Xiaokun Deng

Master of Business and Management (MBM)

Key Info

  • Master of Business and Management (MBM)
  • Internship at Agrisea, Paeroa
  • Internship with International Marketing team

What made you choose Waikato? 

Well, I really looked at the country first, then decided which island (North or South) I wanted to study in and what options each had for universities. I received offers from Auckland, but I chose Waikato because I knew I wanted to study management and the MBM course fit my needs.

What were your first impressions of the campus/Hamilton?

The University has really lush surroundings. Overseas you don’t really see rural landscapes right next to University campuses. I’ve learned a lot through my course which has been valuable. Overall, the University is fantastic because of the resources available, including the help they provide through student services. The assistance you get as a student here exceeded my expectations.

Can you tell us about your work at AgriSea?

As part of studying the MBM, I was offered an internship to work with AgriSea, a Paeroa-based family business specialising in animal and soil nutrition. This was arranged through the Centres of Asia-Pacific Excellence (CAPEs) Market Insight Programme (MIP)

I was guided by Agrisea to carry out market research into the consumption of dietary supplements in China to provide insights for a product they wanted to launch in China.

I divided the project into two parts: research on the Chinese market, and product labelling and business strategising. I focused on the market research, and looked at the reasons why Chinese people would want to purchase the product developed by AgriSea.

I applied what I learned in my strategic marketing paper to the research and successfully identified some key insights about the advantages and unique selling points of AgriSea's products.

What I did in the internship aligned with what I did in MBM, which was great. Later, my team also won first place in the Dragons Den competition!

What impact do you think your research had at AgriSea?

My research helped AgriSea identify whether iodine, one of the company’s unique selling points in the New Zealand market, may not work effectively in China because China is no longer an iodine-deficient country.

My research also identified two market segments that can be targeted.  For now, AgriSea is still focusing on the domestic market, and is preparing for future expansion into the Chinese market, so my search provided a clear view on which direction AgriSea could take for overseas expansion.

What has been the highlight of your time at Waikato?

The university provides great resources to help domestic and international students. You just need to get engaged and make the most of those great opportunities on campus. Opportunity only awaits those who are prepared!

What was your experience like working, and being a part of, the CAPEs programme?

It was fantastic! Thanks to CAPEs and the University of Waikato's Career Development Service, I had an opportunity to put the theory I learned in class into practice at AgriSea.

All interns were given opportunities to attend a series of talks by local business owners, covering different topics like networking, building connections with foreign companies, and increasing cultural awareness about other nations.

At one of the talks, I hit the jackpot! I got connected with the University's International Marketing Manager, who later offered me a role as an international marketing coordinator.

What are your plans for the future once you complete your study?

At the moment I’m working for the University's marketing and communications team. I've run two projects looking into the effectiveness of its nurture marketing email campaign, and a brochure translated into Chinese Mandarin; as well as understanding the motivations of Chinese students who choose to study at Waikato.

These projects have provided important insights from students and education agents, along with recommendations on how to better serve the needs of prospective international students from China.

I've been able to practice my marketing analysis skills and received guidance from my manager.

I've also sourced my own internship with a car dealer to help with marketing and promotion. Now that I’ve solidified my research capabilities, I can now implement what I’ve learned.

I am excited that my marketing career is taking off; this is definitely a highlight of my time at Waikato!

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