11 September 2017

Where will postgraduate study in international business lead you?

Master of International Business graduate Jiaqi Qin shares his journey to undertaking postgraduate study, where he is now and why he chose to study international business at the University of Sydney Business School.

Jiaqi Qin
Master of International Business

Where has your postgraduate study led you?

I am currently working as an analyst and sales manager trainee in a trading company. The company is a subsidiary of JD-link Co., a listed international logistic company in China.

My first role is as a business analyst – i.e. doing research on the business environment, trading policies and market situation of other countries to form references for the decision maker. The company is planning to do investment in the ASEAN region as a rising number of Chinese firms, especially those of labor-intensive industries, are moving to south-east Asia. The investment echoes the Chinese government’s Belt and Road strategy. At this stage, we are focusing on the market opportunities for building materials (steel, cement etc.), home furnishing, agribusiness, and consulting service in Vietnam.

My second role is as a sales manager trainee. The company is trying to do some trading business based on its logistic infrastructures. It has started with import milk from Australia, home care products, wine and other FMCG. Its business model is not mature, so I am focusing on its model design and sales channel development.

Why did you choose to study international business at the University of Sydney?

China is the biggest exporter in the world. ‘Made in China’ has become one of the most well-known phrase of Chinese goods found around almost all the corner shops in the world. And who made it happen? Merchandisers, traders, business man, those who engaged in international business. Ever since I travelled abroad in 2010 (to Australia) and saw how exporting business was booming, I told myself I want to be part of that. To me, getting the products we have to another country is cool, and the profit is very attractive. Since then, I worked hard to forge all the skills I thought a businessman should have: language ability, business knowledge.

After my graduation, I had an opportunity to work in a furniture manufacturing company as a sales assistant in the international marketing department. That was the first time I got involved in real life export business: meeting distributors, supervising the packaging process, answering enquiries, making quotations... I could be a good export agent with all these practices, but will that be enough? I found myself with a lack of a comprehensive sense of international business: we use distributors but why? Why do they matter? We use Certificates of Origin to enjoy the concessions under the Most Favored Nation policy but how exactly does it work? How will it affect the business in the future? I spent a great amount of time doing daily routines, which made me a good part of the department. However, how about leading the department? Can I do that? Would I have a mindset to form a business strategy? To explore business opportunities in a brand new country? I couldn’t answer those questions. And I don’t think in a short time my job could offer me these answers.

Then I started my research on a list of degrees from all different countries. Luckily I found the Master of International Business (MIB) at Sydney Uni. The introduction of MIB was like the first eye contact of my beloved girlfriend and I still remember that I told myself that day: I think I find the one.

What was most valuable about your learning experiences at the University?

Methodologies. Studying at USYD was very different and challenging work for me as I have never studied in a Western university before. The differences almost “got me”. The mechanism encouraged me to explore everything basically on my own. I was joking: “what on earth had I paid my tuition for since I have to do all of it by myself?” Nevertheless, this was the most valuable thing USYD offered me: methodologies – i.e. methods to approach and solve problems. I appreciate it so much after I started working. A business degree won’t really give you a lot of practical skills like an engineer degree, but it gives you methodologies you can use to learn, to talk, and to think. Technologies evolve while methodologies last. The methodologies I learnt will benefit me for the rest of my life.

How has the Master of International Business prepared you for future opportunities and is helping you to achieve your career goals?

The Master of International Business gives me a more comprehensive understanding of international business. With all the research and analytical skills I acquired during the degree, I can explore industries and markets in an efficient way. Industries are different, but the ways to run businesses are pretty similar. I found such ability opens a wide range of opportunities for me. Besides, MIB installed in me a good sense of teamwork, professional mindset, business manners, multicultural communication, which would be critical in an international business career.

What advice would you give to someone considering studying international business at the University of Sydney and embarking on an international business career?

There were people asking me what exactly have I learnt from MIB? I told them if you are looking for a specific skill, don’t even bother to do MIB. MIB is a journey to show you what you can do. It will give you a sense of how to be a business consultant, an export manager, a government foreign affair officer, or a director of an international team. It is a rehearsal of your professional life, so you can choose what to do in the future. What you will have is the learning experience with all the resources, projects, cases, teamwork, multicultural environment provided by MIB. These works are exactly what you are going to face in your international business career. Try to make the most of them so you will have a wider horizon and more options in the future.

