15 March 2017

Resume season

As I near the end of my degree the terrifying season of resume writing and interviews dawns upon me. Time to portray oneself as a level headed, career oriented, all around great person who knows exactly where they want to go in life and what company they were born to join (any that will have me really).

I had an interview recently - not even for a job - for work experience, but the anxiety for this little 14 and a half-minute ‘coffee sit down’ was overwhelming. "time to be a charming adult I thought. Surely one can only get better at this show but I am quite late to the party. I have gone through my degree going on holidays in the summer- rather than developing my networking skills or doing impressive internships- but after this interview I had a surge of panic driven action.

I had ambitions to remake my online self. Make a website. Market myself so no one could resist me. But is that real? Is that really what makes someone want to hire you, your perfect profile? 

More often than not - I scoff at perfection. I prefer bloggers, comedians and friends to show their imperfection to the world. I have always been attracted to over sharers- people who own themselves and unashamedly share their biggest lows as well as their biggest achievements. I had two friends in school that really showed me the beauty of just telling it how it is and hoping at least some people relate or laugh. As a self- conscious incredibly awkward teen I needed to learn from them and I think I still need to learn from them.

Anyway back to the construction of our perfect online resumes - where you have to be quirky yet professional and have experience even though you are applying for an entry-level job. This is a letter to all the HR managers to look for the imperfect, as they are often the best sorts. I have only one story in support of this assertion. My friend worked with one man that undoubtedly had a great resume, was good at what he did, said all the right things in the interviews but was an absolute nightmare to work with. So look for the rough around the edges and all around real people who may not have the most stellar resume but are eager to learn, and grow.

And to all the students who think they are probably not qualified enough, or perfect enough- for the role. Show the HR manager that you have down your research about the work of the company and the industry, but also show some of your REAL self- show your cracks but assure them that you are ready and able to learn.

By Cara Mayne, current Bachelor of Commerce (Liberal Studies) student at the University of Sydney Business School and Network of Women Events Director.

14 March 2017

Making the most of summer

Our students have been far and wide over the break. They have been immersing themselves in new environments and undertaking work placements to gain real-world experience before they graduate. Current students who have been involved in placements over the summer share their experiences, and how they made the most out of their break.

Natalie Kutcher
Bachelor of Commerce student
Participant in the Shanghai Business Immersion program

Why did you want to participate in Shanghai Business Immersion program?
I wanted to participate in the IPP program for two reasons. First, I believe employers are increasingly looking for employees who can demonstrate cultural awareness and adaptability working in teams with people from different backgrounds. Second, I saw IPP as an excellent way to identify my professional interests and help decide what career I might like to pursue after completing my studies.

Where did you undertake your placement?
The African Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai city, China.

What was the best part of your time there?
The best part of my stay in Shanghai was getting to experience living in the city like a local. I loved shopping at the supermarkets, catching the metro and eating at local restaurants.

What is your biggest takeaway from the experience?
Open-mindedness. I learned how to better understand how people from different cultures think, and also learned the importance of trying to look at the world through other people’s eyes.

Do you have any advice for someone considering the Shanghai Business Immersion program?
Go for it! Even if you are placed in a role that lies outside of your area of expertise, approach the internship with an open mind. It can never hurt to expand your skill-set in new areas, and it will make you a more all-rounded person.

If you could travel anywhere in the world where would it be?
I would love to backpack across Europe, spending a few weeks in each country. I love learning about new cultures and languages, and trying different traditional foods.

Hao Fu
Bachelor of Commerce student
Participant in the China Industry Placement Program

Why did you want to participate in the Industry Placement Program?
The program is a good start for my career, the business school offers a great platform for us to connect with organisations. Through the program, I could have more opportunities to work in large organisations such as the Big Four, which was relatively harder if I applied for the internship by myself. Furthermore, I could earn valuable credits during my placement.

Where did you undertake your placement?
China/Beijing, PwC

What was the best part of your time there?
I had built connections with one senior manager and one manger, and a reference letter was provided upon termination of the placement.

What is your biggest takeaway from the experience? 
I learnt how to perform service in a stringent business manner in China context (the advantage of working in large organisations), which had never been learnt in my previous internships and part-time jobs.

Do you have any advice for someone considering the Industry Placement Program?
Do the Industry Placement program, it is  an amazing program that the Business School offers, so seize this opportunity. For Chinese students, the China program enables you to network with Chinese organisations. Further, you could reunite with you family during Spring Festival while earning credits on your placement, which is another big advantage of China Placement Program.

