New ‘Spotlight Series’ launches to help students develop their careers

By Carl Jackson

How do persistence, resilience and risk help career development for those getting started in the professional world? On 25 July 2018 Melbourne School of Engineering held the first seminar in its Spotlight Series, featuring a group of alumni and current students discussing this exact topic from the unique perspectives of their own careers.

Hosted by Associate Dean (Student Engagement) Professor Andrew Ooi, the panel featured five Master of Engineering alumni and students; John Li, now Project Manager at iBuild; Shruti Pal, Global Management Trainee at Carlton United Breweries; Kevin Ngo, commencing in 2019 as a Security Analyst in Accenture’s graduate program; Finbar Martinson, employed by Nufarm after self-securing an internship; and Danielle Grant, IEA Reliability Engineer at ExxonMobil.

Organised with the aim of informing students about challenges they may encounter in their professional lives while providing them with strategies on overcoming obstacles, the inaugural session in this series was a wonderful success, with a variety of useful insights provided to the student audience by the panelists.

It was extremely rewarding to have the opportunity to have a small yet meaningful impact by sharing my story, my failures and my successes

Asked about his highlight from the first session, Professor Ooi said he was “overwhelmed by how much the students on the panel were willing to share so that other students are better prepared to overcome any obstacles when they try to look for a job.”

This was something echoed by the panelists, with Shruti Pal commenting that “it was extremely rewarding to have the opportunity to have a small yet meaningful impact by sharing my story, my failures and my successes”. Speaking about why she chose to get involved in this panel, Pal explained: “I’m very passionate about helping my peers get a foothold in the industry by sharing my learnings and ways of working, and it helps me to give back in a meaningful way.”

This idea of giving something back was a sentiment shared by panelist John Li who explained: “I benefited from the events held by the University when I was studying, and now is the time that I can help others”.

Discussing their key highlights, two stood out for Pal and Li; some of the valuable resources during your time at university are the people around you (professors, lecturers, peers, etc.), and it’s always important to have something unique to offer and a unique story to tell.

Registrations are now open for our upcoming R U OK Day Spotlight Series event – Mindfulness for Mental Health