16 May 2018

The importance of finding your own lane

It’s second year. You’re a penultimate year student in a Bachelor of Commerce program hoping to score an internship with the hope of gaining some sort of graduate role.

Or… like me, a second year student in a Bachelor of Commerce (Liberal Studies/Advanced Studies) program who is keen on getting early industry experience.

Whilst I knew that early experience would be ideal for my career progression, I was not sure where to begin. Whether it would be spending countless hours admiring marvellous LinkedIn profiles of peers or listening intently to alumni experience working in the big corporate firms (i.e. Deloitte, McKinsey & Co., BCG, PwC, etc.) I was still lost …

I was beyond amazed by these peers, graduates and alumni. I had the dream of emulating these individuals. That perhaps one day I could just be like them. I thought to myself perhaps that’s what I would like to do. Even worse… I thought maybe that’s what I SHOULD do. And that is where I was wrong.

Having spent the recent holidays profoundly contemplating what I truly wanted with my life, I concluded that I had to be myself. From that day on, I wake up to each morning with one thought in mind.

Be yourself; because if you are not, no one else will.

Honestly think about it, if you were stripped away of all your tangible assets and possessions - what are you really left with?

As Peter Drucker iconically comments: “Success in the knowledge economy comes to those who know themselves - their strengths, their values, and how they best perform.”

And so after coming to this stark realisation, I put aside the desire of having a sense of security by working at a big corporate firm and instead joined a start-up business, PUSHAS.

It was a pivotal move. At the time, I was sceptical. Would this look good on my LinkedIn? Can I benefit from this? However, in retrospect, it is a move I do not regret at all. A move that has really transformed me as an individual.

Despite being an intern, the practical experience I have gained has been nothing short of amazing. I am blessed with such an enormous amount of responsibility and initiative in starting my own campaigns and projects. And the best thing about it all is that whilst everyday has its own challenge, there is always room for learning and development.

Whether it be initiating partnerships, blogging to increase SEO value, building community through content or contributing towards business development; the most fulfilling thing is to see the fruits of your labour.

So what now? Whilst I am still interning here for the next few months, I will be undertaking USYD's Industry Placement Program to gain some corporate experience. Yes, I might be unsure of what it might entail, but I guess I’m making the most of the opportunities there for me.

I hope the corporate environment challenges me to develop my critical thinking and problem-solving skills. I am really keen on getting to work with professionals who have been in the industry for so long and have an abundance of valuable knowledge AND wisdom. I think being young and getting the opportunity to work with experienced marketers will be so beneficial in terms of establishing a mentoring relationship. Also, being a marketing student, I am keen to gain insight into how big companies conduct their marketing campaigns and hopefully I can take these insights back into the start-up environment.

As a final remark, whilst I may still be young, there are two things I want to share:

  • Don’t live a life where you’re comparing yourself to others. Life is never a competition. The only competition is you - to be a better you tomorrow than you were today.
  • Never be afraid to go out of your comfort zone. To test things you are unsure of. Don’t hinder yourself by living or conforming to a life of security. As cliché as it sounds, you only live once so it’s important to make that lone opportunity count. And even if all fails, you never the one who loses because end of the day you either win or you learn.

Written by Daniel Tran 
Current student at the University of Sydney Business School.

9 May 2018

Jay Singh's Career Journey

Hi, my name is Jay Singh and I am a penultimate year Commerce student. My one and a half years at university has been enjoyable, challenging and most importantly, filled with learning opportunities. I would love to share my career journey with you and hopefully do some reflecting of my own.

I was constantly told during my first weeks of university that my three years here would really feel like one (and I can now understand why). This motivated me to take a proactive approach in professionally developing myself by; getting involved in clubs and societies, organising face-to-face sessions with our CEO consultants, attending countless networking events, and ultimately not being afraid to put myself out there despite my age.

