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

Bridge


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.

27 March 2018

CEO on the Road: Procter & Gamble

Two of our students Olivia Lim and Shirley Wu got up close and personal with one of our Corporate Partners, Procter and Gamble (P&G) Australia when they went to visit their head office as part of the CEO on the Road program. Read about Olivia and Shirley’s experience as they got a sneak peek of their offices, got to network with some of the team and gain insight into what it is like to work at a leading FMCG company.


Olivia Lim

I was very lucky to be one of two students selected to visit the Procter & Gamble (P&G) Australia office as part of  CEO on the Road. My role was to be a student ambassador representing the University of Sydney Business School. As I entered the P&G office, the walls in the reception area were decorated with P&G’s various awards and award-winning products such as SKII, Pantene and Oral B. We met Emma Russ (Talent Manager & HR Business Partner) who kindly showed us around the office and gave us insight into the working life at P&G.

Something that was very memorable to me was as we entered the main office, there was a large award with signatures from the P&G team which to me represented the diversity in their organisation. It was made aware to us that at P&G, diversity is in the essence of their culture and they currently have employees from over 30 countries.



At the P&G office, there is a fully stacked breakfast bar and massage chairs for their employees to enjoy. We also met employees from the marketing team. They were very friendly and passionate about their work. They proudly showed us their recent successful marketing brief - it was absolutely inspiring.

Later on, we had a wonderful opportunity to interview the General Manager of P&G, Vivek Gupta.  It was such an honour to be able to ask him questions about his personal journey and gain insight about various internship opportunities. He mentioned that he started as an intern 20 years ago. He was such a humble man and his story was truly inspirational.

We also met a student graduate, William Longman (Category Strategy Manager), who answered our questions about his personal journey to P&G, internship experience and what it’s like to work there. It gave me a much deeper understanding of their work culture which was very insightful and informative. The interview session ended with Emma Russ informing us about the graduate program application due dates, advice, tips and what it takes to be a good fit for P&G.

At the end of the tour, all of us who attended the event received a very generous gift bag which was filled with many P&G products. The experience was truly invaluable and allowed me to really feel what it would be like working at P&G. It was also a wonderful networking opportunity. It has made me much more certain about my career path into an FMCG company. I would highly recommend any student that has a particular interest to take part in the CEO on the Road.

Shirley Wu

As one of two students chosen to attend the CEO on the Road event at Procter & Gamble (P&G) Australia, I was given the opportunity to learn more about the FMCG industry and meet new and interesting people in the process. I was also given the rare opportunity to explore their corporate head office in Macquarie Park, and even speak with the newly appointed General Manager for their Australian division.

When we arrived at the office, we were greeted by Emma Russ (Talent Manager & HR Business Partner) who took us on a tour of the P&G Australia office. One thing that stood out was that the kitchen was stocked with fresh fruits, cereals and juices available for employees throughout the day. There was even a smoothie machine and a fridge stocked up with smoothie ingredients!

We were given the opportunity to interview the General Manager and a University of Sydney graduate currently working at P&G Australia. We met with Vivek Gupta (General Manager), who answered our questions about the organisation and his 20-year journey to his current position. His responses demonstrated the possible career pathways in a large FMCG company and really inspired me to take up every opportunity in my future career. We then met with William Longman (Category Strategy Manager and University of Sydney graduate), who answered our questions about the graduate program and his experience at P&G Australia. His responses were very insightful and gave me a fantastic understanding of the graduate program and company culture. At the end of the day, we were given gift bags containing several P&G products. Emma also made us smoothies for our trip back to university!

One thing I have learnt from this experience is that culture is the number one factor differentiating one organisation from another. There is no ‘perfect organisation’ for everyone, as each and every one of us are different in our work preferences. It really takes one to network with employees at an organisation and be able to explore the office space to gain a clear snapshot of an organisation’s workplace culture. After visiting the P&G Australia office and meeting several of their employees, I have gained a clearer understanding of the organisation’s culture and how people within the organisation interact with one another. I strongly recommend all students to attend networking events and participate in programs like CEO on the Road to successfully choose an organisation that is perfect for them.


22 March 2018

5 Learnings from a Female Entrepreneur

When I first started my own business after graduating from Sydney University there were many things I had expected. Lots of work? Yes. Initially struggling to pay the bills? Yes. A thriving business? I hoped so.

After six years of being a female entrepreneur and having built four profitable businesses (and sold one) I wanted to share with you some learnings which I hope might encourage more students to pursue entrepreneurship.

University is the perfect time to try entrepreneurship 


It was not until my last year of Commerce Liberal Studies in 2010 that I “discovered” entrepreneurship. I remember meeting people who were part of an entrepreneurial society and they told me to read the “4 Hour Work Week” and invited me to events where we would listen to the stories of successful entrepreneurs. I was amazed to learn that it was possible to run your own business. I wish I had learned this earlier because when you are a student you have a huge amount of flexibility to try new things and make mistakes. The worst-case scenario, if the entrepreneurial pursuits fail, is wasting some time and money (which, let’s be honest, would be spent on Netflix or in the bar anyway!).

Joining entrepreneur societies and trying to start a business will be a complete eye opener, incredibly fun, expose you to amazing people and, if nothing else, will give you some real-world experience to talk about in your graduate interviews. I’ve met many people who have started a fun side hustle while at university which has turned into a thriving business.

Learn the skills of the future at university 


I wish I had taken the time to identify the skills that are incredibly relevant to business and ensured I studied these both in my degree and also in my spare time. Any IT skills, accounting, business systems, coding and sales would have helped me get ahead faster.

