Alumna Wang Yuna (Class of 2014, Master of Arts in International Relations and Public Policy)

Theme parks are a great place to have fun, but for University of Macau (UM) alumna Wang Yuna, they are also a great stage to launch her career. A few years ago, she was responsible for building the world’s first Peppa Pig World of Play in Shanghai. Now, she is working on Legoland in Shenzhen. Apart from a desire to create happy memories for her visitors, she is also driven by her love for new challenges. ‘I like to get things done and make things happen. So when new opportunities and challenges arise, I will seize them,’she says.

Gaining International Experience at UM

Wang is currently the director of development and marketing for Merlin Entertainments, which operates Legoland Shenzhen. Headquartered in the United Kingdom, the group operates tourist attractions, including world-renowned theme parks, in more than 20 countries. Wang once said during an online alumni-sharing session organised by the Henry Fok Pearl Jubilee College, ‘The international experience I gained while studying at UM is the key to my success at a major multinational company.’

After graduating from Sun Yat-sen University in 2011 with a bachelor’s degree in international tourism management, Wang worked in the mainland for a short period before returning to UM in 2012 to study in a master’s degree programme in international relations and public policy, offered by the Faculty of Social Sciences. During her two years at the university, she participated in many international competitions, including the China National Model United Nations Conference, where she won a Best Position Paper Award.

In 2013 she was recommended by a professor in the Faculty of Law to compete in the global final of the Philip C Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition in the United States, along with other UM students. The competition is touted as the ‘Olympic Games’for law students. Wang was the only member of the team who was not a law student. They competed against over 100 teams from more than 80 countries and won the Best New Team Award. While studying at UM, she also travelled to Norway to participate in the International Youth Forum, where she met with young delegates from around the world to discuss piracy and refugee issues.

She also worked as a floor tutor in the Henry Fok Pearl Jubilee College, helping to organise events such as book clubs. She says, ‘The college is like a small community, where I developed not only leadership skills, but also a spirit of service, as well as improved my critical thinking skills.’ Looking back, she feels that her experience at the university has provided a solid foundation for her career. ‘The university provides students with an international platform, great educational resources, and a relaxed learning environment to explore their possibilities and find their best selves, ’she says.

Helping to Build the World’s First Peppa Pig World of Play

During our online interview with Wang, she said that as a child, she loved playing video games about building and operating theme parks, as an adult, she was lucky to do the same in real life. She joined Merlin Entertainments immediately after graduating from UM, first as a management trainee working in the UK, Shanghai, and Hong Kong for a year and a half to familiarise herself with the industry and discover her specific interests. She was then sent to Shanghai to work in online marketing and brand management, before taking on the responsibility of setting up the world’s first indoor theme park ‘Peppa Pig World of Play’, for which she was the manager. ‘Through the theme park, we bring fun to everyone and create wonderful family time,’ she says.

She admits that she has put a lot of effort into Peppa Pig World of Play, which symbolises a breakthrough in her managerial experience. She explains: ‘Although we had a lot of previous experience in running theme parks, this was after all a brand-new project for a brand-new target market, namely pre-school children and families. So we had to start from scratch in terms of product design and branding, and we had to adjust our operation plan according to the actual situation.’

Life Is Like a Marathon

Over the years, Wang has been a constant learner, no matter her position. She says this attitude is important in the ever-changing business world. ‘If you don’t keep up with the times and keep learning, your brand strategy and business ideas won’t be able to adapt to market demands,’she says. ‘For example, digital marketing is evolving quickly in China, from traditional media to self-media to short videos and now live streaming, you need to be an astute observer of consumer needs and find the most effective way to meet those needs.’

After completing her assignment in Shanghai, Wang moved to Shenzhen in 2020 and was given the responsibility of developing the local Legoland and the related marketing work, a task that was even more demanding than her assignment in Shanghai, but one that she still enjoys and looks forward to. I’m still looking forward to learning and taking on challenges, because life is like a marathon, it’s the process that counts, not the destination,’ she says.

Source: My UM Issue 102