Industry Highlights: Alumni in Mass Communication

19 November 2021
Teh Eng Hock ,
Bachelor of Communication 2004

The Industry Highlights series feature fellow alumni on a journey of their careers in various industries, sectors, and stories behind the scene. Find out more about our growing domestic and international community of over 80,000 Alumni through unique stories and experiences.

Murdoch Malaysia alumnus Eng Hock found his calling in entrepreneurship, consultancy work and holds various director roles in communications. 

He shares some insights on how journalism kickstarted his career in communications…

What did you study at Murdoch? What do you do now?  

I completed my studies at Murdoch with double majors in Mass Communications (Journalism and Public Relations) and Communications & Cultural Studies. This is my 7th year running an independent strategic communications consultancy, with SMEs and government agencies forming the core of my clientele.  

In addition, I’m also serving as Executive Director at the Centre for a Better Tomorrow (CENBET), which is a non-governmental organisation promoting moderation, transparency and good governance. Recently, I’ve also been appointed as Group Associate Director, Corporate Communications, of Pacific Trustees Group International, a regional independent trust company with a presence in Kuala Lumpur, Singapore and Labuan.  

What do you think is Murdoch’s point of difference compared with other universities? 

I’ve not studied at any other university, hence it would not be fair to draw any comparison. Having said that, I did thoroughly enjoy my student experience in Murdoch – I had a very active student life, writing for campus newspaper METIOR, playing soccer with the lads, and even helming the Malaysian Murdoch Association. I also picked up rugby through the Southern Lions Rugby Club as the Murdoch University fields were their base. 

What motivates you at work, especially while working on your career progression over the years?  

I love stories, and everyone has a good story in them. You just have to look and listen. As a journalist, I would get to share a snapshot of their lives – be it political, corporate, society leaders or your everyday heroes – with the readers. Later on, in strategic communications, I would be helping institutions and individuals develop narratives to enhance their reputation and brand recall. 

What drew you to working in Communications? Any particular intriguing experiences you would like to share?  

I have been a regular contributor to The Star, Malaysia leading English daily, since I was 16. I guess it was a natural progression for me to eventually kick off my career as a news journalist in The Star upon graduation from Murdoch. I spent almost a decade covering current affairs and political developments, not just in Malaysia but overseas as well. From the bloody street protests in Bangkok to foreign diplomatic trips with the Prime Minister, I would say I had been exposed to many unique life experiences.  

This is a rare article of me in the news, rather than being behind the news:  

Eventually, I transitioned to corporate communications and public relations with the nation’s leading brewery and enjoyed my fair share of Tiger, Heineken and Guinness. Having accumulated invaluable experience in both the media and corporate sectors, I set out to establish my own strategic communications consultancy. I’m now in my 7th year of self-employment and have been blessed with relative success as an entrepreneur. 

What have been some of the big changes in your line of work given the COVID-19 threat? 

Just like most people, I had to pivot most activities to go online. Meetings and discussions became virtual. Working from a home office was not an issue, as I had been doing it for the past 6 years. Physical events and product launches were too risky to be carried out, the industry as a whole shifted towards virtual events. Fortunately for all of us in communications, strategy and content are the most important – and we continue to focus on developing strong positioning statements for our clients to enhance their corporate reputation and brand image. From a business perspective, corporate clients were severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and most chose to hold back their A&P (Advertising and Promotion) expenditure. I managed to mitigate the impact though, by securing some accounts from government agencies. To be frank, the biggest challenge is juggling young children at home 24/7 while continuing to deliver top quality work to clients. There are many days when I stay up to work through the night after the children have gone to bed, as it allows me to perform without disruption. 

What is the best piece of advice you’ve received? 

Know who your real friends are. In life, we will encounter many fair-weathered friends. Some link up with you for benefits because you are in a position to get them in the limelight, or perhaps when you are the custodian of sponsorships for a large multinational corporation. But would they stick around once you no longer have access to these privileges?  

Who inspires you? 

The man on the street. It is inspiring to watch how people get on with their lives, overcoming daily challenges without the might of resources available to those in the corridors of power. These everyday heroes make the best of their lives despite the circumstances, and some even go the extra mile to help vulnerable societies. 

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