Commenting on his undergraduate experience, Mengda noted that, “From a macro sense, it’s a bit like the ‘one duck but many ways to eat it’ approach to roast duck.”
Mengda was offered the opportunity to study on exchange programmes at the University of Leeds and Menendez Pelayo University in 2015 and 2016 respectively. While staying at XJTLU during the semester, he would travel to the exchange schools during his vacations. He met a wide variety of people from different cultural backgrounds and experienced the clash of different world views.
“First, you should see the world, only then should you construct your worldview”, Mengda said. The exchange opportunities offered by XJTLU greatly broadened his ability to accept and deal with new and different things.
After this internship, Mengda realised his shortcomings and wanted to improve his skills. With his subsequent internship at Deloitte, he was able to greatly improve while working on projects with real-world impact. He also clearly understood how a firm like Deloitte operates, with their success rooted in developing professional workplace awareness and the control of detail and processes.
What Mengda wanted was to be clear about the direction he was going to take to go deeper, not only in terms of recognising what the job entailed, but also in terms of evaluating how each job would fit into a wider lifelong career. “Your focus should never be solely on work, rather you need to also look at your career and the bigger picture,” he said.
“I have seen so many build their careers in this area based purely on the passion their have for their work, the people and the products. So many who are driven to continuously enhance the knowledge and abilities required to thrive in this fast-paced industry.”
Mengda’s current data marketing work at Unilever is not limited to online or offline channels. For success in FMCG he recommends developing a deeper awareness of the industry as a whole, and using this awareness as a foundation for further improvement.
“When going to an offline supermarket, for example, people in the FMCG industry will notice things differently than others when they remove themselves from the “shopping experience”. We look at whether the product is displayed in an easy to reach location for consumers, observe consumers’ behaviours and product interactions, and consider product distribution and consumption rates. When shopping online, we open the interface of platforms like Taobao and subconsciously browse which brands feature prominently in ads.”
When answering the question of “What kind of people are well-suited for work in FMCG, particularly students?”, Mengda feels that suitability is not the issue, and said that there exists only the question of whether you are interested in delving deeper. He strongly recommends carefully choosing each step in your career, regardless of industry, and never losing sight of your enthusiasm for the work you do. This is the philosophy Mengda will continue to cultivate moving forward.