Tuesday, 20 September 2016

5 reasons why being an undergrad at the Business School is awesome

Want to know what it's like to be an Undergraduate student at the University of Sydney Business School? One of our students shares her top 5 reasons why being an undergrad here is awesome!

1. You get to study in one of the most impressive buildings on campus
The Abercrombie Building is the Business School’s new home. Both the outside and inside of the building looks really great and the best thing is all the natural light, making studying and hanging out a lot more enjoyable.

2. The opportunity to have real industry experience before you even graduate
The Industry Placement Program is an accredited unit of study that lets you work in leading companies locally and overseas, such as PwC, RB and Macquarie Group, and is offered to all Business School students. The unit itself is structured in a way that will help you gain the most out of your workplace placement. It’s a great opportunity to get a taste of what it’s like in your industry and gain experience that will definitely make you more career-ready and competitive.

3. It’s only 10 minute walk to Newtown
Café hopping and brunch before class anyone? The Business School is right next to Newtown which makes it extremely convenient when you have breaks between classes and want to take a bit of a walk. Newtown is always a very vibrant place with a lot of cool stores and nooks and crannies, as well as great food (look for under $10 lunch deals at places like Thai La-Ong!).

4. All the help and advice you can get here is endless
Since Day 1 of being at the Business School I was always presented with a wealth of resources and opportunities. The Careers and Employability Office, in particular, is a great place to start when you’ve got any career related questions. You can book one-on-one consultations for advice, such as if you’re confused about what major to pick or if you need your job applications to be reviewed. They also hold a lot of useful skills workshops and provide great online resources you can easily access.

5. We work hard and play hard
You’ll never be bored here. There is never a shortage of fun events that our clubs and societies regularly hold. As a Business School student, you’re an official member of SUBS (Sydney University Business School Society), which means you get to attend exciting things such as the SUBS cruise, sporting events and end of semester ball, and even occasionally get free food. There’s also events held by other societies such as the Commerce Revue and semester drinks.

Image credit: Sydney University Business Society

By Tracy Trieu, current Bachelor of Commerce (Liberal Studies) student at the University of Sydney Business School.

Thursday, 1 September 2016

3 top tips from Speed Mentoring

Last week the Sydney University Business Society (SUBS) had a speed mentoring session with some of our Business School alumni. Dean Bartolotta, current Business School student and member of SUBS shared the top 3 tips he took away from the mentoring session.

1. It's okay if you don't know exactly what you want to do
2. You can really only find our what's right for you by getting practical experience
3. There is no substitute for hard work.

Check out some photos from the night!

Monday, 22 August 2016

5 Tips to Make the Most Out of Your Open Day Experience

By Tracy Trieu, current Bachelor of Commerce (Liberal Studies) student at the University of Sydney Business School.

As a Year 12 student and one of the first from my family to go to university, I really didn’t know anything about tertiary education. What degree do I want to do? What university should I pick? Will I make friends? What’s the difference between a tutorial and a lecture?

There were so many unanswered questions and I had no idea what the next year had in store for me. But like other high school students, I attended as many Open Days as I could and it really helped clarify a lot of things for me. Open Day is essentially a day where you are able to get a taste of the university experience – there are club and society stalls, information booths, presentations, helpful lectures and workshops and, of course, freebies! The day opened my eyes to all the things the University of Sydney had to offer, and it gave me opportunities to further discover the courses I was interested in.

Open Day can be a really exciting and jammed packed day so here are some tips on how you can make the most out of it:
  1.  Plan your day! Take a look at all the activities and events available and map out where you want to go and the times (the University also offers an Open Day app you can download).
  2. Do a bit of research beforehand – Get an overview of the university and the courses available so you’re able to ask more informative questions on the day.
  3. Write down a list of questions you have (e.g. about courses, scholarships, programs) – This is really simple and can help you find all the answers you need without forgetting what you came for (since there’s a lot happening during Open Day and you might get distracted).
  4. Talk to the student ambassadors – They’re there to talk to you so don’t be afraid to ask about the student experience, which you might not hear a lot about. They’ve been in your position before and can offer really great advice.
  5.  Dress comfortably and pack light! I’m not going to lie, there’s most likely going to be a lot of walking involved during the day. You may also be handed a lot of freebies (including food) so try not to weigh yourself down.
With that being said, be curious, ask questions, take lots of photos (#usydbusiness and #usydopenday on Instagram) and just enjoy the day! And, it’s okay to not have a clue what you want to do in university – you’ll work it out.