8 September 2017

Job Smart: A Success Story

Name: Haoxiang (Victor) Gu
Degree and majors: Master of Professional Accounting (MPA)
Position and company: Marketing Coordinator at St John Ambulance Australia (NSW)

Why did you decide to participate in Job Smart? What attracted you to the program?

I first met Job Smart when it just started in my first semester. As a brand-new student, I had no clue about this, also, brand-new program. The reason I chose to participate, to be honest, was the rewards/prize for completion of each phrase. That was a local working experience. How fantastic it is! And more importantly, it was totally free to join. So, why not?

What was the best thing about Job Smart?

Rather than delivering academic knowledge, Job Smart granted us a great opportunity to equip ourselves with more professional and hands-on work-required skills through its series of training. I am from a non-English speaking background, so you can imagine how hard it was for me to deliver a professional workplace presentation whilst standing in front of all the “big bosses”. Thanks to Job Smart’s pre-placement training, I was able to deliver a satisfying presentation in the end and the managers were all impressed by our work and happy to provide an extended term.

What are some of the greatest lessons you've learned from the experience?

After completing phase 1, I was qualified for a 2-week experience with St John Ambulance (NSW), a leading first-aid services provider. During the experience, I was allocated into a team of 5, working on projects like competitor profiling, training optimisation, product cost-benefit analysis, etc. It enabled me to demonstrate teamwork, leadership, time management and most importantly, networking, which is what I valued a lot. It was an immense experience whereby someone like me, who was new to the workplace, can understand both the organization and myself well enough and what career path to pursue in the future.

How has Job Smart added to your degree and grown you professionally/personally?

Job Smart was running step-by-step programs throughout the first half of the semester. They were mostly condensed into 1 or 2-hour sessions, which allows you to easily fit into your own study without any clashes. Most of the programs are marketing or consulting focused, which probably won’t be touched on a lot in your own majors.  For example, the position I started with was a marketing assistance, which was not my academic major but gave me a really good chance to know how do marketers work and what is the synergy between accounting and marketing. Marketing requires more out-of-box thinking which needs you to demonstrate sound creativity. And again, marketing is all about networking and socialising. On the other hand, accounting emphasises more on unambiguity and reasonability. It was good to understand both areas well and then decide where you will fit into. Nowadays, I believe that the best employee must be one who is competent in more than one area.

How did Job Smart help prepare you for your career, including landing a job while studying?

Besides the hands-on skills mentioned before, the other best thing about Job Smart I think is the opportunity, or in other words, networking. I wouldn’t have known my company and managers if I hadn’t received an opportunity from Job Smart; neither would I have had the chance to show what I am capable of. Employers would definitely know your capabilities from your “doing” (internship) rather than your “saying” (resume). So, Job Smart opened the door for me and enabled me to put my foot in first.

Would you recommend Job Smart to other students?

Yes, I definitely will. I highly recommend new students, especially international students, to grab this great opportunity and set your first foothold in an Australian workplace.
When the opportunity comes, what you need to do is try your best to impress your bosses. It was only last month, I got an email from St John saying that they are currently looking for a marketing coordinator and that was how I got my current position.

25 August 2017

HPAIR, you've been wonderful!

Imagine this: you’re in a room full of 600 other delegates from over 70 countries around the world, listening to renowned academics, industry professionals and political leaders impart their knowledge, experience and advice to you. Well that’s what I was able to experience this past week at the Harvard Project for Asian and International Relations 2017 Asia Conference held at the Sydney International Convention Centre. I had the amazing opportunity to be the student representative for the Business School (the University of Sydney was the partnering educational institution along with Harvard University) along with Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences student Swetha Das and other USYD delegates.

