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How an Industry Project Unit can help you secure a graduate job

17 May 2019
Recent Sydney grads talk about kickstarting their careers
Vincent Giannini and Jenny Zhang completed an Industry and Community Project Unit (ICPU) in their final semester at Sydney Uni. They share how the experience helped them to land their jobs and start their career journey.

What degree did you study and when did you graduate?

Vincent: ‘A Bachelor of Commerce, majoring in Industrial Relations and Human Resource Management. I graduated end of 2018.’

Jenny: ‘I was an exchange student for Semesters 1 and 2 in 2018. I will graduate from Georgetown University in the United States in May 2020.’

What is your current role?

Vincent: ‘I currently work as a Business Transformation and Strategy Consultant at IBM. I aim to help clients make significant and lasting improvements to their performance and realise their most important strategic goals.’

Jenny: ‘I am a summer research intern at the World Bank, working with the Global Agricultural Practice.’

Can you give a brief overview of your Industry and Community Project experience?

Vincent: ‘My ICPU experience consisted of working closely with the Westpac Group to identify the most appropriate AI opportunities to maximise its benefits for all key stakeholders. My colleagues and I prepared a proposal that outlined key actions Westpac should take now and in the future, in order to prepare for and take advantage of AI. I was then able to pitch my proposal in a boardroom setting to Westpac's key senior stakeholders, such as the Head of Innovation, Head of Strategy and the Chief Technology Officer. An absolutely fantastic opportunity that I still reflect upon and think about today.’

Jenny: ‘My ICPU experience was wonderful. I worked with a team of four students from different disciplines to identify, research, and provide recommendations for a problem and opportunity in the Australian Dairy Industry. We chose to focus on evaluating the potential impact of blockchain technology on dairy farm financing.’

How do you think the ICPU helped you get your current role?

Vincent: ‘The ICPU helped me to get my current role in every way that I can think of. The deliverables produced, the work performed and the processes that I undertook is exactly what I do as a management consultant now at IBM. I was able to leverage my experiences from the ICPU in my partner interview when going for my role at IBM.’

Jenny: ‘The ICPU provided me valuable experience of ‘working in the field’ without leaving campus. I was able to demonstrate that I had experience working on and evaluating the impact of digital technologies in agriculture, which is what the World Bank research is focused on.’

What was the most important thing that you learnt during your ICPU that you use in your day to day work?

Vincent: ‘I utilise the methodologies learnt in the ICPU in my everyday work, such as structured problem solving and formulating decision trees to break down issues. In particular, I utilise various project management methods such as Waterfall and Agile, which I had both learnt during my time on the ICPU project. Above all, the skill of stakeholder management is of upmost importance in my current role and that is what I had to develop over the course of the ICPU project.

Jenny: ‘How to think systematically and map out the different variables to dissect complex problems. Learning to draw concept maps, conduct stakeholder analysis, and think more systematically were things that I would not have otherwise known.’

What was the highlight of the ICPU?

Vincent: ‘In the ICPU unit you are no longer writing for an academic audience, you are preparing to have an impact on a real-life organisation which is completely different from a standard unit of study. The best part about this unit for me is that I got to engage with one of Australia's biggest financial institutions and have my voice heard.’

Jenny: ‘The ICPU is like an internship where you get to work with real-life situations and research to solve real-life problems. The best part was learning about the different tools to use to solve problems in group settings. It’s a great way to gain ‘work experience’ and delve deep into a topic that interests you professionally.’


Help boost your employability and enrol in a Semester 2 Industry Project Unit. For next semester we have partnered with 20 leading organisations to offer students the opportunity to engage with industry and work on real world projects. Enrolments for Semester 2 close Sunday 7 July.

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