5 July 2019

How Managing Communications in Organisations equipped me to thrive

Christopher Joseph Tsui
I recently completed the Managing Communications in Organisations unit as part of the People Management and Organisations specialisation within the Master of Commerce. As someone who has never been away from my home country for more than four months, I found there was nothing more exciting than sharing and hearing the perspectives of my fellow group members and how their experiences and cultural upbringing shaped their views on business concepts.

For the unit's final project, we had to produce a recommendation to improve the University of Sydney's value proposition in attracting prospective students. Having only started in Semester 1, 2019, this was an amazing opportunity for us to provide fresh insights stemming from our recent experiences throughout the application process.

What made the project so interesting was how the group's diversity was reflected in our different approaches to tasks throughout the application process, which ranged from information gathering to defining course structures and pathways support. While a few students relied exclusively upon the University website, others such as myself relied on educational expos and roadshows to narrow our options down through more personalised communication.

Ultimately, the group decided to improve communication channels through these personalised events, which we considered make-or-break opportunities for the University to capitalise on convincingly delivering its program availability and structures.

The content covered in the project, and throughout the unit, has provided me with references that I'll be able to apply upon entering any organisation. Whether the focus is on managing conflicts within teams, understanding the reason and purpose behind our non-verbal communication skills and what messages these may project, or even on thriving within a culturally rich multinational organisation, the takeaways of the unit will allow me to understand and adapt to the little nuances that make each organisation unique.

More importantly, my learnings will equip me with the skills to thrive in a business environment that is rapidly changing, with an understanding of advancements in technology and machine learning as well as continuous innovation and the effective management necessary to facilitate it.

Written by Christopher Joseph Reyes Tsui
Master of Commerce student

14 May 2019

University of Sydney team finishes second at Alpha Beta Psi Regional Meeting

Beta Alpha Psi (BAP) is a United States-based organisation which acknowledges outstanding academic achievement and promotes best practice in the study of accounting, finance, and information systems. It was founded in the United States in 1919 and celebrates its 100th anniversary this year.

Lily Zheng, Sachin Samarawickrama, Minqiu Zhao, Alex Zhao, Janine Coupe, Jeff Brown and Dhivyen Aaron

Along with students from UTS, University of Melbourne, Monash, Deakin, University of Auckland and Waikato University, the University of Sydney team attended the Beta Alpha Psi Oceania Regional Meeting themed "Inspiring Future Leaders to Leave a Legacy of Excellence," hosted by Monash University in Melbourne, Australia.

Presenting in the Best Practice competition with the metaphor of planting a tree that gives shade to future generations, the USYD Chapter, represented by Jeff Brown and Sachin Samarawickrama, placed second in the category of "Branches" while Alex Zhao and Lily Zheng placed 3rd in the category "Roots." USYD finished as the 2nd ranked University amongst the Oceania chapters.

"I was extremely proud of the team," said Janine Coupe, USYD Faculty Advisor.

Dhivyen Aaron, Alex Zhao, Lily Zheng, Minqiu Zhao, Jeff Brown and Sachin Samarawickrama

With a keynote presentation from Andrew van Dinter, EY Global Mining and Metals Tax Leader, and professional development activities provided by Tiago Devesa and Matt Gaffney, the team gained deep insights that they plan to implement and share with the USYD community at events.

USYD Beta Alpha Psi also held a Design Thinking Workshop with IBM at the start of April. In late March, members took part in the Diversity & Inclusiveness Conference, sponsored by EY, with a panel of practitioners and academics sharing their experience.

To find out more, or sign up to become a student member, visit the USYD Beta Alpha Psi website.

Written by Minqiu Zhao

7 May 2019

Become job smart in Job Smart

Two years ago I was an international student, coming to Australia without any family or friends.
Now I’ve finished my internship in one of the world-class luxury groups and guaranteed an extensive work opportunity.

You may wonder how I could access those incredible opportunities. Job Smart is my answer.

What is Job Smart?

“Job Smart is a free program for international students at the Business School, enabling students to gain the skills and professional experience needed to get a great job after graduation.” 