This year’s HPAIR five-day conference was jam-packed with over 80 exceptional speakers, six unique panel tracks, business field trips, interactive panel discussions (and constructive debates), impact challenge competition, and cultural and social events that provides delegates with ample networking opportunities broadens interdisciplinary knowledge and acts as a forum to share ideas in order to enact real social change. For those of you who were unable to attend, I wanted to share what we got to do during the 2017 HPAIR conference.

Day 1 

The first day consisted of the Opening Ceremony where we heard from Mitchell Hunter and Timothy Makalinao (the USYD and Harvard HPAIR Executive Directors) on their advocacy for change, diversity and sustainability, which led them to coordinating the biggest HPAIR conference yet. Next, John Lord AM, the Chairman for Huawei Australia, and David Ritter, the CEO of Greenpeace Australia, shared their stories of leadership and failures to aspire us to make a difference. What really stood out to me is David Ritter’s simplistic breakdown of the four quadrants of the global crisis: Democracy, Inequality, Climate Change, and the Crisis of Meaning, and the steps that can be taken by young leaders of today to spur the remedial process for these issues. 

Day 2

Business field trips here we come! I attended the Australian Department of Foreign Trade and Affairs trip that was located at the Australian National Maritime Museum. This field trip involved a panel discussion of issues pertinent to the Asia-Pacific region, including how Australia manages the challenges and opportunities presented by its relationships with China, India, and countries in the Pacific and ASEAN. We discussed the issues of sovereignty, current trade policies and much more. It was highly insightful to see how the global and regional economy operates in order to promote economic growth and global stability.

Day 3

University Day! Whilst everyone was capturing photos of the infamous Abercrombie staircase and the Hogwarts-like stature of the Great Hall, I sat in the ABS cafĂ© catching up on lectures and assessments. Fun I know but you got to work hard to play hard. 

Day 3 was also the beginning of the panel discussions for our individual tracks. As an Entrepreneurship and Technology delegate, we deliberated over topics such as AI, machine learning, cybersecurity, Women in the Technology and Entrepreneurship field to expanding business in Asia. Our panel speakers were either working in the technology/entrepreneurial field and were serial entrepreneurs, or working in the Asia-Pacific region with extensive knowledge and relationships, or even a combination of both. This was honestly my favourite part because not only were they brutally honest and genuine in their stories and advice, they debated over controversial issues providing us both sides of the story. We even had the chance to submit questions that was delved into with tremendous depth and insight. 

We moved on to our individual seminar sessions afterwards – I was in the Cybersecurity: Not Your Average Tech Superstar seminar with Michelle Price, COO of the Australian Cyber Security Growth Network Ltd. She highlighted the nature of the current cyber landscape, both the positive and negative risks associated with cybersecurity, and the global magnitude that a cyberattack like the Mirari botnet has. 

Did you know out of all the OECD countries, we, Australians, are the number one target for ransom ware in the world, per capita? Why? Because we are too trusting and have not yet experienced large home-grown terrorism, resulting in our lack of understanding of the associated risks. 

That night, I was truly immersed in a cultural frenzy as it was International Night at the Quadrangle. From cultural dances to traditional songs, we experienced it all and it was definitely enlightening! Nowhere else can you experience a mixture of over 70 countries and cultures in one single space like that. I went home that night feeling a lot more … cultured (HAHA)!

Day 4

My second favourite day, but also one of the most intense experiences I’ve ever had! Day 4 was the Impact Challenge Competition.

I was a part of the United States Studies Centre at University of Sydney case study challenge about Women in STEM fields. We were given a limited time frame (5 HOURS!) to analyse, research, produce a report and presentation on our findings, and demonstrate our innovative thinking through delivering policy recommendations that had the potential to be utilised in the work at the centre. Not only did we need to assess the Women in Stem environment in Australia and the US, but we had to make comparisons to the Asian region, in order to identify the best practices that can be implemented. Unfortunately we did not have the opportunity to present our recommendations, we felt like absolute guns! It was extremely challenging to produce something substantial in such limited time frame but we did it! It truly illustrated to me the power of team collaboration and integration – I’ve never worked in such a more cohesive environment where we able to provide constructive feedback to each other and brainstorm creative solutions. Also, never in my life have I been that productive! It was a whirlwind of a journey that I would gladly like to never participate in again (kidding…but not really)! 

