Case study

Audio technology executive — Lichi Sun

One year after finishing his PhD in music technology, Lichi is making use of his technological expertise working for the National Centre for the Performing Arts in China

How did you get your job?

I sent my résumé directly to the National Centre for the Performing Arts in China and got invited to interview on the basis of that.

What's a typical working day like as an audio executive?

My workload is rather heavy. Not only am I responsible for producing live recordings and audio post-work, but also a large amount of administrative work. There are many operatic performances here at the NCPA, and due to the nature of the complexity of this art form, our team members have intensive collaboration with the production team, directing team and the video crew.

The working environment has a very fast-moving rhythm - we often need to come up with a cross-departmental decision in a very short notice, and because of this we are often dealing with extra stress.

What do you enjoy most about the job?

NCPA is the best performing centre in China. To have the opportunity of working with top-notch equipment and the most professional and dedicated people brings me great excitement and motivation.

What are the challenges?

Because I have such a heavy and complex workload, it's a big challenge to manage the different tasks simultaneously in an orderly manner. There is also the pressure of getting it right first time, because you're only given one chance and mistakes are not permitted.

In what ways is your degree relevant?

My work is very technologically oriented and my PhD degree in music technology prepared me well for this, covering most of the areas of audio study.

The internet and wireless communication knowledge I acquired during my Masters was good preparation for stepping up to higher-level study, particularly since my PhD is so related to audio technologies - which involves a lot of the core principles covered in the content of my Masters degree. For example, in recent years Audio over IP technology has become the main stream of professional audio in the world. Even the internet protocol I learned has its merits.

How has your role developed and what are your career ambitions?

I see myself as a technology fanatic, and 80% of my time at work is spent learning about technology. Plus, more importantly, I learn how to better accomplish goals in a real project process and not just on paper.

As I progress in my career, I'll learn from project leaders and maybe after a few years will consider doing some management work. I will never completely leave the technical work behind though, as it's what I love the most.

What are your top tips for choosing a Masters?

After thoroughly thinking about it and deciding what to do in the future, choosing a Masters helps you to move to a higher level of theoretical and practical knowledge than undergraduate study, which is beneficial for future work.

Since studying for a Masters usually involves a lot of hands-on activities, this can be seen as a preparation for real work, so it's very important to understand the content of the Masters and make a decision based on your own situation.

What advice can you give to aspiring audio executives?

First of all, the more you know about the various technologies of audio, the better.

Secondly, you need to have an international vision, know what's happening in the audio field in the world, and constantly enhance your own technology and overall management ability at work.

Lastly, the more practical experience you can gain, the better.

In the audio field, connections are also very important, so try to develop a network of professional or commercial partners as this can be helpful for future work opportunities.

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