If you could travel anywhere in the world where would it be?
Hokkaido, Japan

Anna Bezuglova
Bachelor of Commerce student 
Participant in the Los Angeles Industry Placement Program

Why did you want to participate in the Industry Placement Program? 
Opportunities to work full-time are limited over the course of a degree – yet the competitive job market demands graduates who are experienced in their desired industry and expect them to understand how it works. The IPP was perfect for differentiating my application, while also allowing me to gain practical insight into the industry I hope to one day work – without the big responsibility that comes with landing a 2-year graduate role! 

Where did you undertake your placement?
Los Angeles, at M&C Saatchi Santa Monica
Studying at UCLA

What was the best part of your time there? 
It’s difficult in high school and university to gain an accurate representation of what the reality of full-time work in an industry is like. After this experience, I am so much more excited about getting into the workforce as there are endless possibilities for those who seek it. I’ve also been able to work amongst the best in the industry – and have gained mentors and inspirational figures that I hope to one day emulate in my own career. 

What is your biggest takeaway from the experience? 
I now understand the value of throwing yourself at challenges or situations that absolutely frighten you. Throughout my placement, I was faced with what seemed like insurmountable tasks – but my perception often caused me to think I wasn’t capable – in reality, I surprised myself with just how capable I can be! Being nervous or feeling inferior is a completely natural feeling, embracing it rather than running away from it is the best thing we can do for our professional and personal growth. 

Do you have any advice for someone considering the Industry Placement Program? 
Don’t hesitate, just do it! The program was transformative for me, and if you’re willing to work hard, appreciate a foreign culture, and make friends with people from another country, then it will be the same for you! It’s an invaluable experience that will stay with you forever and is likely to shape the course of your career, as it has for me and many of my peers. 

This is the next level in your education – having the opportunity to apply concepts from the classroom to a workplace (moreover, a foreign workplace!) in the most insightful experience you can have during your tertiary education journey. If you’re hungry to learn, ready to be challenged and excited by the world – please, please, please apply! 

If you could travel anywhere in the world where would it be? 
I fell in love with NYC when I was able to visit on a long weekend just recently – there’s something about how busy and competitive it is that has ignited my desire to work in that environment one day. I’ll be applying for jobs there for when I graduate next year!

Rochelle Sharpe
Bachelor of Commerce student
Participant in the local Industry Placement Program

Why did you want to participate in the Industry Placement Program?
I wanted to develop my professional skillset, apply the theory I have learnt in lectures and genuinely test myself in a commercial environment.

Where did you undertake your placement?
I was within the Sales department at Pfizer Consumer Healthcare locally in Sydney. Pfizer manufactures brands that most of us know including ChapStick, Centrum, Advil, Dimetapp, Robitussin and Caltrate. You may have even seen some of Pfizer’s advertisements currently running! 

What was the best part of your time there?
I was able to work on realistic projects and genuinely make a difference within Pfizer. For example, I worked on the ROI analysis of a recent above the line marketing campaign for a new product and presented this to the executive leadership team. I wasn’t just an intern, rather they treated me like any other employee within the organisation. Meeting great people to work with, networking and building my professional and personal skillset was fantastic. 

What is your biggest takeaway from the experience? 
No matter what industry you eventually work in, or what job you decide to take culture will always be one of the most important aspects of where you work. Traditionally, students seeking employment during internships or graduate programs always ask questions about the type of projects they will be undertaking, opportunities and benefits the organisation offers. 

These are very important, however to put this into perspective most of us will be spending at least 40+ hours a week at work, and to be working in a firm where your values and ways of working don’t click it can be extremely hard to perform at your best. 

For some people it’s the gut feeling that they feel like it’s the right place for them, for others they have to do a little bit of research to truly feel like they’ve made the right choice. Asking yourself questions such as 
  • Do I prefer a hands off or hands on (team bonding) approach to culture? 
  • Hierarchical rigidness – can you openly talk to directors and partners when you are a junior? 
  • Do they support your extra-curricular activities? Such as playing sport outside of work, or supporting your volunteer position.
Even if you do your research and think that an organisation is perfect, you can get it wrong. However, take this as a learning experience and you will be able to more clearly understand what type of culture you prefer working in. 

Do you have any advice for someone considering the Industry Placement Program? 
As Nike or Shia LaBeouf declares – Just Do It! 

Putting in a day or two for the application and testing is definitely worth the effort. Not only do you gain credit for your university studies, but you also gain insight into industries you would like to work for in the future and genuinely develop your professional skillset. 

If you could travel anywhere in the world where would it be? 
As I love to ski, anywhere with good snow and I’ll be there. However, if you had to make me choose I’d love to go to Sweden and see the northern lights.

