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Thursday 5 March 2015

Catching up with graduate Hayley Ip Piang Siong: Solent experience and career

BA (Hons) Business Studies graduate Hayley Ip Piang Siong has embarked on many ventures since graduating in 2010. She worked with homeless people, trying to house them, and with various agencies to get correct support packages in place. This job Hayley found rewarding but she wanted a new challenge, in a job connected to her degree in business studies.

While Hayley’s experience was in housing and support for the homeless, it was her degree that really opened doors for her in her current role as business development and communications manager at a top 200 UK law firm. Using knowledge from her course she pitched to the CEO and managing director on how she could develop the business further and was hired. She hasn’t looked back since.

The alumni office asked Hayley a few questions on her career so far and about her Southampton Solent experience.

Hayley at work

What would a normal day entail for you?

No day is the same. However I guess if I were to look at today, I have done social media updates on current affairs, completed research into developing a new discipline and drafted some content pages for our website. My job is very creative.

What is the most important advice/ knowledge you learnt at university that prepared you for the world of work?

I have taken so much from my time studying at Solent. As I did a business degree I gained many transferable skills from knowing about Europe to law, from HR to research methods. However, the one piece of advice that always sticks in my mind is ‘read a newspaper’. This advice came from my lecturer Charles Caplen. He always insisted that I do this. I continuously used to complain about this. I now see the reasons for it. Not only does it give you information on current affairs, it helps you develop a writing style; it helps you network by being able to discuss what’s going on in the sector you work in and how important it is to know about what’s going on around you.

What was your favourite Solent memory?

My lecturer, Charles Caplen, who continued to take me out of my comfort zone at the beginning of my studies. Brilliant economist. He always believed in me and that’s what you want from someone who is teaching you. I really owe my career to him. He gave me a thirst to learn more and aspire to greater things. When I first started I wasn’t very confident and I used to put my head down when he asked the class a question to avoid him asking me. However, he would choose you if you did that. He gave me confidence and now, in the work place, I am on the board of management and can hold my own. I challenge, give my opinion and I’m loud!

What advice would you give to current students?

Stay committed. There are times, and I remember the bleak hours, when I was writing my dissertation with neck ache, back ache, swamped by books to research and drowning in papers however, don’t give up. Persevere. Once you get your degree it will hopefully open up many doors that perhaps would not be available for you to open. A bit of a cliché but it’s absolutely true.

Why would you recommend your course and Solent to others?

No doubt that without Solent I would not be in my current position. A business degree has so many aspects to it and you gain many transferable skills that you can use in any company. It’s a versatile qualification. I would absolutely recommend Solent because lets face it, if Carlsberg did universities, they would do Solent. Awesome place to learn. Great lecturers, great students and a vibrant place.

Hayley and her husband