English Graduate Buddy Lam Shares Secrets to Career Success

20 Apr 2017

Are the lives of successful people different than everybody else’s? He dropped out of high school to be a hairdresser when he was fifteen. He only obtained a GAP of 1.76 during his early days in college. When the part-time job of most college students was still a tutor, he found a job as an interpreter for an erotic dance troupe. But then, just as everyone else began to think he was an eccentric figure who couldn’t be bothered with studies, he made people’s jaws drop with a complete turnabout in his sophomore year when he achieved a high GPA of 3.7. He is Buddy Lam, a graduate of UM’s Department of English and currently the assistant senior vice president of corporate public relations at Galaxy Entertainment Group.


Lam’s motto is to grasp every opportunity in life

Don’t Be Afraid of Doing Extra Work

After graduating from UM in 2002, Lam found his first job at TDM as a translator and a news anchor. After working there for a year, a university professor recommended him to one of Macao’s first foreign-funded gaming companies, where his career began to take off.

In just four years, Lam was promoted every six months. How did he do it? Lam says it was the combination of hard work and a little bit of luck. ‘I was only the right person in the right place at the right time,’ he says. ‘At the time, the monopoly of the gambling industry in Macao was just ended. I worked harder than others. I did not mind working overnight.’ Lam repeatedly stresses the importance of being willing to do extra work. ‘Because you don’t know whether the work is really “extra”. I remember when I got promoted, my boss told me that he trusted me because I worked very hard and he was never disappointed. Then I realised the extra work I did was actually opportunities to stand out from the rest of my colleagues.’

However, he also cautions against working too hard to the point of overly sacrificing personal time. ‘Do more if you can. But try not to sacrifice too much personal time for it, ‘says Lam. ‘It is important to achieve better work-life balance.’


Lam gives a speech as an outstanding alumnus at UM’s Congregation 2016

The Best Opportunities Are the Ones You Create for Yourself

Lam’s motto is to grasp every opportunity in life. He grew up as a person who always created opportunities for himself. ‘When I first started working in this profession, there were opportunities to go on business trips,’ he says. ‘I volunteered to take the trips instead of waiting to be asked. Even today I often offer to take on new tasks.’ He adds: ‘I always tell my subordinates the following, “If we disagree on something, you should try to convince me rather than simply go along with it”.’

Lam believes that Chinese people are usually reserved and tend to question their own competence when there is an opportunity, and the result is that the opportunities often slip through their fingers. ‘The small tasks that you have overlooked are opportunities missed,’ he says. Therefore, Lam encourages people not to sell themselves short in order to grasp every opportunity in life and at work.


Photo taken during Lam’s business trip to Saipan, USA.

A Refined and Humble Gentleman

Lam is a confident but humble gentleman. He said three times that he does not consider himself successful. It seems that most successful people are humble about their achievements. Maybe humility is the first step towards success.

Lam was in his early 30s when he helped to start the first foreign-funded gaming companies in Macao. After working at that company for eight years, he joined his current company and has been working here for seven years now. Starting as a low-level employee, Lam worked his way up to the position of administrative director of public relations, and then the assistant senior vice president of corporate public relations. ‘I have had many interesting experiences over the years. I never thought that I would have the opportunity to work with international media groups or that I would have the chance to work in the United States, Europe, Southeast Asia, and mainland China,’ he says. ‘I am very grateful for these opportunities, but I don’t consider myself successful.’

Source: My UM