The structure of Job Smart cannot be clearer. It is divided into three phases and students are supposed to take one phase in each semester. The best thing for students who are busy with their studies is that the program allows us to complete almost 80% of the tasks online. Those tasks, including a skill checklist, CV check and volunteering activities, provided great additions to my resume.

Why become Job Smart? 

By joining Job Smart, you can sharpen your:

  • Skills: communication, interpersonal, teamwork, presentation, resilience
  • Experience: volunteering, business project, Australian workplace experience
  • Local networks: networking events, workshops, online groups
  • Professional coaching sessions: resume/cover letter check, mock interview, assessment centre 

How to become Job Smart

I’ve been promoted to a Job Smart Program Ambassador in my last semester. This is a paid job but never advertised. I just felt so lucky, but later my manager unveiled the question and told me that it was all because of my attitudes – asking questions during the session, helping other students understand the program, attending every workshop and networking actively with stakeholders.

Her words impressed me that small things can become huge driver - and you never know what it may bring to you.

Learn more about the program at our Job Smart page.

Written by Daisy Fu
Career Leader and Job Smart Ambassador
Master of Commerce (2018)

3 May 2019

2019 Asia-Pacific Student Entrepreneurship Society Summit

As a representative of the University of Sydney and Australia in general, I was selected as one among 35 international delegates to participate in Stanford University’s prestigious program – ASES Summit. We were promised a week of discomfort, challenges and pain, all for one goal: to solve the world’s toughest problems. From the moment we were picked up at the airport by one of the Summit directors and chatted to him about the week ahead in his car, we knew we were in for one hell of a ride.

From Day 1, we hit the ground running and started with a team-building activity in the form of entrepreneurship-based 'speed-dating,' where we quickly got to know each other's 2-minute version resumes and what they were looking forward to and expecting for the Summit. We were then treated to a classic Stanford dining experience at the Arrillaga Dining Commons, a buffet-styled dinner complete with coffee (a necessity up here) and ice-cream. For the duration of the week, we were each assigned a ‘host’ student who would take us around the University during free time and ‘buzz’ us in everywhere we went with their ID cards. Personally, the dorm experience was something I’ve always wondered about and it was a truly eye-opening experience.

The rest of the days started with a bang, with Professor Richard Dasher who is, among many others, the Director of Stanford’s Technology Management Centre, a Board Director and senior lecturer. His talk would be the first of many deeply engaging sessions we would have, with the sheer experience of speakers such as Irina Kofman (COO of Google AI), Stanley Tang (Founder of DoorDash), Adam Rowell (CTO of Lucid) and many more capturing us with just their life stories and the lessons they had learnt about what it takes to build a business from scratch and succeed.

Aryan Ajdari (co-founder of 300 Selective, Actuarial Student at Macquarie University),  Nicholas Benavides (Co-President of ASES, Masters of Computer Science at Stanford) and  Chris Song (co-founder of 300 Selective, Commerce/Laws Student at University of Sydney)

Every meal was an event in itself, ranging from picnics at the renowned Meyer Green field with the speakers for the day, to a formal banquet dinner at Palo Alto’s INDO restaurant and lounge, to a sponsored Chipotle dinner in the comfort of our dorm rooms with ASES alumni.

We also had the opportunity to tour many of Silicon Valley’s gems including Facebook and Salesforce, as well as Stanford’s very own D.school (Hasso Plattner Institute of Design), the birthplace of Design Thinking. Even walking around the vast university between sessions felt both humbling and enriching.

In between the talks, tours and meals, we had team-forming sessions and work hours to develop our pitches on the theme ‘Pioneering New Industries.’ My team brainstormed and agreed upon an idea that crossed my mind while I had to run for the bus in the middle of summer, fully dressed for my job interview: a platform which connects users with facilities and homes who are willing to provide an on-call shower service. Inspired by AirBnB, this platform would address both the user’s need for quick showers when they are on the run, and homes and facilities’ underutilisation of such shower equipment.

After two consecutive 3am prep nights, it was time for the presentation of our final pitches (unfortunately we didn’t secure first place, however I am able to refer you to Elisa Lillicrap, a second-year Commerce student at the University whose group won the first-place prize!)

