Athena Ying has always been passionate about science. The 26-year-old graduate – who combines a career in medical insurance with running her own online shopping platform – talks to Study International about her lifelong interest in human anatomy, and how her studies led her to where she is now.
“I was always greatly fascinated by how our human body functions and interacts with its surroundings,” said Ying.
Drawing inspiration from her older sister, Ying studied Biomedical Sciences at Taylor’s University, Malaysia before completing an Master by Research (MRes) degree in Parasitology at University of Nottingham, UK.
Now graduated, Ying works as a medical underwriter for insurance company, AIA Shared Services while also running her own business – an online shopping platform.
“I first heard about the business opportunity through my brother and he was really keen to jump right in. I had not done anything like this before so I was sceptical at first, but after some research I thought it was a good opportunity,” said Ying.
Ying sells beauty and skincare products from global brands on her shopping platform, communicating with customers to offer them recommendations and advice.
“My online shopping platform is powered by marketMalaysia and all exclusive brands we have right now in Malaysia are the top sellers in the global market,” said the graduate. “As for partner stores, each country has its own range, depending on the needs of the market in that particular country.
“As an owner, I try to understand and communicate with my customer and provide them recommendations and suggestions to suit their needs.”
Ying explains that she does get stressed sometimes, but a positive outlook helps keep her grounded.
“I do have my worries as the competition is really intense.”
“However, the products and services that my platform currently has is truly vast. I believe, as word travels about my shop, I will see an healthy growth in my customer base.”
Managing her shopping platform as well as working a full-time job can be tiring, explained Ying, because she often has to work overtime and squeeze in her shopping platform at lunch breaks and before she goes to bed.
“At times I do feel burnt out,” she admitted. “So I’ll go for a food hunt, catch up with friends or make myself a good cup of coffee and do some reading to unwind.
“Discipline is key. Whenever I feel like slacking off, I remind myself why I started the project in the first place and what I want to achieve. I never lose sight of my goals even if it’s taking a long time.”
Ying thinks her Biomedical degree helped prepare her for the world of business, as she learnt the skills of problem solving and analysis.
“All these years of science education have shaped me into someone who likes to raise a question and find an explanation or solution to it. Before making any decision, I will always make sure I understand the rationale behind it and be prepared of the consequences,” said Ying.
But she knows her heart still lies in science rather than business. She is constantly learning new skills in her day job as a medical underwriter and hopes to return university to receive a PhD.
To any students who are considering a similar career path, Ying says: “It is alright to be confused. Talk to others and stay curious so that you can get a grasp about what studying for certain subject or field is like.
“A more practical way will be reflect on your current study, which subject you enjoy most, or figure out what kind of future would you picture yourself in. A successful businessman? A multi-lingual flight attendant? Surgeon? Freelancer? Medical researcher? Fashion designer? Then work backwards and see what are the criteria needed to shape you into who you want to be.”
She adds: “Before making any decision, explore your options. Know your own strength and weaknesses, and more importantly, do not limit or underestimate your possibilities. Never stop questioning, and most importantly, stay humble.
“Your degree doesn’t define who you are. Most importantly, just thrive to be an adult that you can be proud of.”