Four internships prepared comm grad for his career
UiSan Cheah learned about Wichita State University as a college student in his native Malaysia. Some of his friends attended WSU and had good things to say. Looking for new opportunities, he decided to follow suit. In 2006, Cheah moved to the United States and settled in as a communication major at WSU.
He initially tried his hand at advertising copywriting because he enjoys the process of creative writing. But, Cheah said, as he progressed through the Elliott School of Communication’s program, he realized he wanted a career in marketing communication.
“I still enjoy the writing process, but I also like the process of developing various marketing communication programs,” Cheah said. “It’s an opportunity to learn more and diversify.”
While Cheah worked toward his degree, he also took advantage of on-the-job experience through WSU’s Cooperative Education and Work-Based Learning program.
Those opportunities helped Cheah stand out when it came time to pass resumes around and look for a job.
“I definitely would not have been as successful, because I’ve been told many times by recruiters and managers that they like seeing potential candidates with some real-world experience,” he said. “Some have said that they will not even consider an applicant that has never had an internship. It just shows that you’re prepared to enter the professional world and have had the opportunity to apply some of the knowledge and skills you learn while at school.”
Cheah, who graduated with a bachelor’s in Integrated Marketing Communication in 2008 and an MBA in 2012, now works as marketing assistant for Dave’s Gourmet Inc., a specialty food company based in San Francisco.
Making the most of college
While at WSU, Cheah received four internships, giving him a range of experience.
During his undergraduate studies, he interned at Momentum Marketing & Design and Ronald McDonald House Charities. Once he began pursuing his master’s, Cheah was offered an internship at the Human Rights Campaign in Washington, D.C. After that was over, he returned to Wichita to intern at the Cerebral Palsy Research Foundation.
“The internships were really helpful as they prepared me for what to expect from a professional environment, not only with the different responsibilities and expectations but also the types of people and personalities that I might encounter,” Cheah said.
Now as marketing assistant at Dave’s, Cheah reports directly to the company founder, and his responsibilities include information research, executing various marketing communication programs, and tracking the company’s promotional efforts. As a fun bonus, he gets to taste test potential sauces and food that the research and development chef comes up with.
Cheah said he wouldn’t be where he is today without his time at Wichita State and, for him, that included more than just work experience. He also volunteered for the Student Activities Council, planning events for WSU and the Wichita community.
And during his final semester in the MBA program, Cheah participated in the Berlin Experience, a program that lets MBA students work as a team with students from Berlin, Germany.
“I had a wonderful time traveling with other students in the class, meeting new people, and visiting Berlin. These were some of my best memories at WSU,” Cheah said. “I am thankful for all the opportunities that were available at WSU, and I believe I made the most out of my college experience.”