Words cannot describe the amount of knowledge, insight, and resilience I gained over just seven days. Most importantly, I will always cherish the 50+ lifelong friends from all over the world that I’ve made, who I believe will truly be the next leaders in a generation rising up to take the business world by storm. Whether it be India, Russia, China, or back to San Francisco, I will always have a place to stay.

Written by Chris Song
Third year Bachelor of Commerce/Laws student

26 April 2019

The Big Meet

On the 31 March, I went to The Big Meet at the International Convention Centre Sydney. The Big Meet is a part careers fair, part networking event targeted towards graduate students featuring the biggest companies in various industries.

Exhibitors mingling with students at The Big Meet

Students had the opportunity to mingle with graduates and representatives from organisations both in the public and private sector, including companies such as Westpac, NSW Government, Schneider Electric, Reece and Coles!

Best tips for navigating a big careers event

1. Select who you talk to carefully

It’s easy to be tempted to talk to all the exhibitors at a large event like this. However, you only have 3 hours, and even though this sounds like a lot of time, time flies! This is where prior research before the event comes in handy. Having a list or idea of who you want to talk to before you walk in allows you to maximise your time. Aim for quality over quantity.

2. Talk to the representatives

It can be daunting talking to a complete stranger but all the exhibitors are nice people! They have been chosen to represent their brand so they are easy to talk to and have great knowledge of the brand.

Learn about their experiences and don’t be afraid to ask them about how it’s like working for that company! Many of the representatives are graduates so they were in your shoes not too long ago and can relate. They’ll give you first hand insights and tips you probably can’t find elsewhere. They also might recommend you a graduate stream you weren’t previously looking into - so grab the opportunity.

It’s a nice way to also make a great first impression. Many of the exhibitors will also have one HR representative on the stall so if you stand out, they might just remember you when they’re reviewing your application!

3. Don’t be afraid to network and keep in touch

A lot of the representatives were actually surprised that more students didn't ask for their contact details to keep in touch. Don’t be afraid when you’re wrapping up the conversation to request their LinkedIn details so you can keep in touch. After all, LinkedIn is a platform for professional networking so most representatives will be fine with connecting on LinkedIn! Some might also drop you a business card if they like you.

Connecting on LinkedIn is also a great way to see their company culture firsthand. A lot of them will post about what they do at work so you can really see the “insider perspective” of the company. You might also pop up on their feeds once in a while and there’s no harm in that right?

Attend networking and career events!

They’re a great way to meet new people, build your professional network and gain first hand knowledge of what it’s like to work in a particular company! You never know what you might learn and it may even assist you in landing a job at your dream company! There’s also free merchandise - who can say no to that?

Goodie bags from The Big Meet

The Careers and Employability Office (CEO) runs a suite of great networking and career-related events through semester. Stay tuned to our Facebook group and Canvas page to stay up to date with what’s on offer

Written by Oliver Pang
4th year Commerce (Liberal Studies) student

17 April 2019

All-female Sydney team triumphs against world’s most prestigious universities

Representing the University of Sydney in a global finance competition has been one of the most enriching experiences of my commerce degree. My team and I had the privilege of participating in the 'William and Mary Stock Pitch Challenge' in Virginia, where we competed against top universities including the University of Pennsylvania, UC Berkeley, Stanford and Cornell. Our recommendation to buy Nike’s shares placed second.

Over the last couple of months, I worked closely with my team which comprised of Alice Cao, Chloe Segal and Nola Xie. Based off our research and analysis, we identified what the market had under-estimated with respect to Nike’s stocks, and from this we formulated a buy recommendation. We were judged on our investment recommendation, valuation and presentation skills.

It was humbling to present to the judging panel comprised of industry leaders, many of whom were senior women leaders in the world’s most recognisable organisations. Our hard work was validated when one of the judges said "[I] asked the hardest questions I would ask professional managers and they nailed them."

Alice Cao, Nola Xie, Chloe Segal and Wendy Yang

This competition aided us in developing both technical and soft skills. This included improved proficiency of modelling, to developing a stronger understanding of the quantitative impact of a transformative supply chain strategy on Nike's different geographical segments.