Jay Singh

In fact, as I wished to pursue a career in professional services, I also kept up to date with the programs offered by the Big 4 professional services firms and came across their pre-penultimate year development programs; which often go unnoticed by first-year commerce students. After attending numerous CEO workshops, I was able to perfect my resume, cover letter and application, and was successful in getting through to the video interview stage for two of the three programs that I applied for. Like most first-year students, I had never completed a video interview and was extremely hesitant about speaking in front of an emotionless camera. However, I was determined to improve my video interview skills and attended an insightful 1:1 session with a careers consultant who introduced me to the ‘Interview Stream’ service offered to all USYD business students. After numerous practice interviews with family members, friends and in front of my laptop, I took on the real thing and was then successful in obtaining a position in KPMG’s Foundations Program. The Foundations Program helped to further expand my understanding of a career in professional services and gave me a clearer sense of direction on how to launch my career.

As the name of the program suggests, I laid a solid foundation in my first year and was able to take advantage of the many opportunities that are available to pre-penultimate year students. In fact, due to my involvement in KPMG’s Foundations Program, I was fast tracked through the recruitment process for the Vacation Program and after recently completing a partner interview, I was offered the position. In preparing for my first-ever professional interview, I conducted countless practice runs and arranged mock interview sessions with our CEO consultants.

Although I have been lucky to secure a position in the Vacation Program early in my second year, I am still progressing with other applications in order to further improve my professional skills. I have actually found the recruitment process to be much less daunting as a result of the initiatives that I took during my first year.

On a final note, I would like to emphasise how important it is to maintain an active interest in your career and to take the initiative to improve yourself on a professional level; even if you don’t have relevant industry experience. In fact, like many, I do not have any relevant professional experience. Nonetheless, I have tried to further develop the skills and qualities that will allow me to transition into professional life, and I believe that being able to demonstrate this during the recruitment process precedes everything else.

Written by

23 April 2018

CEO on the Road: Citi Australia

Two of our students, Alex Shu and Beixi Peng, recently got an exclusive tour of Citi Australia's Sydney head office as part of CEO on the Road. Alex and Beixi share their experiences as they gained invaluable insight into the banking and finance industry at one of the world's largest banks.

CEO Career Consultant - Sam, Citi Australia CEO - David Livingstone and students - Beixi and Alex at Citi Australia's Sydney HQ

Alex Shu

Monday 26th of March was one of the most amazing days during my university years. I had the opportunity to visit Citi Australia’s head office in Sydney as one of two student ambassadors with Beixi. A big shout out to our Business School Careers and Employability Office (CEO) for organizing this astonishing experience, especially to Career Consultant Sam, and Communications Coordinator Jay. They have always been strong supporters for all our Business School career-minded students. I highly recommend all Business School students to subscribe to the CEO Newsletter and join the CEO Facebook group now, for more greater experiences coming soon!

After arrival, we were greeted by James, the Campus Recruitment Manager, who took us on a tour of their office. We chatted with him about Citi’s internship and graduate opportunities, during which he highly recommended that we should prepare for a career in banking as early as possible.

We then met with 3 Graduate Analysts USYD Alumni), who shared their experience working in Citi’s Consumer Banking Graduate Program and highlighted the opportunities to rotate across different areas including cards & loans, decision management and retail banking, and gain diverse international working experience.

The interview with the CEO of Citi Australia, David Livingstone, was the most exciting part of the visit. He explained Citigroup’s strategies as a world-renowned global bank and his very own personal career journey. Moreover, he advised that young professionals should take challenges in their career, and learn fast. David spent a little bit more time with us after the video interview to ask us a few questions about our career aspirations.

Lastly, investment banker and USYD Alumni Peter joined our interview. Peter suggested students should be curious and brave to explore their career possibilities, whilst he shared with us his great career transformation from accountant to investment banker.

Beixi Peng

After only 3-weeks of my master’s study at the University of Sydney, I was so honoured to have the opportunity to visit Citi’s Sydney head office as a student ambassador. Thanks Careers and Employability Office (CEO) for organising this amazing event.

Upon arriving, we met the graduate recruitment manager James, who was our host during the visit. We asked him about Citi’s recruitment process for graduates and learned that Citi hires most of its graduates through their internship program, so it is best to prepare early! I was also impressed to hear that Citi offers the ‘Women in Banking’ scholarship to support gender equality in the finance industry.