Day 5 

Fifth and final day! 

We kicked off the day with our very own version of a Tedx Talk: HPAIRx, and WOW! We had five exceptional speakers who engaged us to think, debate and take action. Their topics ranged from behavioural action and thinking to the impact of their initiatives to equalise the STEM field for more women to enter. 

We ended the day with our final interactive panel discussion! This time in the Entrepreneurship and Technology track we were able to engage more with our panel speakers to ask more personal questions on their journeys to where they are today and the obstacles they faced along the way. Topics ranged from the role of mentors in career development and the approaches one would implement to nurturing and maintaining those relationships to the differences between the entrepreneurial skills and the entrepreneurial mindset. 

Of course, to truly finish this intensely amazing experience, we had dinner in the ICC Grand Ballroom and then the (long-awaited) after-party at the Marquee. I mean, who wouldn’t want to club on a Monday night with a 9am lecture the next morning! It was honestly so worth it and I wouldn’t give up this experience for anything in the world. I met some amazing people along the way, gained an overwhelming amount of knowledge and advice, and engage in some crazy challenges! I want to thank the HPAIR organisers and the University of Sydney for letting me be a part of the new wave of change. 

By Cindy Ngo, current Bachelor of Commerce student at the University of Sydney Business School

28 July 2017

GRIT: The essential approach to living a meaningful University life

High school to University has been one of the biggest transitions in my life. In my first few days at University, I faced a dilemma. On one hand, I had the freedom to design my schedule, with an infinite amount of available choices; but on the other hand, it was my first time thinking about my unpredictable future, so I wasn't sure about my first step. In face of uncertainty, I was distracted by novelty and normality, and forget to ask myself what I really wanted. I simply didn't know how to approach university. 

However, it was when I started applying the concept of GRIT that I gradually discovered my real passions and persevered through uncertainties and setbacks. According to the renowned psychologist, Angela Duckworth, GRIT has four elements: interest, practice, purpose and hope. 

Explore your interests. 

It is perfectly normal to start off not knowing your passion, but your interests are a good starting point. Through studies, clubs/societies, programs and work experience, we can experiment and develop our interests. In my first year of university, I initially wanted to major in Marketing, so I became the marketing leader of a university club. Soon, however, I realised it wasn't for me, and I switched to International Business, which again wasn't for me.

Last summer, I did my first internship through the University's Industry Placement Program, from which I developed a strong interest in the intersection of technology and business. That's when I decided to specialise in Business Information Systems, my second biggest passion.

My main passion, however, was discovered through my elective units: Psychology. Thomas Edison once said "I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work". Failing is like the sculptor Michelangelo chipping away excess stones of a stone until he finds David in his sculpture. Keep testing your interests, learn what ISN'T your passions from your failures, and you will eventually find your real passion.

Deliberately practice. 

We like to enjoy the present moment of doing what we're interested in. However, deliberate practice is about being better at what we're passionate about, by stretching ourselves beyond our current limit as if we're training a muscle. I previously learnt classical guitar, studying it for 10 years, and I practiced by playing the same musical piece over and over again. Real musicians, however, deliberately separate each musical piece into small sections and practice them individually until perfection.

I received 35% for my first university assignment, mainly due to my English writing skills, but since psychology emphasised precise use of language, I was willing to simultaneously improve my English whilst learning psychology. I also read many psychology books, and was willing to study a psychology elective unit on research design and statistics to help me better evaluate psychology journal articles. I was willing to deliberately practice psychology, but not classical guitar. To me, psychology is my passion and classical guitar is my hobby.

Management guru, Peter Drucker, best explains the purpose of deliberate practice: "focus on one's strength and dismiss one's weakness unless they hamper full deployment of your strengths".

Find your purpose. 

How does your passion positively impact others? An author may have good ideas, but unless they're manifested in a book that fulfils the needs of others, it may be more of a hobby than a passion. To find your purpose, remember to think creatively. Many people ask me why not consider becoming a psychologist. My response is that the purpose I see through my passion in psychology is to make psychology more accessible for improving human wellbeing, and I see this opportunity through technology and commercialisation. I recently found a start-up internship through listening to a podcast, which provides an online platform for corporates to improve employee wellbeing. My work has been a combination of Business Information Systems and Psychology. Steve Jobs' creativity, which came from the creative combination of electronics and liberal arts, is an inspiration to me.

