Since he was young, Benjamin Yu has been a massive gamer and says finding a career in the gaming industry is the perfect example of working on the things you love.
Now, Benjamin works as the Head of Japan and South APAC for Facebook Gaming. He oversees the Meta gaming business across those regions and helps game developers and publishers find success with their games. We caught up with Benjamin to find out where his career has taken him since graduating from QUT.
You’ve worked in Australia, Taiwan, China, Singapore and Japan to name a few places – did you always plan to have such a global career?
I’ve always admired executives who get to travel around the world on business trips. Experiencing different cultures has always been one of my goals, so whenever there was an opportunity to expand my work scope, I’ve always been the first to put my hand up. I never saw myself becoming such a global citizen and having the opportunity to be based in so many great countries. Living in different cultures, understanding their local histories, and meeting new friends is a humbling experience.
Do you have team members based in other locations, and, if so, how do you manage team culture? Did the pandemic have a big impact?
Working at Meta means working with highly talented people across different regions and time zones. Even before the pandemic, we were very used to conducting meetings through video conferences. Given the geographical spread of the teams, it’s typical to be in a video conference with someone who is still having breakfast and then jump to another call right after where someone is getting ready for supper! Undeniably, keeping a healthy remote team culture has its challenges, but we try to use technology to bring everyone closer together. Since the pandemic, we have started to use our internal work tool that enables asynchronous workflows and work chat applications to support communication among team members. In addition, we’ve recently started using Oculus VR headsets to conduct virtual meetings and team building activities in the Facebook Metaverse!
In your opinion, what are the key elements of successful cross-border business partnerships?
Cross-border business partnerships have always been popular for many executives to crack or expand into a new market. However, while it may feel like an easy and expedited way to win, it comes with many challenges, and numerous examples of high-profile partnerships eventually fall apart. From my experience with practising cross-border partnerships, my philosophy has always focused on building trust and creating a win-win collaboration. Trust will support a partnership in weathering difficulties and differences, and win-win collaborations will allow flexibility and willingness to evolve beyond initial commitments. In addition, a trusting partnership means equality and mutual respect, which is the recipe for successful business relationships.
What advice would you give to others keen to pursue career opportunities internationally?
Always put your hand up to any opportunities that will give you regional exposure. Don't worry about how little of an impact the work is. It's about accumulating experiences in a regional context, so you’ll be ahead of other candidates who have no regional experiences when a new opportunity comes up. Also, be willing to take a step back (compensation or position-wise) – I’ve seen too many people unwilling to take a hit to their existing packages and miss out on opportunities. Taking a step back to land a regional or global role will give you a lot more leeway in the future and massive potential in your career trajectory. As the old saying goes, “your career is a marathon, not a sprint.”
What has been challenging/rewarding about your career and what would be the highlight to date?
Overseeing a substantial business spanning multiple regions is very rewarding from a career perspective. However, at the same time, you are very far away from home, and being able to spend quality with your loved ones becomes a luxury sometimes. Having a global career also means that you are constantly relocating. This can be particularly challenging, especially for kids dealing with changing schools every couple of years.
How did your QUT degree impact your career journey?
Studying at QUT has been a life-changing experience for me. After my first semester in an engineering degree, I realised that it was not the right direction for me, and I wanted to transfer to a creative industries degree instead. The staff at QUT discussed the pros and cons and helped me envision my future career path. This helped me make an informed decision and subsequently graduate with a degree that I have a passion for, which took me on the career path I am on today.
Any other advice for others?
Dream big, don’t be afraid to fall. If you do, dust off and try again. Perseverance and hard work will always prevail. Treat yourself and others around you well. Your career is a long journey, so don't forget to recharge and enjoy the journey along the way.