Steven Hong Mainfreight

Steven Hong

University of Sydney
Operations Manager
Steven studied Bachelors of Political, Economic, and Social Science at The University of Sydney

What's your job about?

I am currently employed at Mainfreight International under the Air & Ocean division. My area of responsibility is in the field of overall branch operations and my focus is to build and develop our import sea freight product. My daily work consists of directly managing the Sea Freight Imports team (team of five). My role also consists of supporting the Sydney Air & Ocean Branch Manager to ensure that the branch can run smoothly without any issues. The easiest way to describe my role/industry would be that we provide the platform for businesses to import and export goods to and from Australia.

What's your background?

Born in South Korea, my family relocated to the Gold Coast, QLD where I completed primary and secondary schooling. Avid beach goer, golfer, hiker, snowboarder, I moved to Sydney straight after high school to start my degree in Political Science at The University of Sydney. During my four year degree (extended from three), I was lucky to partake in two international exchange programs where I spent a semester each at the University of Washington in Seattle, USA, and at Fudan University in Shanghai, China. During my four years at university, I had multiple casual jobs including working as a bartender. During my penultimate year of studying, I came across Mainfreight during a project I was working on as a Research intern at the Hong Kong Economic & Trade Office. Shortly after the internship had concluded I actively applied for the Mainfreight Air & Ocean Graduate Program. I have just recently hit my three-year mark with the business and have been in my current role for the last five months. Prior to becoming the Operations Manager, I held the Team Leader role for our Data & Compliance division and in our Customer Service department prior to that where I had started my career.

Could someone with a different background do your job?

Yes, definitely. Mainfreight is a company that looks towards the next 100-years every day and therefore is willing to invest the time to train and develop new team members that are committed about the Mainfreight culture and philosophy. However, to succeed in this business you still need to have a strong willingness to learn and to challenge the status quo – without this attitude you will be no different than our competitors.

What's the coolest thing about your job?

My favourite part of my job is working with new customers that have been brought on and seeing their goods move from one point to the other seamlessly and receiving the feedback that all went well. One of the amazing things about the freight forwarding industry is the complexity of the supply chain. By doing our job well means that other parties within the supply chain benefit as well.  

3 pieces of advice for yourself when you were a student...

  • University is actually a very fun place (compared with full-time work) so take the time, do well in your studies, grasp the opportunities to go study overseas and get the fun things over and done with because once full-time work starts it will be non-stop!
  • Utilise the perks of being a university student and engage in all the social events that help develop your interpersonal skills and maybe pick up a few hobbies along the way
  • If you have the nous and financial backing definitely start a small business/side hustle (legal one)/start-up. Whilst you are young you have the opportunity to fail and not be that far off from where you were. These skills are imperative in your later days and especially within the Mainfreight space, these skills will help you when you are running the profit and loss report for a department or even better, a branch!