Michael Xu is our magician here at the MA. From organizing BCIT’s Marketing Week – including five major events lasting from Monday to Friday – to supporting the MA by being a hyperactive club member before planning the Regional Conference in January. You’re a rock star, Michael.
Let’s get to know him!
Q: Give us a quick 30-second introduction of yourself.
A: Hi, I’m Michael. Believe it or not, I came to BCIT in 2013, and I flunked out. I totally failed, and at the time, I just wasn’t motivated to do anything. All I did was come to school, do my work, go home and, well… that’s about it. In the second semester of first year, I didn’t pass MKTG 1102 or COMM 1100 which, I mean, you’re out automatically if you fail those two. And I was thinking, what do I do with my life now? So I went to work and I moved my way up, up, up, from UPS to Lush Cosmetics. At Lush, I became a paid social promoter. After that, I realized that I needed to go back to school because I had gained some solid experience at work.
The first thing when I came back to BCIT was search for a way to get involved, and I quickly came across the MA. I literally went to every single second year asking how I could become a member. How do I get myself involved? And trust me, I was asking everyonearound me. Through that, I was able to connect to second years and I also met Annabelle, Ally, and many other first years at the time that were in different sets than I was. I was promoting the MA non-stop.
Q: Why the MA?
A: What I say is that your network is your net worth so expand your connections. And in the MA, I knew exactly what I wanted to do; I wanted to be the VP of Integrated Marketing, and that became a goal of mine. It was because in Integrated Marketing, you hold two big events: Marketing Week and the Regional Sales Conference. Part of the reason why I wanted to do this is because I’m the type of person that likes to see other people succeed. If I’m able to help connect industry professionals to students, that makes me happy. If you get a job and I was able to help in some way, that makes me super happy. That’s why I wanted to join the MA, and why I wanted to become the VP of Integrated Marketing.
Q: What would be your three major tips to first years?
A: I think the first thing is to really know who your social circle is. If you can find a hardworking group – but also one that can have a good time and celebrate when you want to – those people will keep you motivated. Last year, I know that I probably could not have made it without my friends for help in specific subjects… and I also couldn’t have made it if they didn’t bring me out of the house at times! So definitely find your tribe, or create one. Second tip is to get out of your comfort zone. Do not just study all the time. Get involved. Reach out to industry professionals. And the third tip is to study smart. Find out how you retain information best, whether it be cue cards, Quizlets, textbook questions or whatever, and make it work for you.
Q: If you could name the most rewarding and most challenging areas of your role right now, what would they be?
A: One challenging, eh? Okay, this happened in Marketing Week. I’m the type of person who likes to socialize and have fun, so when I have to delegate work, it’s tough for me. When I’m assigned to finish a task, I’ll get it done that day with no question. When it comes to Marketing Week… there’s a lot to organize and delegate. So I did everything myself.
In the middle of Marketing Week, I realized I could not do it. Trying to balance school and Marketing Week is crazy challenging. And on top of that, second year gets so much harder. And that was one of the most challenging things I had to do. Just delegating work; mostly figuring out who to rely on to get everything organized and execute the plan smoothly. In the end, it all came together which was the reward aspect of it. Seeing it all happen was amazing. Like wow… we did it.
Q: How do you manage to find balance while going to BCIT and being the VP of Integrated Marketing?
A: Last year, I was the Regional Conference lead, so my role was not as crucial as the role I’m in right now. When I actually got the position, I realized that there was so much to process in a very short period of time. However, going into it, you learn a lot of things first-hand. It all comes down to connecting people with others. But with regarding to your question, you just kind of figure out what to prioritize. For example, midterms; you have to know which subjects matter to you the most. I found that accounting and statistics were where I struggled, so after focusing on those, I celebrated passing both! Very hard courses, by the way. Managing your time wisely and holding yourself accountable is my key tip for you.
Q: What do you envision yourself doing in the next year? Where do you want to be?
A: With BCIT in mind, I’d set a goal to work at this software company that provides business solutions. I woke up one day, though, and started to question my goal. Do I really see myself doing this job for the rest of my life? I don’t know. Is this what I am passionate about? After really thinking about the future, I realized it wasn’t for me.
My passion always lied in gaming; more in marketing for games, and not so much playing the actual game. Gaming is becoming a huge trend, especially in virtual reality and E-Sports. So going back to your question; in a year from now on, I envision myself working for a startup or established gaming company. Those are the two main opportunities that I want to pursue next year, once I graduate. I want to do something that makes me happy.
Usually, people ask me what I want to do in the next five years. I never get the one year question. Throwing me off!
Q: Lightning round: iced coffee or hot coffee?
A: This is so hard already. I guess I’d say hot coffee – dark roasted. My parents always made me drink hot water when I was living at home. I’m from Toronto. They were always saying how I should always drink hot water, so I’ve grown up to like hot beverages.
Q: Favourite movie?
A: I like that question but it’s so hard… but it has to be the Sherlock Holmes trilogy. Or the Batman trilogy. I was thoroughly entertained. A Walk to Remember is also really good.
Q: Favourite chocolate?
A: Cadbury. Milk. The original Cadbury Milk chocolate bar.
Q: If you could time travel, would you go to the past or the future? And why?
A: The past. I feel like when I was a kid, everyone was way more mature than I was. If I was to go back and change things, I would definitely act more maturely when handling different situations.
Once again, congratulations Michael for being the MA Spotlight! Thank you for taking the time to sit down with me during your busy schedule for this interview. Your hard work and dedication is much appreciated at BCIT Marketing Association.