13 March 2017

Exploring Beijing and joining PwC the big family

It is exciting enough to work at one of the Big Four Banks as an accounting student, but four months ago I was lucky to be accepted into the China Industry Placement Program (IPP) to intern at PwC Beijing! This is where my journey began. 

At PwC office
Before undertaking my placement people would tell me “you’ll work more than 100 hours every week as an auditor, during the year end in China when annual auditing commences.” Although this might be true for some people, it wasn’t for me. 

My placement saw me working on a project where we performed annual auditing for the Agricultural Bank of China, one of the Big Five Banks there. When ‘The Big Four’ was now ‘The Big Five’, I thought there would be no time for me even to sleep. However, it turned out I was wrong. As interns we were not required to work overtime, we followed normal working schedule from 9 am to 6 pm. This meant I had time to explore Beijing, the capital of China. 

With people everywhere, winter in Beijing is never cold, even though the temperature is less than zero degrees. The city still keeps its solemn veil when you are approaching the Forbidden City. I was shocked by these fabulous traditional palaces, which gave you the most real experience of ancient China. During my visit to the Forbidden City, I stood on top of Tian’anmen and it felt like I could communicate across-time with ancient emperors, feeling how they would have looking out over this great country, the honour, the power, the pride…

PwC ABC team
Nevertheless, working was still the main focus during my IPP. Eight-hour-long working days did not necessarily mean that you have more free time to relax. Instead, it meant that you had to deal with same amount of work load in shorter amount of time. This meant working more effectively and efficiently. With novice experience in Multinational Corporation, the fast approaching deadlines were something I had to get used to in my first few days. One of my projects was to data collection towards ‘deposits with central banks’ account, thereby I had to communicate with clients from hundreds of branches across China. I could still feel how exhausted I was after having made more than 150 phone calls in one day. Interestingly, when I talked to clients with strong accents, I began to understand how native English speakers felt when they talked to me. However, language is to help people communicate, there is no standard Mandarin or English - right? 

Apart from intensive working load, I also received great friendships and colleagueship’s in PwC, which made me feel at home. I guess this is part of the reason why PwC is one of the leading firms in the world, because teamwork is being fostered everywhere. With no vicious competition but reciprocal collaboration, colleagues are more like friends, leading to an energetic team and further a thriving business as a whole.

Lastly, the best thing about China IPP for Chinese students is that you have the opportunity to celebrate Chinese Lunar New Year with your family. And for me as an intern, I also got many red packets from my colleagues, which is just another bonus of joining PwC the big family.

Red packets

By Hao Fu, current student at the University of Sydney Business School and participant in the Industry Placement Program.

Hiraeth at Hult Prize

As the 2016/17 President of the Sydney University Business Society, I have worked closely with both the University of Sydney Business School and with large corporate sponsors to arrange and promote the endless co-curricular opportunities that are on offer to our highly motivated students. Of particularly note was SUBS partnering with UBER and Commonwealth Bank to present the Hult Prize Case Competition – an internationally-run student competition that encourages students to build social enterprises to address pertinent world problems. This year, the question centred on the Refugee Crisis; specifically, how we can restore the rights and dignities of 10 million Refugees by 2022. Seeing the tangible difference this opportunity presented, alongside Laurie Yutuc, Vishal Uppal and Megh Mankad, we decided to participate.

Our team were beyond words when it was announced that we had been selected (out of 50000+ applications) to compete in the Regional Finals in London in March, 2017. In fact, the University of Sydney made international history this year, being only one of four universities to have teams selected to present at all 5 Regional Finals locations (San Francisco, Boston, London, Dubai and Shanghai) globally.

Our social enterprise, Hiraeth, is a licence-based platform that operates as a series of profit-driven conventions, sharing ‘The Refugee Story’ in new and immersive ways. Infusing traditional performing art mediums such as dance and theatre with innovative technologies such as augmented reality, Hiraeth allows refugees to meaningfully connect with their new home.

In turn, each convention reinvests revenues to support impact-driven initiatives that enhance the lives of millions of refugees from where these stories originated; to empower those who have not been so fortunate in their reaching their destination.

Hiraeth is a Welsh word that means “a homesickness for a home to which you cannot return; the nostalgia, the yearning, and the grief for the lost places of one's past.”

From our team at Hiraeth, we'd like to thank the University of Sydney Business School for their endless support and guidance throughout our journey and for making it possible for us to compete in such a rewarding and internationally-recognised student competition.

Follow our progress:
Website: therefugeestory.com
Facebook: Facebook.com/therefugeestory

By Anthony Makris, current student at the University of Sydney Business School.

