Where Are You Now?

Rachel Appleby

Rachel Appleby

BA Business and Marketing 2001

Originally from County Durham, Rachel Appleby now lives in Hong Kong where she works for the HSBC as the Asia Pacific Employee Communications Manager. She is responsible for improving collaboration, productivity and performance through facilitating strategic connections and conversations within the organisation. Rachel plans and implements communications programmes for the Global Functions within the Asia Pacific region, to drive employee awareness, understanding and alignment with the priorities of the respective Global Functions.

When Rachel graduated in 2001 she would have never anticipated that eventually she would live and work thousands of miles across the other side of the world. The 35-year-old explains: “Ten years ago I felt that I'd like to experience new cultures and tackle different challenges to what I was used to, I wanted to escape my comfort zone. 

"I started by taking a career break to travel as I didn't take a gap year before or after University and thought it's never too late. It was during my travels I came to Hong Kong and coincidentally a recruitment agency I had gained my previous job in the UK with had just opened an office there. I met with the Director for coffee and a chat about my suitability for roles in HK and the rest is history!”

Rachel has no hesitation when saying how her studies have helped her in her career: “For a start I would not be able to work in Hong Kong without my degree as you need one to get a working visa. All of the positions I have held throughout my career have required a degree, it's almost a given that you should have one.”

The Sunderland alumna was initially attracted to the University because she wanted to do a degree that gave her a quite broad area of understanding rather than specialise in a certain subject. She explains: “I was keen to study Marketing but by choosing a BA (Hons) Business and Marketing it meant I gained a really good understanding of how a whole company operates which I thought would give me more of an edge out in the real world. Also I was very keen on doing a sandwich degree to ensure I left University with not only a huge amount of knowledge but experience of applying this knowledge too.” 

Even though she lives in Hong Kong, Rachel still keeps in touch with the friends she made during her time at the University. She says: “It was great to have a support network of people with an interest in the same subject area to me. If one of us was struggling in one module, another one might be excelling and vice versa, therefore there was plenty of opportunity to help each other out. You could also say there was some healthy competition which worked wonders for motivation!”

Rachel’s advice to current students and other graduates is: “Don't be afraid to diversify slightly into something else, your career path might take you in a different direction to the one you anticipated but if you are enjoying it and developing yourself further, embrace it.”


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