【Interview】IBMBA 99 Alumni Trent Prestegar

Trent Prestegar
Originally from Australia
Lives and works in Taiwan
IBMBA Alumni Class of 2011
NSYSU, Taiwan

As part of the Leading Global Academia in Taiwan, the International Business MBA and Global HRM programs at NSYSU are committed to provide a diverse and inclusive learning environment for our local and international students. Our alumnus Trent Prestegar came from Australia to Taiwan to study in the IBMBA program. Zhanna Samodurova, President of the Students Association, conducted an interview with Trent and asked him a few questions about his experience.

-Trent, could you please tell us a bit more about yourself?

My name is Trent and I’m from Australia. I’ve been in Taiwan for 13 years. I lived in Kaohsiung for 5 years where I studied mandarin at Wenzao Ursuline University of Languages and then studied IBMBA at NSYSU. I’ve now been living in Taipei for around 7 years and have spent some time working in Guangzhou, China as well.

-Why did you choose the IBMBA Program at NSYSU?

I was already living in Taiwan for a few years before studying at NSYSU. I realized that I would need to do an MBA degree at some time in my career, and I found that the program offered by NSYSU had a good reputation and cost less than in other countries. Also, I was able to receive financial support as a foreign student, which helped finance my studies even more. I thought I would probably stay living and working in Asia in the future, so I figured studying MBA in Taiwan would be quite relevant, as well as a low cost of living and high living standard. The campus of NSYSU is also a great place to study and always felt happy to be there.

-What do you like about the country Taiwan?

Living in Taiwan is exciting, interesting and convenient. There are so many things that are different from life in Australia, and every day I still have new and interesting experiences, even after living here for so long. Taiwan is in a great location in Asia, which makes it easy to travel around the region. The standard of living is high but the cost of living is still quite low compared to a lot of other developed countries. Taiwan is also an amazingly beautiful country with so much to see and do. I really enjoy getting out of the cities and into the mountains, especially for cycling, and it’s very accessible even from the big cities like Taipei and Kaohsiung. You can get all kinds of great food at any time of the day or night, and of course there’s always a convenience store close by selling whatever you need. The transport in and between cities is convenient and cheap and cities like Kaohsiung and Taipei are clean, convenient and safe, and the people are, of course, wonderful.

-When and why did you decide to join the IBMBA program?

After living in Kaohsiung and studying mandarin for more than 2 years, I was preparing to return to Australia to continue my career, but I also did not want to leave Taiwan. When I found out about the IBMBA program from a previous graduate I was very interested and thought it would be a good idea to further my career and extend my time in Taiwan. I enrolled in the spring of 2009 to start in the fall semester. As I mentioned above, the cost of studying at NSYSU was much more reasonable and affordable than in Australia, which is one of the reasons made the program very attractive. I also knew that NSYSU had a very good reputation in Taiwan and in Asia.

-Who was your favorite professor during your studying at NSYSU, why?

My favorite professor was Dr Yih Jeng. I took several of his finance classes and they were always so interesting. He knew so much about finance and investment and was always able to explain everything so well. Also, he would plan a social dinner each semester when the whole class would go out at night for food and drinks and get to know the professor and other classmates outside of a school environment.

-What was your favorite course during your entire program, why?

My favorite course was Institutional Economics taught by David Andersson. It was a different take on economics compared to the standard theory, and the class was more like a big discussion than a lecture. We would discuss aspects of economics which I had never even thought of before and it really required the students to think about economics from a different perspective. We even organized a small celebration in honor of the 100th birthday of one of the famous economists in the field of institutional economics.

-Could you please tell us about your work experience? Was it hard for you to find a job after graduation?

I currently work at D-Link as Consumer Product Marketing Manager in Taipei. I’ve been in this position for 3.5 years and been at the company for almost 7 years. But answering the second question, yes, I would say it was hard for me. I tried to find a job right after graduation, but there were no jobs in Kaohsiung and it was hard to job hunt in Taipei without being there. And also, not having a lot of experience didn’t help either. In the end I returned to Australia for a few months and then when I came back to Taiwan I went directly to Taipei and decided to stay there until I found a job. I was living in a hostel while job hunting which was definitely an interesting experience, I told myself that as soon as I got an offer, I could move out and find my own apartment. Luckily, I immediately got more interviews after being on the ground in Taipei and felt that I had a much better chance of being successful. I was offered my first job at D-Link after only one month in Taipei and have been with the company since then.

-Did you feel that Degree from NSYSU helped you during your job-hunting period?

I think that with no experience in Taiwan, it was helpful to have an NSYSU degree on my CV. Most Taiwanese companies recognize this degree and university and it definitely helped me to get my first job when I had no other relevant experience.

-What is a moment that you never will forget about your life at NSYSU?

Every morning when I rode my scooter over the mountain at the back of the campus and saw the coastline and the ocean view, it made me happy to be there. I will never forget the feeling of just looking out and seeing the whole ocean and Kaohsiung harbor every morning, it almost made me forget that I was going to school.

Respondent: Trent Prestegar (NSYSU, IBMBA Alumni, Class of 2011)
Interviewer: Zhanna Samodurova (President of Students Association, 2020)
Date: 03/06/2020