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Industry Placement Program sets Business students on career path

11 October 2019
Commerce students gain practical experience at top firms
The Business School's Industry Placement Program gives students the opportunity to work for leading organisations in Australia and abroad. Four students share the impact the program had on their careers.

The Industry Placement Program offers Business School students placements with local firms in Sydney, government and not-for-profit agencies in Canberra, and international firms across Asia, Europe and the United States.

Through the program, you have the chance to learn valuable skills, try out different career paths and make industry connections while earning credit towards your degree. Hear how our students have benefited from the Industry Placement Program.

Charlie Chen
Charlie Chen
Bachelor of Commerce (Liberal Studies)
Yu Chen Ren
Yu Chen Ren
Bachelor of Commerce/ Bachelor of Laws
Sahil Arora
Sahil Arora
Bachelor of Commerce/ Bachelor of Laws
Dezmond Malone
Dezmond Malone
Bachelor of Commerce

As an intern for the Central Management Committee of the Environment Directorate, I performed auditing and data manipulation tasks for the then Senior Counsellor and Executive Secretary of the Environment Policy Committee. 

My responsibility included collecting data of member countries' participation records, turning raw data into useful information for supervisors to determine the activeness of respective countries. Moreover, I was responsible for the verification of accounts and documents of multiple grants by the European Council. My role has allowed me to understand the work culture of global organisations and the importance of interpersonal skills in professional work environments.

The initial process of adapting to a foreign country and work environment was rapid and forces one to think on your feet. The language and cultural differences are just a few of the challenges. However, it is fair to say the result of the program is extremely rewarding. It impacted my perception of what future work environment I want to be part of and it gave me opportunities to make friends from different backgrounds.

I was lucky enough to travel to Rio Tinto's Washington DC office and work in their Communications and External Affairs team. It was undoubtedly one of the most exciting times to be within the Beltway and in the midst of all the affairs on Capitol Hill.

At that time, President Trump had just announced propose to set tariffs on aluminium and steel imports, on the basis of it being a matter of national security. This saw me attend various meetings at the US Chamber of Commerce or CFIUS (Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States) with various stakeholders. I was tasked with taking notes, drafting briefing reports and building a presentation deck for the Vice President of Communications and External Affairs. As it was a small office of around five permanent employees, there was a lot of exposure and opportunity to interact with senior staff. I even got to meet Jean-Sebastien Jacques – the CEO of Rio Tinto Group. 

The Industry Placement Program helped establish my career by giving me my first professional work experience, which is the most difficult to land. I've been able to draw upon this experience in subsequent interviews, as well as leveraging the Rio Tinto name and network. The soft skills I developed such as networking, presenting myself in a professional manner and effective communication have enhanced my subsequent work experiences.

My placement was at Allen Partners, a boutique corporate advisory firm which specialises in capital raisings, mergers and acquisitions and assisting international asset managers to enter the Australia and New Zealand market. 

My role was to provide deal support to the partners. At a small firm, there really is no job description and that's what I loved about it. This could range from printing and binding pitchbooks to helping a partner formulate a portfolio strategy for our clients, or even sitting in with meetings with the CEO of Silicon Valley Bank. One of the main projects I worked on was a buy-side acquisition engagement where I helped some of the bankers draft the investment memorandum and undertake general due diligence of the companies involved.

The network and connections I made in the financial services industry were unparalleled. Many of my employers and seniors at Allen Partners helped me find jobs in other areas of investment banking and private equity, including my current role. 

Industry Placement Program hosts expect what any employer would expect - for you to be motivated, work with diligence and most of all be respectful of your employer and your colleagues. Most employers are quite accommodating in terms of the work they give you as they understand you are an intern, however, there is also an expectation that you come into work switched on and ready to work. You need to be ready to learn as what you have learnt in university classrooms will be quite far from what you apply in the field.

I was lucky enough to be a Human Resource intern with LVMH through the Industry Placement Program. This was a six-week, full time internship, providing first-hand industry experience with an accomplished conglomerate. 

In this role I was responsible for the business accounts for Parfums Christian Dior and Benefit Cosmetics, engaging in tasks such as recruitment and selection, payroll, employee audits, updating company policy and rewriting mandatory regulations. 

Being a global brand, the role of HR at LVMH is to implement and adapt strategy from the company's head office in Paris. This particular organisational structure was something that I had not considered in the professional environment, exposing me to a new challenge and new opportunity for learning.

While I enjoyed the program and the placement thoroughly, my placement revealed that my fit in the business world was not with Human Resources. My experience revealed that I was more interested in strategy formulation and the creative aspects that marketing possesses. So in terms of career development, my internship solidified my pursuit of marketing as a career path.

Learn more about the Industry Placement Program.

If you're a current student and would like to learn more or apply, visit the current students Industry Placement Program page.

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