Throughout the interview with 3 graduate analysts, I gained a deeper understanding of the roles that exist in consumer banking. Citi’s new consumer banking graduate program is very appealing because of the learning opportunities. Students are rotated through different areas including cards and loans, decision management and retail banking. Not to mention that there are many global opportunities within Citi.

We also had the privilege to interview the CEO of Citi Australia, David Livingstone, who spoke to us about Citi’s strategies as a world-renowned global bank and his personal career trajectory. He advised students to take risks in their career, learn quickly and take advantage of every opportunity and challenge. David was very patient, and he spent more time chatting with us after the video interview. He provided me with more of an insight into a career in finance and gave me questions to think about during my future study including the relationship between finance and psychology.

We concluded our visit with investment banker Peter, which was the highlight of the visit for me. Peter suggested students to be curious and take every opportunity to explore their career options. Having completed an undergraduate degree in health, I could relate deeply to what he said. Ever since I was a child, all I wanted to do was help people. However, if I hadn’t worked at various international events during my undergraduate study, I would have never been offered my first full-time job in business, and I wouldn’t be studying a Master of Commerce now. I truly enjoy the new perspective that studying business has brought me.

What I experienced and learnt in Citi was incredibly valuable. I also really appreciate the time I spent with our lovely Career Consultant Sam, Communications Coordinator Jay and fellow student Alex. They have been very supportive throughout the entire visit and it was wonderful to share the journey with them. If you would like to have an awesome experience like I had, subscribe to the CEO Newsletter and sign up for as many career events as possible!

Written by:
Alex Shu and Beixi Peng, current students at the University of Sydney Business School.

17 April 2018

How to get the most out of employer networking events

We recently spoke to Vivian Fan, a graduate analyst at the University of Sydney, about her experience as a student searching for employment opportunities.

Vivian learnt about her role through a University of Sydney’s employer networking event, which she got notified of by signing up to regular updates from the CEO (Careers and Employability Office). She shares advice on how to make the most out of these networking events.

How did the employer networking event help you? 

The employer networking event provided me with an opportunity to hear about other graduates’ experiences with their current job - what they do, how they found it, and tips for the application process. During the networking event last year, I talked to a second-year graduate in the program I’m currently in and asked about her experience with the University. We got connected on LinkedIn and I invited her for a coffee chat after the event, to ask about the interview process (especially the panel interview because it is kind of scary!), potential questions, and tips and tricks. Another benefit of attending these networking events is that you may get the chance to meet your potential interviewers. For me, I met Andrew and Steve and expressed my enthusiasm about the graduate analyst opportunity, and they remembered me at the panel interview!

What would be your key tips for students searching for employment opportunities and attending these types of events in the future?

Be focused
It is impossible to have a great conversation with every employer at the event. Have a general idea of who will come to the event and think about who you want to talk to beforehand. Approach your main targets once you arrive, impress them, walk around the room, get all the other information you need, and you’re done!

Be prepared
Do some research on the companies and opportunities that you are interested in. Even thinking about some questions you want to ask or your past experiences can add value as well. Networking events are a great opportunity for you to showcase your enthusiasm, abilities and experiences to potential employers. Don’t miss out on them!

Be positive
Your attitude is important during the entire process. As we all know, graduate opportunities are competitive, so rejection is normal. Every single networking event and interview you attend is part of your experience and they will help you perform better the next time around. Be confident and showcase your positivity!

Last but not least
Don’t forget to sign up for regular updates from CEO!

Vivian Fan, graduate of the University of Sydney Business School

16 April 2018

Sarah's Exchange Experience in the U.K.

Why did you choose your exchange location?

The UK has a world-renowned reputation for the quality of its education system. Hence, it is a hub for students from all over the world to travel to and study. This would allow me to get the best-possible cultural immersion, as I would benefit from the UK's ties with Europe, and the cultural influence from the thousands of foreign students who have made the UK their home. I chose Leeds in particular, because it had an affordable cost of living, and it had a highly regarded business school. Leeds is a very relaxed place with a carefree culture, which I enjoyed and appreciated once I had arrived.

What was the best/most memorable part of your exchange?