Maintain hope. 

Believe tomorrow will be better than today. One way is to develop a growth mindset. Rather than thinking yourself as either good or bad, believe that you always can strive to become better, no matter how good you already are.

Another way is to receive social support. Share your interests and passions with others who are willing to listen. More importantly, seek professional support. I recommend three types of people. Firstly, your role models. What strengths could you learn from them? Reading books is the simplest and cheapest way to learn from innumerable role models. Secondly, the University's career counsellors. They provide full-range career suggestions and support tailored to your situation. Lastly, mentors. The University and societies provide mentorship programs. I am lucky to have had a mentor since I was 16, who not only unleashed my hidden potential, but also kept me on track in face of the uncertain future.

When pursuing your passions or your unique self, you will always confront obstacles, setbacks and even doubts from others.But don't forget, what differentiates the outliers from the normal is the infinite hope inside their hearts.

By Andy Huang, Bachelor of Commerce student (Business Information Systems and Finance) at the University of Sydney Business School.

21 July 2017

Enactus Sydney

What is the Enactus program?

Enactus Sydney is a student-led organisation that uses entrepreneurial action to create sustainable social enterprises. Our projects aim to tackle important social issues within the community  and are first-class demonstrations of the power of entrepreneurship, enabling progress and enhancing the lives of those we touch. Our organisation consists of 60 students from various faculties and in different stages of their degree progressions. We are part of the global Enactus network spanning across 36 countries, 1730 universities and over 72,000 students.

What projects did you work on as part of the program and present in the Enactus Nationals?

At the Enactus Nationals, we presented three of our current projects:
Culinary Tales provides refugees with employment, a source of income and social connection by empowering them to run their own cooking classes. This provides our refugees not only with economic skills and income, but also a social platform to share their experiences and cultures. We believe food has a powerful ability to forge harmonious connections between people from all different culture and across generations. Culinary Tales started by running classes in the community, open to all members of the public. We have since expanded our reach to high schools, where our classes directly supplement the Food Technology syllabus and enhance students' understanding of multiculturalism. Furthermore, we piloted our first Corporate Class for Culinary Tales in 16/17, representing the launch of our third innovative branch. 

The Pop Up Project aims to empower disadvantaged youths with business, hospitality and customer service skills to increase their chances of employment and cultivate a stronger sense of independence and self-determination. Through, partnerships with Glebe Youth Services, we are currently delivering a 'Three-Day program' involving a one day barista course, a business skills training day and one day real life experiences running a Pop-Up coffee and waffle stall on campus. in 16/17, we have also expanded the program by delivering a paid cafe internship program for two of our students. We hope to continue our partnership with local cafes and organisations to empower disadvantaged youths to seek future education and employment. 

Flashback is a creative writing program that aims to provide a platform for socially isolated senior citizens to share their experiences and explore their creativity. Our workshops are facilitated by students from University of Sydney and aims to provide an avenue for social interaction and inter-generational understanding. This project was started in February from our Enactus Summer Internship program and had its first pilot program in May 2017. We hope to continue expanding the project across retirement villages and publish their stories in the future. 

How did you implement entrepreneurial thinking and action to address the social causes/groups behind these projects?

One of the biggest tools that we utilise at Enactus Sydney is the design thinking methodology that allows us to go deeper beneath the surface of a problem to truly empathise and understand what needs to be solved. This involves needs assessments and a lot of critical preliminary research. Ultimately, this allows our ideas and solutions to be truly impactful when we pilot and launch them. Furthermore, we often employ business tools and frameworks that we've learnt during our University studies to ensure our projects are as strong as possible. 

What was your key takeaway from the experience of the Enactus Nationals?

