Mathew Fagan

Mathew Fagan

Mathew Fagan

  • Year completed 2006
  • Current position General Manager, Loud Days
  • Degree(s) Bachelor of Arts
  • Major(s) Indonesian studies; Japanese studies

Career summary

Now the General Manager of the leading digital marketing agency Loud Days, Mathew Fagan credits his Bachelor of Arts with advancing his career.  Graduating in 2006, Mathew’s majors in Indonesian and Japanese Studies resulted in refined skills in communication and negotiation, leading to expertise in crossing cultural and language barriers to manage global teams.

Career pathway

2019 – current General Manager, Loud Days
2018 –
Ashridge Executive Education, Hult International Business School
2015 –
Head of Digital for Asia Pacific, Amplifon
2014 –
Marketing Consultant in Canada
2014 –
Marketing Manager, ANZ
2013 –
Marketing Manager for Asia Pacific,
2010 –
Brand & Communications Manager, Webjet
2008 –
Master of Marketing (Marketing Communications)
2008 –
Marketing Coordinator, Vision 2020 Australia
2005 –
Interpreter/Translator in Indonesia for DFAT (Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade); and AusAID & UNICEF (May – June 2006)
2003 –
Bachelor of Arts (Languages), majoring in Indonesian and Japanese

Why did you choose to study Arts at Monash University?

Out of all the universities I considered, Arts at Monash had the broadest selection of subjects. This allowed me the flexibility to structure my degree. Monash also offered some of the best Asian language departments in the country.  I chose to focus on Asian languages (Indonesian and Japanese) and linguistics.

What is the value you gained from your Bachelor of Arts degree?

My Arts degree provided me with the skills to evaluate information through critical thinking and research. I gained exposure to various topics, experiences, and people that I would not have otherwise encountered. Importantly, it gave me the opportunity to work with, and develop life-long friendships with various people around the world.

What are your highlights of studying a Bachelor of Arts degree?

I undertook a summer semester in Yogyakarta, Indonesia at Gadjah Mada University, as well as an academic semester at the Institut Seni Indonesia (Indonesian Institute of Art), where I drew from previous visual arts studies to study photo-journalism. My semester at the Institut Seni Indonesia was an incredible, immersive experience. I loved studying a subject in a foreign language and exploring the country taking photographs.

Shortly after my semester ended, Yogyakarta experienced a magnitude 6.4 earthquake. With translation and interpreting skills, I returned to Yogyakarta as a volunteer interpreter with UNICEF to tour the region taking water and sanitation surveys. I also worked as a health and medical interpreting for AusAID.

Through in-class and on-campus groups, as well as travelling around the Asia Pacific region, I had the opportunity to experience different cultures, different points of view and different ways of life. It gave me the tools to critically evaluate the world around me, and I found I could apply these skills to my professional and everyday life.

What skills did you learn in your Arts degree that you have applied throughout your career?

While my Master of Marketing provided me with marketing expertise, my Bachelor of Arts gave me the problem solving and communication skills a leader needs to manage large teams.

My Arts degree developed my global mindset as a leader. It honed my skills in communicating and negotiating across cultural and linguistic barriers. Importantly, my experience in Asia as part of my undergraduate degree gave me an edge when applying for jobs and advancing my career. It gave me the confidence to take roles that required international experience and to successfully build and manage teams across borders.

After graduating from Monash, I spent my career working and travelling around the world, from Buenos Aires to Milan, Shanghai to Cape Town, and Singapore to Tokyo.

Early in my career, I was working in the eye health sector as part of a World Health Organisation initiative. I was in contact with Indonesian consulates and travelling globally. The fact that I could speak and write Indonesian, as well as understand the culture and people, greatly assisted me in this role.

Since then, I have had roles with responsibility for Singapore, Hong Kong, India, Thailand, China, New Zealand and Australia. While I have not needed to speak Indonesian or Japanese as part of these roles, my undergraduate degree gave me skills to communicate with and manage diverse global teams.

Do you have any advice for students in preparing for and adapting to change?

Explore the world and your own backyard. Be curious, ask questions, build experience and experiences. This will build resilience and, in turn, the ability to adapt to and thrive in a changing environment.

Interviewed by Cindy Chea, journalism intern, Monash Arts, 2020