Media and Communications alumna takes on the world at CNN

26 September 2012

Media and Communications alumna Alice So
Media and Communications alumna Alice So: "What truly makes a graduate stand out from the crowd is solid working experiences and excellent networking skills: both of which I got out of the course."
Photo: Michelle Lia

Not many graduates can nab a high-flying corporate role at one of the world's most prestigious news networks straight out of University.

But after years of hard work, self-belief and resilience, Media and Communications alumna Alice So can lay claim to this impressive feat.

At a time when many media jobs are being slashed worldwide, Alice has found a niche as part of the CNN Broadcast Sales and Affiliate Relations team in Hong Kong.

The 24-year-old joined the respected international broadcaster in March 2012 after a six-month tenure as News Reporter for The Standard newspaper, the highest circulation English daily in Hong Kong.

With headquarters in Atlanta, London and Hong Kong, CNN International employs over 4000 news staff at bureaus worldwide, broadcasting to more than 210 countries and territories.

Joining this truly international company has enabled Alice to harness the intercultural communications skills honed as an international student at the University of Sydney.

Far from being daunted by the cultural divide upon her arrival from home city Hong Kong, Alice maximised every chance to engage with students from across the globe while studying at Sydney.

"I tried my very best to expose myself to different ethnic groups and cultures by proactively participating in group work and societies," she explains. "I also learned how to communicate effectively and socialise with people from across the world."

She now employs these skills daily in a job that has taken her across the Asia-Pacific region. In just seven months Alice has travelled to Seoul, Manila, Beijing and Bangkok to execute regional in-country affiliate training events and to meet with senior management of leading local broadcasters.

Her role also maintains the newsgathering needs of CNN's broadcast affiliates, with marketing support, data tracking and analysis and legal rights clearance processes just some of the varied aspects of her position.

Despite the stresses of this dynamic and jet-setting work, Alice says she is "really enjoying the challenge."

But keeping busy is nothing new for Alice. She remembers her time at the University of Sydney as "amazingly fruitful": a marked understatement for someone who packed her degree with an exhaustive array of extra-curricular pursuits.

With work experiences as Unicef University Liaison officer, International Student Ambassador for the University's International Office, an internship at the Special Broadcasting Service (SBS), and employment in her final year of study as Media Relations Practitioner for the City of Sydney, Alice says her strong passion drove her to explore every available opportunity to gain new experiences.

Alice maintains the core Media and Communications units of her degree, which covered not just practical but also theoretical facets of the Australian media industry, well equipped her for a diverse and challenging position with CNN.

"Professional media ethics, knowledge of the local Australian media and broadcasting industry, as well as strategic and critical thinking skills are some of the most invaluable assets the MECO [sic] degree has prepared me for in my current role," she says.

So what guidance can this remarkable alumna give to current students looking to make their mark in a crowded industry?

It all boils down to persistence, personality and poise, according to Alice.

"What truly makes a graduate stand out from the crowd is solid working experiences and excellent networking skills: both of which I got out of the course," she says.

"My advice is to get out there and try! Never be shy and scared to make mistakes; perseverance is the key. I strongly believe in myself and am always eager to seize opportunities along the way."

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