12 March 2017

A Shanghai immersion

If I was asked at the start of 2016 how I thought I would be spending summer in 2017, I probably would have said hanging out at the beach and hopefully having a summer internship secured. I would not have believed that I would have spent January and February living and working in Shanghai, China. I am extremely grateful to the Business School for facilitating such an amazing opportunity. 

Shanghai is a bustling metropolis that is strikingly Chinese, but has become a truly international city. The city is “a history book written in stones”. It has a distinctly Chinese culture but also has strong European influences that are ingrained in the city’s character. It is also a strong symbol of China’s rapid development, given the most famously developed district Lujazui, did not exist 30 years ago. This is the backdrop that I, and my fellow students, had to our professional experiences in China.

My placement was with Wicrecend, a large holding company based out of the Shanghai Tower in Pudong. I worked in the International Department of Gaotime, a financial information services company, and Wicresoft, an IT business process outsourcing company. My role was that of a Business Development Analyst. For Gaotime, I prepared daily bond market and IPO reports to update the entire staff of market developments around the world. For Wicresoft, I primarily developed recommendations on potential M&A targets and business partners, and developed reports on the company’s global business strategy that were presented directly to C-level management. My biggest learning from my placement was the attitude of trying to constantly improve and add value, regardless of your position in the workplace or the task you are completing. For example, although I was an ‘intern’, the bulk of my projects involved liaising with the Head of the International Department, and Wicresoft’s global CEO. The leadership style of my supervisor was extremely empowering. He considered himself a member of micro-teams rather than a “supervisor”, and through the attitude of co-creating value, I felt empowered and trusted to make bold decisions and work to a high standard. This enabled me to match his attitude of constant improvement, ultimately making me a more valuable professional in the workplace.

The Chinese business spirit of ‘guanxi’ was also evident through my placement. This term embodies the idea that as a collectivist society, networks are built on relationships and trust. To build this trust and establish a working relationship, I was very generously invited to company meetings, events and dinners, as well as being given Mandarin lessons. In return, myself and other interns from around the world had to perform a dance to the company at Gaotime’s annual dinner. This unique relationship emphasized to me the deep-seated trust that is fundamental to business in China, and something that a solely business-minded foreigner may overlook, and ultimately compromise the professional relationship as a result.

China is truly a very unique place to be, especially at a time where traditional global power structures appear to be shifting. To have experience somewhere as culturally unique as China at such an early stage in my career is invaluable, and I believe it has spurred my professional development, making me more ready to transfer from academia into the workforce.
From pitching targets to the company’s American business, writing strategy for the company’s Chairman, to eating cheap xiaolongbao, riding a bike along the Bund and fumbling through Mandarin, my experience in Shanghai has been extremely memorable.

By James Tsaousidis, current student at the University of Sydney Business School and participant in the Shanghai Business Immersion Program.

8 March 2017

Careers and Employability – 10 years in review, where are we now?

This year the Careers and Employability Office (CEO) turns 10, to celebrate we caught up with the Director of Careers Services, Sarah Fletcher - who has been there since the beginning. Hear her 10 years in review and the evolution of the CEO, more importantly we get down to business and ask for her top ten tips to nail an interview! 

How long have you been working with the CEO, in that time how have you seen the team grow?

I’ve been working at the Business School for 10 years (now I’m showing my age!)
10 years ago the CEO started out as a team of 3, we are now 12!

We were the first Business School in Australia to have a dedicated career service for all students – both undergraduate and postgraduate – now most Schools or Business faculties have some dedicated support.

Tell us about the first CEO event and evolution of the CEO programs/services?

Our first student event was an Internship Fair, it was also one of our first successes in showcasing our students to employers. Feedback from students at the time told us they were interested in learning about the corporate and social responsibility initiatives of employers and the fair allowed employers to showcase their sustainability efforts. It was also paperless! No flyers or paper handouts, all material was displayed on laptops and screens.

Over the course of 10 years we have seen how important it is for students to have some kind of work experience (paid or voluntary regardless of where) in order for them to stand out in the pack. As a result we introduced the Industry Placement Program in 2010 with 5 students heading off to do work experience at CBA, Deloitte, KPMG and EY. We now have around 300 students per year heading into placements in Sydney, Canberra, Paris, Shanghai, Beijing, Washington DC, LA and Santiago!

We are constantly speaking with our employer partners so that we can work with our students in best equipping them for graduate recruitment and success in the workforce. We’ve done this by supporting and encouraging students to take on leadership roles and opportunities in programs such as Peer Mentoring, Alumni Mentoring and in Clubs and Societies. There is no better way to demonstrate the leader you want to be than by taking part in these types of programs.