Enactus Nationals was truly an amazing experience. For our team, the ability to see the amazing projects of other universities was a key learning experience. We really appreciated the opportunity to hear about the social impact being made around Australia and it inspires us to continue working hard on our projects to ensure targeted, effective empowerment for the disadvantaged communities in Australia. At the end of the day, we are all tackling similar social issues in the community and we hope to foster a sense of partnership with other universities. By working together, we will be able to create solutions that will ultimately be most beneficial and empowering for the community.

What was it like interacting with other Enactus teams and presenting in front of industry professionals?

(From the presenters themselves):

Interacting with other Enactus teams and hearing about their projects with such passion was inspirational, truly highlighting the power that student volunteers have in creating social impact. Similarly, the opportunity to present to a panel of industry professionals who wanted to listen and learn about what we had achieved over the past year was invaluable, providing us with insight and advice that we can apply moving forward.

At first, presenting in front of the industry professionals was pretty nerve wracking, but the judges would smile which made me feel a lot more comfortable presenting. 
Meeting Enactus teams from other universities was also really great because we got to see what their Enactus culture was like and the different projects they were involved in.

Watching other teams' presentations was highly inspiring and refreshing when reflecting on the future direction of our teams' projects. 
I certainly underestimated the formality of the competition, which was immensely pleasing, as it showed the support, time and efforts industry professionals were willing to offer to the Enactus teams and their projects. 

How did you feel when it was announced Enactus Sydney were first place winners?

Speaking on behalf of the group, I think it is fair to say that when we were announced as winners, it was a moment of pure shock and joy. At the start of the year, Enactus Nationals was not on our radar: we were driven and focused on improving our projects to empower as many members of the community as we could. Hearing that we won was a great validation for us as a team because the results of our projects spoke for themselves and it simply reflected the hard work each and everyone of our members had put in. 

What are you looking forward to the most about participating in the upcoming Enactus World Cup in London?

As a team, we are excited to witness what other universities have accomplished in a multitude of countries. Furthermore, it will be an amazing cultural experience as we are able to network with students and business professionals from 36 other countries. Finally, as university students, we are simply excited to be able to travel to London and we are proud to represent Australia, and showcase our projects on the world stage. 

What are your expectations from the World Cup?

Going to the World Cup, we have not set any expectations on ourselves. Similar to the Enactus Nationals, we plan to let the results of our projects speak for themselves. However, we also expect this will be great learning experience as we hear about the various methodologies other universities utilise and their strategies towards delivering sustainable social impact in the community. 

Key people from the Nationals experience:

  • Our core executive team: Jonathon Tan (Chief Executive Officer), Alexander Chye (Chief Operating Officer), Sharon Yin (Chief Marketing Officer) and Carl Lesmana (Head of Project Development)
  • Our faculty advisors: Andrew Lee and James Meade
  • Our presenters: Matthew Youie, Lisa Gong, Monique Andreatta 
By Enactus Sydney, first place winners of Enactus Nationals.

19 July 2017

Industry Placement Program Q&A with Fernando Alves

Name: Fernando Alves
Degree: Master of Commerce
Major(s): Project Management
Industry Placement Program (IPP) Company: Business France

1. Tell us about what you worked on during your placement. Any exciting projects?

After an exciting and challenging interview process, I was given an internship with the Tech and Services department at the French Trade Commission here in Sydney, a great experience which combined consulting, lobbying and business development. Since the beginning, I was put on two different projects and directly worked alongside and reported to the Trade Advisor.

The first project was to assist a FinTech company who was seeking to enter and increase their activities across the Australian and New Zealand market through local partnerships. The second project was helping a major French port with their market entry strategy and B2B meetings in Australia.

2. What was the best thing about your IPP experience?

Exposure to a different range of projects, client led discussions, interviews, report writing and best practice market assessments.

3. What was your biggest achievement during the placement?

It was a challenging placement at first, having to juggle the three days a week of work and four units of study. However, it was well worth the investment as I was exposed to international consulting, a plethora of projects and cross cultural work ethics.

This experience allowed me to increase my ability to deal efficiently with a wide range of external contacts. It also allowed me to improve my communication and influencing skills and gain good knowledge of industry and business issues in both Australia and France.

4. What are your career goals and how did the IPP help you get closer to them?

The IPP allowed me to discover my passion and career path, and it allowed me to learn a lot about the industry I would like to work in. It also provided me with professional connections and career skills.