Participating in the challenge has increased my awareness of opportunities for women pursuing finance as a career, enhanced my curiosity for global financial markets and allowed me to apply my technical knowledge derived from Business School courses (such as 'Valuations' and 'Mergers and Acquisitions') in a practical setting.

What differentiated this stock pitch challenge was the Leadership Summit component of the event. We participated in workshops regarding 'Women Helping Women' and 'The Key to Networking Success,' panelled by senior women leaders in investment banking, fund management, management consulting and law. Mentors were drawn from firms including JP Morgan, UBS, IBM, Blackrock, CFA and Morgan Stanley. Particularly as we are at the initial stages of our finance careers, it was very helpful to hear about the personal and professional experiences of senior women leader, as well as tips and advice they picked up along the way.

This challenge has enriched my university experience. It was so inspiring to be surrounded by supportive and competent women in the form of other participants, academic and industry mentors and the judging panel. Experiencing college life in America, meeting local students, and travelling more generally just made the experience even more memorable.

I would recommend this challenge to any student who wants to see what they can achieve when they compete against the best in the world.

Written by Wendy Yang

9 April 2019

A Guide to Spending Summer in San Francisco’s Winter

Prior to completing the Industry Placement Program, I had never travelled outside New South Wales on my own before. So why did I even consider going to the other side of the globe? For me, IPP was the right balance of academic, work and travel… the perfect opportunity to spend a summer in winter.

Applying for IPP

In my first year, I had spent my summer break working full-time and eventually regretting a chance to do something different. When I had considered how I’d use my next break, I decided it was best to take a unit and, from my research, I found the Local Industry Placement Program (IPP). I was sold having attended the Info Session, as I realised the uniqueness of the cultural immersion offered by travelling to the US! As an equity student, hearing about the scholarships available made me realise that travelling would be realistic. In order to stand out amongst the competitive crowd, I had attended different sessions offered by the Careers and Employability Office and utilised their resources on Canvas to tailor my application.

My IPP experience

I was hired as a Policy Intern at Livable City, a non-profit organisation aiming to improve San Francisco’s liveability. I was nervous as I had limited experience in data analytics and no understanding of the local neighbourhood’s conditions. However, my co-workers were friendly and always wanted to know more about Australia. The comforting work environment and office cat (Puff Puff) made me feel as though I could easily ask questions about my projects.

The office cat, Puff Puff
Upon completion of my placement, I had exceeded expectations by completing two different projects! To finish off my 5 weeks, I presented in front of the organisation on my findings, what I had learnt and my own perspective on San Francisco city.

My final work day: The team wanted me to sit on a bike since they knew I didn’t know how to ride one

Highlight of the trip: my own San Francisco tour!

The most important thing I learnt while travelling was to research how to manage my time. The first few days of having no sim card, not understanding where I was living or even having the bare necessities to live in my apartment were difficult. At that moment, I had promised to spend the following weekends exploring San Francisco sites, travelling across the bays and to show my family I was making an effort. My proudest moment was when I successfully pulled off a full day of visiting Fisherman’s Wharf, In N’ Out, the Maritime National Museum, Lombard Street, the Golden Gate Bridge, Chinatown, the Golden Cookie Factory, the Cable Car Museum and the Grace Cathedral! This gave me the confidence to spend the following weekends visiting other popular destinations and making time for the assessments in-between. The best part of the trip was reporting my adventures back to my colleagues and taking their advice on where I should go next.

Now it’s your turn to apply! 

Completing this program has been transformative on how I approach university and work in Sydney. I have learnt to balance my professional, academic and personal goals through organisation techniques adopted in America. This has been possible due to the amazing team in the Careers and Employability Office dedicating so much effort in finding me a suitable placement. I have grown into a student capable of travelling across cities on her own, with a mature outlook on the workplace.

The rooftop of our apartment, located near Twitter Headquarters

Despite any concerns you may have, there is nothing to lose by sending in an application. My experience continues to live on as I stay connected with fellow peers, as well as my co-workers at Livable City. Submit your IPP application for your journey of a lifetime!

Written by Catherine Nguyen