Find out more about this years Open Day.

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

To Reflect is to Learn

I'm back home! After six weeks, I was all set to go home but on the morning of my departure, I got an email from my airline that my flight was cancelled due to bad weather condition in Hong Kong. What? Yes, so much for getting home! After waiting for a day, they were able to arrange my return flight with another airline. Totally out of my control, but I decided to look at it in a positive light - better to be safe than sorry.

So now that my internship is over, it’s time to reflect on my experiences.  Not only because I need to for my presentation, but also because I feel that my experiences will be worthless if I don’t learn from them. But before that, let’s rewind so I can tell you more about the rest of my time in Paris.

Overall, the 6-week-internship has been a great and rewarding experience.  Despite some drama, I enjoyed my time in Paris.  As planned, I managed to tick ‘my list’ - must see, eat and do. I found out how nice Parisian people are, at least this myth was proven wrong by my workmates at Marmiton, staff and lecturers in SciencesPo and people whom I happened to bump with (like the guy from the nearby ‘Boulangerie’ bakery).  However, the longer I’m in Paris, the more that I realised the benefit of being able to speak the language - if only I could speak conversationally.  With beauty such as Paris, you can easily get lost and forget about work and school, as there’s just so much to see and do.  So I made sure I kept myself in check, by focusing on work and school on weekdays.

I was really fortunate to have attended lectures on European Union (EU) at the time when Brexit was happening. We were presented with interesting topics on EU, though there were nights when I was too tired to absorb everything. Our French classes were also fun, actually always fun – maybe because the class members are cool? Or perhaps we are all beginners?  The thing was everybody just enjoyed learning the language, which meant soon as we got in the classroom, we were just delighted to be there.  Our ‘institutional day’ trip was pretty exciting as well.  They have arranged for us to visit the National Assembly; where we observed a session in progress (but only for few minutes as not all of us could understand it fully), Town Hall (Hotel De Ville) and the very cosy Australian Embassy office with a knockout view of the Eiffel Tower.  The office was beautiful, and our ambassador, Stephen Grady, kindly chatted with us and organised an afternoon tea despite his busy schedule. Oh, and OECD invited all of us, including our supervisors, to a cocktail evening and that was refreshing as well, as we got the chance to meet managers of different host companies and were able to exchange greetings and interesting stories.

As you can see, I’m not complaining. I have no regrets. I’m not saying that everything went perfectly. I don’t think that ever happens. There will always be ups and downs, problems, fun and sad times. There will be times when you will ask yourself if you made the right decision, especially in my case because I’m away from work without pay. Sometimes, you will be frustrated especially when your expectations were not met, or when things don’t go your way.  At times, you will feel alone and will be missing your family and friends back home.  But these are all part of the game, of the adventure.  The important thing is surviving through them, which I’m sure, our group or anyone else who signed up for programs like this is capable of doing so. We wouldn’t have joined if we knew we weren’t up for it.

So as I reflect through my experiences, I realise that there is always something to learn and one should not stop learning, no matter their age. We should take every opportunity given to us to discover more about our world and how diverse people are. As only through this can we better understand and appreciate each other. Lastly, this experience made me reflect on myself more closely, in terms of what I really want in the future and being more aware of my character relative to other people and situations.  This is the best outcome for me, as I know this will take me a long, long way.  So for those interested in joining any internship programs, I encourage you to do so but one thing to keep in mind - be realistic with your expectations, and make sure you don’t leave Sydney without some.

