Careers Service


Liyi Zhu 朱立翌: Digital lead of Brand System at IBM

  • Degree: MSc Social Research Methods and Statistics (2004)
  • Home country: China
  • Now working: China
  • My role now: Digital Lead of Brand System at IBM

My story

Being a marketing professional, my responsibility includes providing thoughtful leadership and timely, actionable market insights derived from the market data and research. In another words, my work is mainly dealing with data, huge scale data to find insights, e.g. market opportunities, potential customers and etc, to help the business growth.

Manchester and IBM!

My experience is slightly different from most Chinese students as my pursuit of a Master degree is related to my previous work.

I had 4 years market research work experience before I came to The University of Manchester for a Master degree and after UK study experience I went to a job at IBM, which was highly relevant to what I was studying in the University.

I obtained the MSc on social research methods and advanced statistics. I was well trained on how to face data, how to work with data and how to love data! All of these are just what I need for my current job. Let the data tell us the truth! For the work itself, I have great confidence and always have an open mindset to learn more and enrich myself.

The Manchester experience helps a lot!

I have been in my current role and company for more than 7 years since graduation and more and more I have realised that what I’ve learnt from the degree has kept me continually pursued in my career selection and development. You know, nowadays everyone is talking about 'big data, big data'. It really changes what we think and research the world. But, the core part of data analysis methods do not change. Thanks to what I learnt from the degree, I have the advantages to understand it and practice it. This is the biggest reward from my studies.

My time in Manchester

The one year I would never forget. I lived in Moberly, not sure whether this building is still there - it was just opposite the department building. The teachers were nice, my classmates were friendly and we had dinner out, hiking and other activities. Most importantly, I harvested friendships as well as the degree in Manchester.

I had a part-time job in my school helping the lecturers collect and analyse data. I am looking for the opportunity to go back to have a look at the University, the department and the people there.

Suggestions for other students

Work experience!

You are strongly suggested to participate more in internship/placement experience which are related to your future career life. In my opinion, internships / placements or previous work experience are of great importance for job hunting and your career path. As I currently help IBM interview job hunters, I find that the career expectations of returners from abroad sometimes is too high to be practical. To be honest, with there being more and more graduates with a UK/USA degree, the experience of studying abroad might not turn out to be such helpful for your career as you expected.

If you want pursue a similar career route!

Look at Linkedin.com as more and more job opportunities are seen on data management and analytics. This course can provide very practical training for the interest. Social research is the base for everything, not only in academia but also in business. Courses are very flexible. Meanwhile, I do think it necessary to have the basic statistics background if you want pursue the similar degree as mine.

Thanks to what I learnt from the degree, I have the advantage to understand it and practice it.Liyi Zhu, 2011 graduate