5. What was the biggest learning from your IPP experience?

My biggest learning from the IPP was a set of new skills, from new software program to different types of analysis to project management techniques. These in turn helped me with my university units as they complemented each other.

6. Why would you recommend the IPP to other students?

The IPP was a journey which provided me industry exposure and experience which allowed to be offered a trade advisory job. I would recommend it to anyone who wishes to gain real work experience and improve their resume and references. The IPP is an excellent opportunity to build professional connections and to learn new skills.

The Industry Placement Program provides Business School students the opportunity to work for leading firms as part of their degree. To find out more and apply, click here.

12 July 2017

10 tips to help you get an internship

Did you know, while you’re on holidays that it is internship and vacationer role season?
Some of you are probably enjoying the European summer with friends or wishing you were! Whilst it is important to use this time for R&R after a big semester one, try to make the most of your time off and think ahead to how you can make the most of your winter break.

An internship or vacationer role can help you stand out from the pack when it comes time to apply for graduate jobs. I was successful in securing a vacationer role with KPMG in their enterprise audit division. The recruitment process took about 5 weeks and involved an online application, online assessment, video interview and partner interview. I want to share with you my top ten tips for anyone thinking of applying for vacation programs/internships!

1. Plan

Applying for a vacation program/internship could be a lengthy process and require lots of preparation, so it is essential to plan your time accordingly. Write down the opening and closing dates of the applications in your diary and start refining your resume and cover letter. A great way to stay up to date with the company you are interested in working for, is following their Facebook page – most companies promote their opening and closing dates on Facebook!

2. Apply early

Keep in mind that many firms assess applications on a rolling basis, therefore the earlier you apply, the better your chance. The online application is the opportunity to make a great first impression, don’t rush through it the night before the application closes, and give it your best shot!

3. Do you research
Understand what the role entails, the services offered by the firm, the clients it serves, and the firm’s corporate culture. Think about why you are passionate about the role and how your skills and experiences align with what the firm is looking for.

4. Reach out to your connections

Whether you know someone senior in the industry or someone who was an intern for the firm you are interested in. Don’t be afraid to reach out to them and ask meaningful questions. People are willing to help you if you show genuine interest and willingness to learn.

5. Practice, practice, practice
Attend networking events to familiarise yourself in a professional setting and enhance your communication skills. Many societies host networking events where you can practise interacting with professionals and building relationships. For example, SUBS (Sydney University Business Society) will be hosting their high achievers’ breakfast in semester two, where you can meet representative from different firms and industries.

6. Ask feedback from others
Ask your parents or friends to look over your online application before submitting, improve your application based on their feedback. Conduct mock interviews with someone who can offer you direct and constructive feedback. For behavioural based interviews, use the STAR technique in answering questions and make sure you have various examples from different roles.

7. Confidence is key
Remember that it’s a two-way process, yes, the firm will be assessing you, but it is also your chance to learn more about the firm and find out whether the role really suits you and would help in achieving your career goals. Believe in yourself and let the firm know your past achievements.

8. Don’t be afraid to be yourself
When you reach the later stages of the recruitment process, such as video interviews, assessment centres or face to face interviews, don’t be afraid to show off your personality and just be who you are. Your interviewers are experienced and have met many candidates, therefore they will be able to tell if you aren’t being honest.

9. Visit the CEO
The CEO is a great place full of resources and offer a range of career-related services to business school students. The CEO can review your resume, look over your online application, offer you application advice and interview tips, and also 1:1 career counselling sessions. I visited the CEO before my partner interview, the career leader answered all my last minute questions with great patience and offered other useful advice about the interview.

10. It won’t be the end of the world if you don’t secure a vacationer role
Rejections are tough, but it won’t be the end of the world. I was rejected by many other firms before landing a job with KPMG, it is important to understand that there could be factor resulting your failure outside of your control. Don’t give up, look elsewhere, take every opportunity presented, you never know where your hard work may take you.

Good luck with all your applications!

By Josie Wu, Bachelor of Commerce student at the University of Sydney Business School