For now, I’m leaving you with this quote from Confucius.  Until next time…
‘Learning without reflection is a waste, reflection without learning is dangerous’

Sheila Baugh
Current student of The University of Sydney Business School and participant in the Industry Placement Program in Paris

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Afterthoughts from a Summer in Paris

Paris was magical – the city of lights – the city many dream of visiting one day to tick it off their bucket list. And today, it’s been ticked off mine. I remember having all these dreams about Paris and all these fantasies surrounding this elusive place floating around in my head. Perhaps some of these fantasies weren’t mine to make happen. But I learnt, and I grew.

My favourite part of my Industry Placement Program in Paris was the 15-hour long days. No, not 15-hour work-and-school long. But the fact that the skies stayed bright till 10pm daily, made the trip back home from school and work that much more comforting.

Some say that Paris was their city to revisit and fall in love with all over again, for me it was a city to venture out of my comfort zone, grow and learn to thrive in.

Yes, it is tough – so tough that this experience will redefine what you ever thought tough was. There are bound to be hiccups. If you asked me specifically to tell you what was difficult for me; the list is long – adapting to a foreign environment, losing your way through the streets, going through long days at work and having to stay awake through the night classes. The program is incredibly intensive. But if you know what you’ve signed up for, you’ll also know that it’s worth it.

For me, the best parts were getting to know the people, listening to their stories, and hearing about their experiences firsthand. You’d be surprised how much you get simply by asking someone if they’d like to grab coffee and sit down for a chat. The nuances of working life and how they ended up here get revealed in the process, shedding light on all the wonders on everyday life, and reminding you that there are so many people out there in this world walking their paths, many with worries of their own… That how could you ever complain no matter how tough your own situation is? And this is also why I write, and share my stories. Because I know how intimidating it can be to go on a program and have no idea what it’s like when you get to the other side. If you’d like to hear more, write to me here.

A year ago I asked myself, ‘What would you not believe if I told you what your life would be like in the future?’ One of my answers was to embark on this very program to Paris.

Six weeks ago, I asked myself what I was doing in Paris when all I was doing was struggling. Six weeks later I breeze my way through the airport, reflecting on how I’d been given the chance to take on this very program I’d dreamt about going on.

In Paris, I learnt the real potential of having 24 hours in a day and the number of things you can do with 24 hours.

I learnt that everything is a matter of perspective.

I learnt that there’s a lot to love. We can’t always expect things to be perfect, but there will be times that go tremendously well and you will be thankful.

I’ll end off this post (and my summer adventures) with one of my all-time favourite quotes by Howard Thurman that I hope you take away with you:

“Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

Felicia Poh
Current student of The University of Sydney Business School and participant in the Industry Placement Program in Paris

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Oh La La

Have you ever heard someone say ‘Oh la la’? Do you ever wonder what it means? What do you think it means in French?  When I first heard it from my French teacher, I didn’t pay much attention to it, but when I heard it again it made me curious, so I Googled and found this definition:

The French phrase oh là là isn't so much an expression as an interjection. It can indicate surprise, disappointment, commiseration, distress, annoyance... any moderately strong reaction to something that was just said or done. Note that there is no connotation of sexiness or impropriety in French.* http://french.about.com/od/vocabulary/a/ohlala.htm

So what does ‘oh la la’ have to do with this blog?  Well, think about it – we have moments in our lives when we react to situations, places, people and things differently, which means that our ‘oh la la’ moments could differ, as I think it’s relative to the individual.  And that all depends on your expectations, beliefs, values and experiences.

So let me tell you about some of my ‘oh la la’ moments in Paris so far. I must say that I can’t seem to get enough of Paris, as it is admittedly beautiful.  Seeing the Eiffel Tower, Louvre, Notre Dame, Arc de Triomphe and Champs Elysees for the second time gave me another chance to admire these landmarks and at the same time, been amazed by how their greatness have been preserved. Visiting other attractions for the first time like Musee D’Orsay, Basilique de Sacre Cœur, Opera Garnier, and Versailles reminded me how much more Paris and France has to offer.  No wonder Paris has been regarded as the most visited city in 2013, with around 15M international visitors recorded that year.  Of course, I have to mention how timely and lucky I am to be here because their yearly SALE (SOLDES as they call it here) is on – ‘Oh la la la la !!’.  So just imagine how many times I visited Galleries La Fayette, Le BHV Marais and other shops already.