Travelling was the most memorable part of my exchange. Every weekend, my friends and I would take a day trip to a city in the UK. We visited 12 cities in total. During the Christmas break, we also visited Amsterdam, Tenerife, and Edinburgh. It wasn't the places themselves that were memorable, but the time we spent with each other was something I'll never forget.

What did you get out/learn from your exchange experience?

By far and away my friends were the best part of my exchange. I had a group of 15 close friends from Argentina, Brazil, the Netherlands, South Africa, Spain, the USA, China, France, the UK and Bulgaria. Not only did I spend my weekends exploring the UK with them, but I learned so much about their cultures. The most important thing I took away from the experience was how similar we were, rather than what divided us. I am still close to all of them, even after returning to Sydney. I plan to visit two of my exchange friends in July, and have exchanged post cards with several of them.

Sarah in Amsterdam

If there was something you wish you had done/or done differently, what would it be? 

I can't think of anything I would have done differently. One problem a lot of other students experienced was feeling isolated in the first few weeks of exchange. The way I worked around this was by communicating with other students in Leeds Uni’s dedicated exchange Facebook group, and finding people who were in the same hall as me, so I'd have someone to talk to when I arrived.

What tips do you have for students going/thinking of studying abroad?

Think about what you want to get out of exchange. If you want to travel a lot while you study, make sure your host university has good transport links to the places you would like to visit. Leeds has a major train station, and was a 20 minute drive from an international airport, so that worked well for me. If you would like to complement the knowledge you have gained from USYD, look at what the university is known for, and how it ranks. I would also look at student life. Most universities in the UK have hundreds of clubs and societies which are a great way to make friends with locals while on exchange. I joined the Leeds Uni Muay Thai Society, and I had a blast!

Sarah visiting the Christmas Markets in Edinburgh

Your exchange in one paragraph

Exchange is what you make it. You can make it all university, or you can make it about travelling, or partying. I made it about friends. When I think back on my exchange, I remember the group Secret Santa, the birthday parties, the wine nights, the day trips, the international meal swaps, and the group study sessions. Not a day goes by where I don't feel extremely lucky to have met this amazing group of people, and to still be in contact with all of them.

Written by Sarah Smith
Current student at the University of Sydney Business School and exchanged at the University of Leeds in Semester 2, 2017.

Learn about studying abroad and exchange opportunities at this year's Sydney Abroad Fair on Tuesday 17th of April 2018 at Eastern Avenue.

12 April 2018

Summer, sun, and social impact

Serene harbours, expansive coastlines, and a rich outback full of unique flora and fauna. This is Australia in all its beauty. Often forgotten however, is that whilst Australia’s landscape is full of stark contrasts, society in Sydney also exists in extremes. Enactus is a global, student-led organisation that harnesses the power of entrepreneurship to address these issues and create positive impact through developing social enterprises. At Enactus University of Sydney, we bring together students from all degrees and levels of study to do just this. Our most mature social enterprise, Culinary Tales provides refugees with the opportunity to run cooking classes whilst sharing their cultural knowledge with communities, schools, and corporates.

Over the summer, we ran an internship with 11 students where they were put through a design sprint process to devise agile, minimum viable solutions to issues affecting Australian society. Here’s what one of the interns, Jessica Falon (PhD in Pharmacology) had to share about her experience:

I first heard about Enactus University of Sydney through advertisement of one of their events on Facebook. Curious, I did a little bit of research, only to discover that Enactus is not just limited to the University of Sydney, but is a global organisation with participants from universities all over the world! Though this piqued my interest, I was unsure how my Medical Science degree would be at all compatible with the process of creating a start-up. Regardless, I applied for their summer internship program and found this misconception to be immediately challenged.

Across the three-week internship led by friendly and knowledgeable members of the Enactus leadership, we were guided through the steps of creating a start-up business from start to finish. This was with the help of scheduled seminars given by industry professionals who have made a name for themselves in the realm of social enterprise. We even ventured out to multiple co-working spaces in order to truly gain an insight into the future direction of the start-up industry. All of this culminated in the creation of two primary projects which will continue to be expanded upon by the Enactus team throughout 2018:

The Dirty Project

With the goal of empowering disadvantaged youth in the local community, we created The Dirty Project – a brand that produces an exfoliating coffee scrub made from upcycled coffee grounds. Our aim for this project is to allow the youth to experience all aspects of business operation from product creation to sales, in order to teach transferable business skills and improve their future employability. With the additional value of reducing food wastage and displacing plastic micro-bead exfoliates bonus, we feel that this project has great potential to produce meaningful social change.

