Xiaowen Li (Darwin)

Marketing MSc

My time at Kent was a fantastic experience and helped me to get where I am today.

What attracted you to Kent and to this particular programme?

I was attracted to Kent Business School due to the academic reputation of the School and the variety of modules available on the Marketing programme. Canterbury is a wonderful location for students, with its history, open spaces and lively student scene. The campus is modern and has a friendly feel, and everyone is very helpful.

How were your studies?

I particularly enjoyed the digital marketing module where I developed a good working relationship with my lecturer. It was a two-way learning experience as he was also very keen to learn more from me about digital marketing in China.

What did you think of the teaching at Kent?

I enjoyed the way the lecturers linked theory to practice. This helped me to build on my work experience and expand my knowledge. The teaching methods included case studies, group discussion and the use of software, which made the learning experience stimulating and effective.

Was the course flexible enough to allow you to pursue your interests?

I am passionate about all things digital. I was already expert in digital marketing and was able to pursue this interest further through my dissertation which focused on user behaviour in social media, in which I achieved a distinction. 

How would you describe your fellow students?

My fellow students were of many different nationalities and everyone had a variety of work experience behind them. I enjoyed learning how to work with people from different cultures and the sense of community within the class.

How do you think your course changed you?

The course increased my confidence and helped me to understand how businesses work on a deeper level. I gained both a greater understanding of my existing work experience and a wider knowledge of marketing in the UK. This enabled me to build on my existing knowledge and helped me to gain my dream role in the UK.

How did you enjoy your time at Kent in general?

I made many friends and enjoyed travelling around the UK. Studying for a Master’s is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, so I recommend that you develop hobbies outside of your studies and enjoy the UK’s famous historical sites.

What careers advice did you receive at Kent?

There were workshops available which helped with CV writing and interview techniques. The lecturers were also helpful in providing contacts and advice based on their business experience.

In what way has your degree helped you find work?

My time at Kent was a fantastic experience and helped me to get where I am today. I secured a job in London in November 2018 with JGOO (now rebranded to Mode), a London-based Fintech start-up. The company also helped me to get a visa which was a dream come true. I had a student from the MSc Marketing programme at Kent Business School complete an internship here in 2019 and there may be more internship positions open to Kent students in the future. It is my way of drawing on the expertise of Kent students, developing their skills and giving something back to Kent Business School.

What do you enjoy about your current work?

My role is a perfect fit with my interest in marketing and management. My fantastic colleagues are from all over the world and I have learned a lot about different cultures. My time at Kent and working with people from different backgrounds and nationalities prepared me for the modern workplace. 

Please could you describe your current work? Do you have a typical day?

I work for Mode – Mode is an LSE-listed Fintech Group building a modern financial services business to support an increasingly digitised economy and financial system, combining the best of banking, payments, investment, loyalty and digital assets. For consumers, Mode has launched a digital banking app allowing users to easily manage their GBP, EUR and BTC, all in one place. For businesses, Mode offers UK and European businesses a simple way to engage and transact with Chinese nationals, both face to face and online, through their favourite payments and marketing, WeChat and Alipay. Mode has also built its own revolutionary open-banking payments solution which is in beta testing now. This new solution will aim to facilitate direct and seamless transactions between consumers and merchants, removing the frictions and inefficiencies of the current financial landscape.

My role is to help the merchant to integrate with our services and benefit from us. It's great because the role in the company matches my work experience in China and the UK, as well as my academic knowledge.

What would you recommend about studying at Kent?

Firstly, don't be shy! Join student communities like the Kent Marketing Society which can help you increase your English skills and social abilities. Secondly, keep communicating with your supervisor and your classmates. Be transparent and honest to your tutor about your dissertation or project. Finally, enjoy the University campus and the sunshine, as Canterbury has some of the best weather in the UK.

Is there any advice you would like to pass on to prospective Kent students?

You get out what you put in. Work hard, get involved and be open to new ideas. The MSc in Marketing will enable you to learn and improve but you must have an open mind.