What excites you about being the Director of Career Services within the CEO?

Seeing students grow and develop is probably the most rewarding part of my job. Everyone in the CEO team is committed to supporting the student experience. We all have the same goal that drives us – supporting students to develop their employability and reach their potential.

Another aspect that I enjoy is working with a range of employers across diverse industries – from startups to investment banks. I get to really understand the future of work.

We’re also now moving into the digital space which is exciting! Our Blackboard resources have never been more visual and aligned to what students tell us they want to know. Our Facebook group CEO@Sydney has close to 2 thousand followers, it is a fun and engaging way of communicating directly with students.

I also enjoy the diversity in working for the CEO – two days never seem the same (hence why I’ve been here so long!) 

Top ten do’s and don’ts for an interview?

1. do your research and be prepared.

2. do take notes into an interview if you get nervous. You probably won’t need them but knowing they are there will be security. You may want to ask the interviewer if it is ok, or let them know you have notes with you when you sit down (shows you are prepared, see above).

3. do make sure you have a strong handshake and good eye contact with all interviewers as this demonstrates your non-verbal communication.

4. do turn off your phone – don’t put it on silent completely turn it off. A buzzing phone will distract everyone.

5. do smile! Smiling is infectious and will make everyone relax, most importantly you!

6. don’t be late. This should always be number 1. Do a trial run on the public transport and make sure you are around 10 minutes early.

7. and don’t be too early. See above for the right balance.

8. don’t wing it. No matter how good you think you are on the ‘fly’ people who are interviewing you will expect you to have done some preparation. Believe me it shows when you haven’t.

9. don’t be too familiar. Be respectful and polite. The interviewer is not your friend they are your future employer.

10. don’t be too nervous! This is a hard one as you can’t always help it! Also, a few nerves are good as it shows that you really want the role. Make sure you are prepared and your nerves should subside (see #3).

By Sarah Fletcher
, Director Careers Services - Careers and Employability Office, at the University of Sydney Business School.

3 March 2017

Women in Business: why it's important

It's the 21st century and women still don't always have a seat at the table. Ahead of International Women's Day we asked some members of the Network of Women why they're passionate about women in business.

The Network of Women is a collaboration of students from the University of Sydney who seek to be involved in empowering women to pursue and achieve their business and career aspirations. Find out how you can get involved here.

Hillary Liao
Bachelor of Commerce (Liberal Studies) 
Vice President, Network of Women

Why are you passionate about women in business?
I am passionate about women in business because they contribute broader perspectives and differing ideas. They are imperative to cultivating diversity and innovation in the workplace, and should be recognised for their hard work. It is important for women in business to feel empowered and valued.

If you could have dinner with any woman in the world who would it be?
Angelina Jolie, because she is an inspirational figure who stands up for human rights and equality. Through her humanitarian work and other philanthropic duties, she is a woman who is empowering and passionate about her duties.

Rifka Samsudeen
Bachelor of Commerce
Sponsorship Director, Network of Women

Why are you passionate about women in business?
I am passionate about the power and strength that comes with women in business. As a cadet, I have been exposed to the corporate world and the women and men that I have had the pleasure of meeting have empowered me and built a strong passion within me for women in business. I have great role models who inspire me to reach further and go beyond all those before me!

If you could have dinner with any woman in the world who would it be?
I would choose to have a (hopefully) very long dinner with Michelle Obama. She has inspired many in her years as the First Lady of the United States in times of great strife. I feel that she is an everywoman, an indication and inspiration for all women, myself included, of what lies ahead with hard work and a passion for equality. Dinner with Michelle Obama would be a dream as she stands for all that is important to me and does so with such grace and charm. Her ability to handle the pressure of her role and the obstacles that presented to her, whether it be due to her race, gender or social standing, she has led the way and I hope to follow in her footsteps.

Jenny Stokk
Bachelor of Commerce
IT and Media Director, Network of Women

Why are you passionate about women in business?
Women still face many unique issues in the workplace, and I believe we can do something about the false belief that women do not belong in the high-powered corporate world. I got involved with NOW because we all share a passion of bringing more women into business and advancing their leadership aspirations.

If you could have dinner with any woman in the world who would it be?
Michelle Obama. An amazing women who is in the forefront of the battle we are a part of. "A woman's place is truly wherever she wants it to be". Her focus on girls from the very young age is why I believe she is an important figure, because we need to build girls up to believe in themselves and break glass ceilings from the early stage.

The University of Sydney is committed to advancing gender equity, promoting women in leadership and furthering women’s education. Find out more.