a lot: there is a multicultural community that enables people from different cultures to live and study together; it offered me opportunities to engage in extracurricular activities, such as the Social Storm competition and the Catalyst leadership programme; and the lecturers and staff are very supportive when I encountered any problems.

What lessons/skills did you gain from your course?

I gained considerable academic skills from my language module. These skills are really useful as part of my masters study and daily communication. I also gained many transferable skills such as teamwork skills, communication skills, and cultural awareness.

What is your favourite memory of studying at Plymouth?

A favourite memory of mine is doing group work in the Mast House. I spent a whole day with my team there, witnessing the sunrise and sunset. It was amazing. I also enjoyed the feeling of being supported when I was in trouble.

Do you stay in touch with other University of Plymouth alumni or lecturers?

As a member of Plymouth’s alumni network, there is no doubt that I am still connected to the University, such as with Jean Almond. She is very friendly and has been part of many alumni events. We’ve now been working together for half a year. I’ve connected with the career advisor on LinkedIn as well. In addition to this, I keep in touch with my lecturers in order to update them on my achievements and share my experiences. They are all very friendly. I want to say a big thank you to all of them.

Would you recommend undertaking a course with the University of Plymouth, and why?

I definitely would recommend undertaking a course at the University of Plymouth. First of all, the people there are really nice. They show respect to you and encourage you to be involved in extracurricular activities. Lecturers and staff are friendly and the modules are practical and useful. As I’m studying for a masters now, the academic knowledge I gained at Plymouth has been the basis for this further study. The other thing is that Plymouth is a really beautiful city. It’s a good place to live and study.

BA (Hons) International Management has been succeeded by BA (Hons) International Business Management. Both courses enjoy similar learning outcomes.

Businessman in airport courtesy of shutterstock