At university you have access to some of the smartest students, professors and resources available- I would strongly recommend you take the time to learn as much as you can rather than selecting courses which might be less demanding or more familiar.

Make a bucket list of people who inspire you… and meet them

Being a student provides you with an incredible opportunity to meet people because almost every successful person wants to help the younger generation. I wish I had made a bucket list of all the people who inspired me, and then found someway to meet them for a coffee and learn all I could.
You could, for example, interview them for the university student magazine/blog or reach out to them to see if you could do a short volunteer internship. Your proactive character and willingness to learn will be remembered and put you in the path of opportunity.

Lay the building blocks now to reap the rewards later

It’s so important to take the time to think about your ideal life and some of the dreams you want to realise in 5, 10, 15 years and work backwards to lay the building blocks now. I remember I had the dream to be able to take a year off when I was 28 and travel the world while still earning an income.

It was because of this clear dream that I pursued entrepreneurship and I set my businesses up so that I could work from any location. It took lots of small decisions over the course of 5 years but they all led towards this dream that I am now realizing.

Sit down and take the time to imagine your ideal lifestyle and then plan backwards. This roadmap will be invaluable when you are making decisions about your life and it will guide you towards your dreams.

Enjoy the journey 

When I was in university I spent so much time worrying about the future and fretting that I was not achieving everything soon enough. Since then, I’ve read many books and had many experiences which have taught me to enjoy the journey.

Happiness and peace comes from making progress towards goals you have set for yourself. It’s important to build enjoyment into your life everyday because each time you achieve a dream you will set yourself another. Currently, I’ve set myself some huge business goals but I also ensure that everyday I take the time to spend with friends, to do sports and hobbies I love and to be grateful for what I have.

If you want to learn more about enjoying the journey then start by read Eckhart Tolle “The Power of Now”, “Search Inside Yourself” and “Man’s Search for Meaning” – invaluable lessons will be learned.

Takeaways

Your time at university offers you a huge opportunity to learn, understand and also think about what kind of life you want to lead and what dreams you have. There has never been a better time to become an entrepreneur or to achieve the life you dream of.

If you want to take that next step, here is some great idea:

  • Join your university entrepreneur societies
  • Ensure you choose subjects and courses teach you skills important for business
  • Read the “The 4 Hour Work Week” by Tim Feriss
  • Volunteer your time with successful entrepreneurs in Sydney. You can read the “Top 30 under 30” BRW, and “Young Rich List” and Telstra Business Awards, to give you an idea who is doing well 
  • Read, Read, Read - blogs, business books, business biographies

About Erin


Erin Young graduated from a Bachelor of Commerce (Liberal Studies) in 2010. She founded Zen Green Matcha Tea, the leading Australian matcha tea brand in 2012. Erin now owns and runs three successful companies including expanding her tea business into the USA under the brand Evergreen Matcha. Erin operates her businesses remotely and has spend the past 2.5 years working from over 27 countries. You can learn more about her green tea products here; Matcha Tea.

27 February 2018

Exploring my future career with the Industry Placement Program


Many of us would recall that when we were little, our parents telling us that you can do whatever you want to do and be whoever you want to be. But as the clock ticked by, sometimes we get lost. When it comes to my career, I got worried when I suddenly realised that I didn’t want to be an astronaut anymore, after watching a video detailing their daily training activities. However, I also realised the importance of developing a thorough understanding of your future career before diving into it. The main driving force for me to apply for the International Placement Program in China was to gain some insight into the accounting and auditing industry, and I was particularly curious about the working dynamics of the ‘Big Fours’ since they operate across the globe. As a result, I mentioned my placement preference during the selection process and I do appreciate the effort put in by the program coordinator to successfully matched me with my ideal placement host. My host organisation was KPMG China, located in Beijing, and I was one of the interns allocated to the financial service auditing department for my learning experience.

The program follows a well-structured framework, which instructs students to set out a few achievable performance objectives in three key learning areas before the commencement of the internship, and encourages participants to self-reflect on this valuable industry experience throughout. It’s a great way to keep a record of your learning journey, as well as reminding you to keep your eyes open and constantly reflecting on your professional and personal growth, instead of getting lost in trivial matters which might blindfold you from the bigger picture.

At the beginning of my internship, a two-day onboard training was organised by the Learning and Development department to introduce us to the working environment and the main tasks that we would be engaged in. We were then picked up by our in-charges to be taken to the project groups. I was quite nervous when I first walked towards my team since they were all busy watching their screen and typing on their keyboards. But as I was ready to introduce myself to the team, everyone turned away from their computer with big smiles on their faces, I was immersed in a sense of belonging immediately. I was then introduced to my main tasks which involved completing audit working papers and preparing and sending audit confirmations. These tasks might sound simple, but when it comes to the details it could get really confusing. I soon realised that you should never be afraid to ask questions since everyone has their own jobs to focus on, if you kept your questions as a secret, you are underestimating the importance of your role and being irresponsible to the entire team. I have learnt so much from asking questions, not only for gaining professional on-job knowledge, but also for getting to know the people and understanding the corporate culture. By the end of my internship, I had experienced a lot of different stages of the auditing process, which is extremely valuable for me to make decisions about my future career. I have also gotten to know many of the lovely people working at the firm, received advice and created friendships.

I would strongly recommend everyone to make an effort to apply for the IPP program since it’s definitely more than just an internship opportunity. The Business School will prepare you well before the orientation and help you set up your expectations appropriately. I have enjoyed my internship journey so much that I could not have expected more than what I have experienced!

Written by Jiaxin (Cathy) Yu
Current student at the University of Sydney Business School