Alumni, MA Global Media Industries

Interview with Harry Luo

by Kirsty Warner

In the latest interview for the Alumni Blog series, I caught up with Harry Luo. As Harry is a recent MA Global Media Industries graduate, I was keen to find out, among other things, what he learnt whilst on the course, what skills and experiences he suggests students looking to go into his line of work develop, whilst still at university, and if he could do the course over again, what he would do differently.

Harry Luo (MA Global Media Industries, 2019) is adept with media law and digital marketing, having accumulated a variety of experience through several creative roles.

Biography

Prior to the MA Harry had written for his lifestyle blog, collaborated with social media channels and worked as a Corporate Legal intern for Channel 4. In 2020, he co-founded Bakery Wharf. As part of his role, he oversees all functional areas of the business, inclusive of Research & Development, Marketing & PR, Accounting & Finance, Operations, and Business Development.

Interview

Thank you for agreeing to answer a few questions for me. Firstly, why did you choose to study the MA Global Media Industries course? And why at the CMCI Department at King’s College?

I was drawn to the concept that the world is advancing through technology and as we further advance into the digital age, the media industry is heavily influenced by technology, market logic and changing demands of the public. With this, I wanted to explore in depth and learn how media industries operate and in what ways they are adapting to changes.

The course is particularly unique as it allowed me to look at media industries from a national and international perspective and examine the political, economical and cultural impact. It also offered the opportunity to reimagine the future of the industry, considering current debates and trends and how media experiences are becoming more central in our lives. I was interested as it was an exciting course with a distinct focus on London as a media capital and presented opportunities where I would be able to learn from industry experts, network with the industry and also develop transferable and practical skills to advance my career.

The Culture, Media and Creative Industries Department at King’s is renowned for its internationally recognised research. In an increasingly competitive world, it was important I had a competitive edge in expanding my skill set and knowledge. For this reason, I was determined to look for teaching which would support me to critically analyse and evaluate the ways in which the media reflects, represents and influences the world.

What did you learn whilst on the MA Global Media Industries course and how did it help you progress, career-wise?

The course allowed me to approach media industries from a wide spectrum, from traditional formats of media right up to recent technological innovations, coupled with looking into associated industries like fashion. I looked at case studies and media campaigns to examine strategies, recognising how ideas are developed and how the audience responds to them. From this, I gained an understanding on how media industries operate and why they work as they do.

I was given a chance to devise a real life project to a current debate through the Media Industry Innovations module, responding to industry practices, policies and trends. The experience allowed me to engage analytically by forming a practical and creative solution which massively helped build a bridge between theory and practice. I was able to explore different areas such as financing, budgeting, marketing, promotion and distribution along with liaising with the Department for Digital, Culture Media and Sport, media companies, scholars and charities for information, which together has been monumental in my career growth.

Equipped with the knowledge I gained and being confident in my abilities, I took the leap and co-founded an online baking business during my studies. Accompanied by interests in baking, creativity,   media and business management, my co-founder and I built our business from the ground up. It started off as a joke to pay for our rent! My responsibilities include research and development, accounting and finance, marketing and promotion and business operations which my time at King’s has prepared me for. With the emergence of the pandemic and the world standing still, it was important that I created opportunities for myself and ensured that I was constantly developing professionally.

What advice would you give to students and graduates looking to go into your line of work? Are there any skills, networks, or experiences you would suggest they engage in or develop whilst still at University?

If you’re thinking about taking the entrepreneurial plunge in starting your own business, understand every journey begins with a single step. You’ll never know unless you try! Forge your own path and perseverance along with determination will yield results. Personally, I have found that being in charge and taking control and direction of my business to be extremely meaningful and a rewarding experience.

Always be willing to learn and take initiative diving into the unknown. It is healthy to challenge yourself and put yourself in situations where you feel uncomfortable, from experience I found those are the moments where you learn the most. Also, King’s represent a diverse community where anyone with talent can thrive, you’ll be exposed to people from different backgrounds holding different beliefs and passions, so embrace learning from others as it only enriches your educational experience.

What did you enjoy most about the MA Global Media Industries course?

There are many things that I enjoyed about the course, one particular thing that stands out to me are the visiting speakers from media industries that give guest lectures, providing insight into their careers and industry. Visiting speakers lend valuable information from their personal experiences that I was able to take on board. It’s great to hear stories and network with media professionals who have successfully developed their careers. It’s also a welcome break from the regular teaching, with someone who can share a different point of view and thoughtful advice.

If you could do the course all over again, would you do anything differently? And if so, why?

Due to the impact of COVID, I wasn’t able to relish more opportunities. As mentioned previously, the course has a unique focus on London media industries, if I could start the course again, I would have liked to take part in an internship and experience at first hand how media industries in London function and how they are shaped by globally extended flows of finance, cultural products and technologies. I believe it would have been hugely beneficial in transferring my knowledge and skills of the course and applying it in a real life working environment to further understand the media landscape.