London calling...

A Taiwanese woman's journal of her pursuit of an MBA, a meaningful life, love and her observations of the world along the way! Blogger based in Taipei.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Small paychecks for PR professionals in Taiwan?! Why?

Recently I was approached by a world renowned PR agency for a potential job opportunity. This has been quite an honor for me as I am glad that I am still on the market, six months after my departure. I won't name names here and it's also inappropriate to do dumb things like that on a blog so don't ask me which company it is.

Despite my feeling of vanity, however, some common practices (read: problems) in the PR industry in Taiwan still trouble me. To be precise, they are the reason why I'm hesitant at this opportunity, though the title and ensuing responsibilities sound very attractive. I am quite reserved of throwing myself back in to that world.

I came across a blog written by Andres Wittermann today. His short article regarding the low salary scale of beginners in PR in Germany caught my attention. I subsequently left a comment to his article. For the readers who are interested in checking out Andre's blog, click here.

Basically what I was telling Andres was that I feel it is a pity that professionals in the PR industry in Taiwan are requested to work that hard by contributing their brains, personal time and sometimes even to the point of sacrificing their physical health all at the same time but are expected to be paid piecemeal compared to other types of consultants. Although it is a chance for me to return to the exciting PR industry undertaking potentially much desired responsibilities, I seriously dread the life in which I was under paid, felt dog-tired everyday while giving my absolute 120%.

I am not sure whether payment scales in PR have the same phenomenon in other countries. But hopefully anyone who's set their foot in PR before can share their perspective with me on this particular matter.

At the end of this posting, I would like to share a Salary Survey Report done by PRWeek back in year 2000. Although the article was written six years ago, many of the situations depicted are still truer than ever.

Comments from an anonymous reader

Lately I got a comment from an anonymous reader reminding me to open an account in Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, to edit things about Taiwan. I duly appreciate this reader's reminder and will contribute myself to my country in this way soon.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Plan my work and work my plan!

The last thought in my head before I fell asleep last night and the first feeling when I woke up this morning are the same - I am actually quite a lucky person.

How so? Honestly, I have to admit that Iā€™m not one of those positive folks who are always perky in whatever circumstances they are in. However, a combination of incidents lately really sparked my appreciation of life, in many small ways.

Blessings - work wise

1. Business travel
After a business trip to the Netherlands in the first half of September, I have successfully scheduled another two business trips for myself to Tokyo and Bangkok in November. I know this may sound weird to some people. Business trips and blessings? What do the two have in common? The thing is that I've always wanted to travel for work, so that I can expand my geographical reach and acquire cross-cultural work experience at the same time.

I am hoping to travel to Western Europe again in early 2007 but I still have to negotiate hard for that one.

2. Less Working Hours
Compared to the crazy life style in my previous job, now I work more healthy hours about 8 to 9 hours a day. The advantage is that I feel more at ease and physically fit. The drawback? The job content is not challenging at all for me.

Blessings ā€“ personal wise

1. More savings than six months ago: I made a savings plan for myself in March and since then each month I have been putting in a fixed amount of money to my MBA fund. It feels good to see the figures increasing incrementally.

2. More time for hobbies: I have learned some basic salsa steps, Spanish and done some volunteer work for a charity organization since I left the PR firm. I am planning to learn surfing as a next step and maybe visiting Angkor Wat in the first half of 2007.

3. A healthy body!

Blessings ā€“ MBA plan wise
GMAT prep course kicks off on October 20, 2006.

Because of my decision to quit the PR firm when I started this blog, I am now able to have more personal time after work. For my pursuit of an MBA, I have done quite some survey of schools and GMAT prep options since March until now. And starting from tomorrow (October 20), I will begin my GMAT prep course. The GMAT prep course will cost me Euro 400. I chose the video format over the physical class due to its flexibility. The course includes 14 weeks of tutoring, 10 tests and all study materials. I plan to sit the GMAT in February 2007, if everything goes smoothly.

I am very looking forward to starting the GMAT prep course tomorrow and get it done over with. Will keep everyone posted of my experience in combating this annoying exam.

Until next time - Jen

Monday, September 25, 2006

The MBA Tour, Taipei 09/16/2006

The MBA Fair event came to Taipei last Saturday (Sept. 16) in Grand Hyatt Hotel and I went there to collect information from the school reps and heir alumni. I collected a few brochures from Schulich, Cranfield, Berkeley Haas, Manchester Business School, Esade Spain, St. Gallen Switzerland and Indian School of Business, apart from a program comparison sheet made by the event organizer. Meanwhile, I have the following interesting discoveries to share with my readers.

- In the Taipei MBA Fair, I discovered that Cranfield and Instituto de Empresa actively provided the 'Highly Skilled Migrant Workers' (HSMP) programme provided by the UK government as part of the career prospects for their MBA graduates. In the HSMP program, graduates who successful completed their MBA (and MBA only) study in the top 50 qualifying MBA programmes in the world are eligible for a one-year work permit in the UK afterwards. As far as I know, the HSMP programme is a point system in which 65 is a pass and a MBA diploma from the 50 qualifying programmes would give the applicant enough to quality for a 12-month work permit after their MBA.

- Manchester Business School (MBS) is also listed as one of the top 50 qualifying programmes. However, their alumni was quite honest with me that finding employment in the UK post their MBA was not easy. The Taiwanese MBS alumni I spoke to possibly didn't know about the HSMP programme when he graduated. He told me his Chinese classmate managed to find employment in Germany, though, after sending out 1,000 resumes. What a spirit!