Interns developing samples of the coffee scrub


In order to address the lack of volunteer support in elderly public housing communities, as well as attempt to bridge the inter-generational gap between youth and elderly, we created Bridge. Through this program, school-aged children are paired with in-need homes and communities to volunteer their time. Students are also paired with a mentor, and at the end of the program, they are taught how to write an impactful resume that includes the experience that they have gained. With many schools keen to encourage their students to volunteer, we think that a program like this could easily be adopted on a large scale.

Interns at Greenway, a public housing community, building partnerships for future programs

By the end of the three weeks, we had already given out over 200 free samples for The Dirty Project at the University of Sydney O-Week, as well as confirmed the interest of over 20 participants for Bridge. It was incredibly empowering to be able to achieve this much in such a short time period, largely due to being given the freedom to explore our ideas in a fun and creative forum. Ultimately, not only did I learn how to apply my personal skills in problem solving to social enterprise despite lacking business acumen, but was given plenty of food for thought on how I can apply entrepreneurial action to my own studies in medical research. This definitely will not be the end of my start-up journey!

Team photo upon conclusion of the internship

If social impact, entrepreneurship, or innovation has ever tickled your fancy, keep an eye on Enactus University of Sydney as they are always keen to engage with students from all backgrounds and years of study!

Written by Enactus University of Sydney

How to get the most out of graduate recruitment season

With graduate recruitment season well underway, the CEO has put together five tips and tricks to help you land that ultimate offer.

Get Started!

Do your homework so that you know which companies you are interested in before you apply. It may be useful to attend careers fairs, information evenings or networking events which involve companies that you are interested in. It is also a useful exercise to read the latest news on the companies, peruse their social media pages and website, and speak to people in your network to gain a better understanding of their company culture.

Be aware of the application opening and closing dates for each of the employers that you are interested in. A great way to manage your time when completing multiple applications is to use the GradConnection Calendar. Be aware that many employers encourage applicants to submit their applications early rather than wait until the listed deadline.

Recruit a second pair of eyes

Attention to detail matters – you have spent the last three (or more) years studying at University to land a job in this field. You should make sure that all of your application materials reflect the level of effort you have put in. This should include ensuring that your application is free from grammatical or spelling errors and ensuring you have genuinely answered each question put to you.

You can drop by the Careers and Student Experience Lounge on the ground level of the ABS building and have your resume reviewed by one of our Career Leaders, Monday – Friday, 1pm – 4pm during teaching weeks.

Practice Makes Perfect

Students should take advantage of the opportunities available to them to practice the skills which are tested throughout the recruitment process. The Careers and Employability Office hosts a number of events, such as its Mock Assessment Centre Workshop and Mock Interviews, which can help you feel more comfortable when doing the real thing. You can also do practice psychometric tests and aptitude tests online and will find links to these resources on the Careers and Employability Office e-community on Blackboard under “Interviews and Assessment Centres”.

Dress to impress

If you are lucky enough to land an interview, you should ensure that you dress appropriately for the role. In a corporate setting, this will generally mean that men should wear a suit and tie, while women should generally wear a skirt or slacks with an appropriately cut blouse and blazer. The same tips apply for skype or on-demand interviews.

Keep going!

We know that the graduate recruitment process can be very long, stressful and emotionally draining for students. It is important that you maintain a healthy headspace throughout the process and ensure that you continue to balance your studies. Try not to let yourself be too disappointed by any rejections which may come your way. We encourage you to seek support from family and friends and continue to do activities that you enjoy – for example, spending time with friends or playing a sport. If you do feel that you could use extra support, we encourage you to contact CAPS – the University’s Counselling and Psychological Services, or reach out to organisations like Headspace and Lifeline.

By Emily Setter, student at the University of Sydney Business School and a Career Leader for the Careers and Employability Office.