But life is not always pleasant.  Inevitably, frustrating moments cannot be avoided also.  Similarly, I blurted the same expression ‘Oh la la’ but with a sad face.  Like when I saw my bunk bed (with a difficult-to-climb stair), the shower room (with no place to put your stuff in while showering), and working with a French keyboard (where some characters like is in a different location as to the one I would normally use, like A is on the top left instead of the middle left, which I am accustomed to).   Also found out when attended our first meeting at work that they speak full French – that was definitely an ‘Oh la la la la la la !!’ for me.  Of course, they speak English too but it definitely would have helped if I was conversant in French.

What did these moments signify for me? I realised that your beliefs, values, attitudes, past experiences or a combination of all these factors could affect your response to specific situations and incidents.  In addition, your expectations could also impact how you deal with situations.  For instance, if you expect that you can get along with all people or all people will like you, then you are certainly mistaken.  This program has repeatedly reminded me how people are different, that each one came from different backgrounds, with certain beliefs and values, with different sets of motivations, and those could affect their actions and reactions.  Reflecting on these differences helped me better appreciate, accept, and understand others.  Embracing these differences enabled me to learn to be more mindful of other culture. And through this, I was able to cope, adjust and continue to find effective ways of being in harmony with others.

I could have reacted differently to my ‘oh la la’ moments, but they are all temporary reactions. Long term, you reflect on those moments and you deal and learn from them. That’s my way of dealing with challenging and complicated circumstances.

How about you?  What was your most interesting ‘oh la la’ moments while you were in Paris?

Sheila Baugh

Current student of The University of Sydney Business School and participant in the Industry Placement Program in Paris

Thursday, 14 July 2016

How I Learnt To Appreciate Paris

The end of week three marks the halfway point in the programme, and a three-week countdown to the next time we return home again. I'm thrilled. Paris has opened my eyes in so many ways, but also granted me an appreciation for home and longing for comfort of being around family and friends.

As we kiss June goodbye and enter July, I started reflecting on the first half of the year and thinking about what I wanted for the second half. Despite the number of stumbles I faced, I'd had so many great experiences that I treasure and keep so close to heart. It's been interesting to see how we've each settled into the rhythm of Paris and can finally find our way around it comfortably... Well, for the most part.

Last week, we had a very lovely visit to the Australian embassy where we met the Ambassador. It was refreshing to hear him share candidly about his experiences in Paris, and some of the challenges he faced. It also made me miss Sydney that much more, as well as the everyday “Hello, how are you?” greeting that has now become second nature to me. 
Paris... is not easy. But nothing worth having ever comes easy. As the novelty wears off, the long days becoming weary and exhausting, and it's easy for us to lose sight of what we originally came for. I thought about some of the things I wanted to achieve from embarking on this trip - one of which was international working experience in the heart of Paris.

The best part about working at the OECD is probably the strong sense of importance you feel about the work you do. OECD is a huge organisation, so you definitely feel as though the stuff you are working on has a certain level of impact on society in the wider scope of things. Being in the Public Affairs and Communications directorate has been rather exciting - we're basically at the heart of the organisation in that we manage the communications in various directorates and the overall messaging is projected through what we create. If you thrive in large organisations and value a sense of purpose in your work towards creating a greater impact on the broader community, then this is the place for you.

I think many things - and many situations - boil down to the perspective you adopt. And many times, your experience is influenced by the perspective you take. When I experience a particularly challenging week, I like asking myself, so what can I do about it? Is there anything I can change? And sometimes it's as simple as saying a "Bonjour, ca va?" to an unfamiliar face at work, or coming home to your roommates and exchanging stories and laughing your guts out.

Some time back, I questioned the notion of perfection, and whether perfection is realistically attainable. But when you think about it, if your experience is flawless, then have you learnt anything from it really? No opportunity is perfect, and it's only an opportunity if you take advantage of it.

I'm happy with my choices. Are you?

Felicia Poh
Current student of The University of Sydney Business School and participant in the Industry Placement Program in Paris