- Esade currently only has 7 Taiwanese students (3 graduated and 4 study-in-progress). So far none of their Chinese or Taiwanese alumni have managed to stay and find work in Spain after their MBA study.

- Cranfield has zero Taiwanese student/alumni so far, despite their reputation and high rankings in Europe. Having said this, Cranfield does have a considerable amount of alumni from China. About 20 students graduated from their master's and MBA programmes in 2004 alone. In year 2005, 93% of Cranfield MBA graduates got a job offer and was employed via heir career office upon graduation and this number includes non-EU students.

- As Taiwan is heavily influenced by the US, I was not surprised to see good schools like Schulich or Cranfield have visibly less visitors to their booth.

- Another school not in Europe but is campaigning pretty hard in an ambitious way in the fair is Indian School of Business (ISB, I personally am not attracted to the idea of studying and living in India but it is definitely something interesting to keep a close watch on for the next five years. They were quite aggressive when selling the school to students in the fair, offering very competitive total fees, personalized career service, strong industry connections and prestigious affiliation with the big three - Kellogg, Wharton and London Business School.

This is the info I can remember from my memory. After quite a lot of research online and prioritization of my own life goals, I have decided to apply to Europeans schools mainly. Next month I will begin my GMAT prep course and I will post my thoughts on battling this exam in due course.

Cheers - Jen

Monday, July 24, 2006

Jenny on the radio...

Tomorrow will be my first time to appear on a live radio program. I'm kinda nervous but also curious about how it's like to sit behind that giant microphone and talk to the audience from a national broadcasting station.

The interview should be on air at around 11:30 am (Taipei Time) on FM 100.7, the International Community Radio Taipei Station (ICRT). Overseas readers can also hear me from the web.

Keeping my fingers crossed for the typhoon to "slightly" glide through Taiwan so that it wouldn't ruin my appearance on the radio. ;-)

Monday, June 26, 2006

Life progress up to 06.26.2006

It's been a very long time since my last posting. I owe an apology to all those people who have come back to check on my blog and got disappointed day after day. You might think that I lost passion to blog about my journey to an MBA. Well, the passion is still there but the past one and half months have been so messy in terms of life changes and decision making that I wasn't in a mood to sit down and write in a sensible manner. But somehow today I feel the muse has returned to me so here I am writing again to my dear readers.

To make a story short, here is a quick update of the things I've done/encountered during my absence.

Work wise

- Job interviews: 4 face-to-face interviews; 1 telephone interview
- Coffee/lunch with former employer: 3 times
- Loss of sleep over career shift: Quite a lot
- Meaningful business meetings: 5 (believe me, they are rare)
- Meaningful teleconference: 1 (almost 3 hours non-stop)
- Boring business meetings: Numerous
- Trips to cities outside of Taipei: 2
- New Business plan produced: 1 (8 pages, on Japan)
- Previous business plan being approved: 1
- B2C event organized & held: 1
- Advertorial produced: 1
- Web banners produced: 3
- Probation period passed: 1

MBA wise

- New language learned: Spanish level 1
- Savings plan for seed money: entering the 3rd month
- Visit to GMAT prep school: Once
- Association that I now work voluntarily for: ORBIS
- B-school thoroughly surveyed: at least 10

Personal wise

- Magazine invited to contribute article to: 1
- Relocation/Moving to a new apartment: Once
- Partying/excessive drinking: Once
- Football matches watched: 6 matches
- Verbal conflicts with family: Twice
- Sincere apology to family after fights: Once
- Reunion/Happy dinner with an old friend: Once
- Stalker I got rid of: 1 (Hey you, don't ever call me again!)
- Boring dates went: Once (Just happened yesterday, and I'm still recovering from that... uh :s)
- Boring lunch/movie declined: 2

After so many turbulences in a short time, I finally am able to tell myself that my decision to shift career from a PR agency to a marketing role was not a mistake. Although the pasture that I occupy at the moment is not super green, it does enable me to do things that were luxurious to me when all of my time was tied up in a PR agency. I still feel quite passionate about PR though, especially regarding the health care and pharmaceutical practice. And when the timing is right, I hope to get back to that again.

Meanwhile, after quite a lot of thinking and extensive research online I've re-arranged the list of b-schools that I want to get in. Most of the schools on my wish list now are European ones as I realize that's the area of the world which interests me the most...

Well, that's it for now. I will write about my progress made in July soon.

PS. David Beckham finally scored a goal last night with a brilliant free kick! I am keeping my fingers crossed for the England team.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

BBC interview the wrong "Guy"...

This topic is not relevant to an MBA at all, but I just found it too funny to be true. So I'd like to share.

If you follow the news regularly, you've probably have seen this piece of news on local portal sites. However, I figure that such an interesting anecdote can bring a smile to many people's faces so I'd like my readers to have a view on the video clip as well. Here you go!

- Dvorak Uncensored: Here you can see a short and sweet version of what happened with the wrong interview and see the captured clip for yourself. Pay attention to the wrong interviewee's facial expression in the first few seconds of the clip. It is very hilarious and very painful (for BBC) indeed...

- Search result on the BBC wesbite: Rumors has it that BBC deleted the clip of the wrong interview after it's been disclosed by bloggers. But apparently this is not true (yet). Have a look at the clips on the BBC site, if you prefer the authentic flavor.

Poor "Guy"! And kudos to BBC for apologizing for it, although I don't think they can do better damage control in any other way.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

To be or not to be, that is the question...

I don't wanna be too philosophical today, but there are so many choices I have to make at this point of life. Therefore, the famous words of Hamlet the Prince suit my current situations the best. Am starting my first Spanish lesson tonight. Will keep everyone posted along the process.

Have a good one! Adios...