Sha-Lene Pung

Name: Sha-Lene Pung
Age: 28
Nationality: Malaysian

B.A. (Hons.) Communications & Journalism (2012)

Tell us briefly about your work or role in your current organisation.

As a digital marketing specialist at IBM Austin, I develop the strategy and execution tactics behind the digital and social journeys we take potential clients through. My team specifically markets IBM’s consulting services, so a major focal point in our plans is to build the social eminence of our thought leaders.

How has your study in Monash Malaysia helped to prepare you for the working world?

The professors in Monash are well-travelled and highly knowledgeable, and I wouldn’t be where I am today without all the support, encouragement, and confidence they gave me back in my university days. Monash also pushed me academically to study a seemingly infinite amount of dense, theoretical text and come out the other end of it with meaningful, digestible information that I could relay to other people. That is, in essence, the core skill requirement in communications, journalism, and marketing.

While at Monash what type of opportunities did you participate in?

On campus, I was a journalist for the Monash Gazette newsletter. Off campus, I interned at the Asian-Pacific Resource and Research Centre for Women (ARROW), was my journalism professor’s research assistant for a media coding project, was a columnist for an online news portal, and ran a small online business called YourShoppingKaki.com that sold ads and product placements.

When you were choosing a course and a university did you have a clear picture of your future (and if so what was it)?

I didn’t have a clear picture or clear goals, and I’ve learned that it’s okay not to know what you want to do with your life. It’s okay to take it one day at a time and figure it out by trying new experiences. I’ve wanted to be a lawyer, a doctor, a pharmacist, a journalist, a public relations specialist – and now I’m a digital marketing specialist in Texas. You never know where life will take you.

How did that change (or reconfirmed) during your experience at Monash?

Monash gave me every opportunity I needed to discover what I wanted or didn’t want to spend my life doing. I knew I’d always loved writing and working with people, so I thought I was destined to be a journalist. However, majoring in journalism made me realise I didn’t want to be a reporter – but it helped me hone the writing and thoughtful questioning skills needed to be a marketer.  

If you didn’t have a clear picture of your future, was there a moment at Monash that made you change the direction you would like to take in life?

When I learned that journalists have to be always-on to keep up with 24/7 news and be constantly aware of current news, I realised that wasn’t what I wanted in the long run because keeping a finger on the news pulse didn’t excite me. Through my online business, I discovered my passion for marketing and public relations – and over the years I learned that a clear work-life balance is important to me. With those goals in mind, I’ve found what I wanted in an in-house corporate role instead of working in an agency.

Whilst at Monash, did you have any industry exposure/placements? How has it made a difference to your own life or the life of others around you?  Did it consolidate what you have learnt from your undergraduate course?

I had a marketing internship at an NGO and was a research assistant in the journalism department. My work experiences complemented my undergraduate courses in international studies, journalism, and media studies. Industry exposure is the most important thing you can do in university to get a head start in the job market later, especially to show that you can work in teams.   

What was it about Monash that made you select this university in the first place?

Monash is one of the best universities in the world, and professors like Dr Yeoh, Dr Andrew, and Dr Helen are second to none. Being a Monashian changed my life and offered me a sandbox environment to try new entrepreneurial projects like YourShoppingKaki.com.

What do you love most about your student life at Monash?

The delicious cafeteria food, the relaxing library, and amazing lifelong friends from all over the world.