Case study – Martin Chan

What is your nationality? Martin Chan new

I was born and raised in Hong Kong, but I have been studying in the UK since sixth form.

What/when did you study at Durham?

I studied Philosophy, Politics and Economics (BA) at Durham, and graduated in June 2013.

What are you doing now? 

Currently, I am working as a Research Executive at BDRC Continental, a market research consultancy based in London, UK.  I work on the Finance and Business (FAB) Team within BDRC, which focuses on clients in the financial and commercial industry.

What does your job involve? 

As Research Executive, my key role is to support my team in ensuring that a research project or study runs smoothly and according to plan from start to finish. Depending on the nature of each individual project, I may be involved in tasks such as conducting in-depth telephone interviews, analysing survey data and producing reports for our clients. Recently, I was also involved in supporting the launch of a new social media MR product. For more about my role, see here.

How did your time at Durham help you to succeed?

With hindsight, there were two things from my time at Durham that really helped me with what I am doing today. The first thing would be having ‘experimented’ with modules that were quite different from what I was first interested in when I got into Durham (e.g. Philosophical Issues in Contemporary Science, Philosophical Logic). These modules proved to be significant in shaping my interests and thinking today. Secondly, having played active committee roles in various student societies such as the Durham University Hong Kong Society and the Durham University United Nations Society also helped me develop the ‘soft’ skills (e.g. time management, presentation, and inter-personal skills) that are highly valuable in the workplace.

What advice would you give to current students?

Two pieces of advice to current students. The first advice is a simple one: try as many things, make as many friends, and read as much as possible while you are at Durham. One advantage of being a Durham student is that you are studying in a beautiful city with very few modern distractions, which – for me at least – makes it easier to explore interests and build deep, lasting friendships.

My second advice for current students is to think and research more about what you want to do after you graduate. Despite the comment about Durham’s lack of distractions, it’s also important to be more pro-active in attending career events, meet different people and learn about the different types of careers that are out there. Make use of Durham’s Careers, Employability and Enterprise Centre and talk to alumni at career fairs. It is never too early to start thinking about different career possibilities, even if you don’t like the idea of planning out every single step of your life.


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