September, 2015 Archive

A new kid on the block

Written by Student Life, Tech

In my previous article I mentioned various job portals and websites to look for jobs along with some career related advice. Among them I mentioned about a new and amazing website

Comet is a social and professional networking site that acts as a platform for directly connecting students with employers and educators. At Comet students can create their profile which acts as an online CV and can also build up their online work portfolio.(Source: Comet Student Information Guide V2)

An insightful interview with Mr John Collins, Co-Founder and Product Director at CareerLounge, further elaborates about this amazing platform. John preferred to explore few business ideas than getting stuck University and came up with what CareerLounge is today.

About Comet

John describes Comet as, “A community for young and aspiring professionals to share projects, news and stories. Anyone can create a profile and join ‘Villages’ where people, companies and educators from a particular field of interest come together.”

He says that, “Before Comet, the only places you could get information to help you make your decision were government websites (which are usually out of date), careers counsellors (which to be fair can be very helpful but can’t possibly know everything about every industry), or personal contacts you may have.”

According to him, “Comet is a community which provides this kind of information along with giving you opportunity to ask the author further questions or ask an employer what makes their workplace so great to be in.”

John Collins: Co-Founder & Product Director

Practicality of Comet for students

In regards to Comet’s usefulness to students, John says that Comet helps students get a better idea of the kind of roles and Companies they are interested along with getting information about work culture.

He says this while stressing on the fact that getting a job one is not aware of and then leaving the same creates problem for everyone. There are huge sunk costs in terms of employer’s valuable training time, resource time and of course money. “The applicant ends up with perhaps a stressful situation and a weird few months on their resume they need to explain at their next job.” asserts John.

Distinctiveness from other platforms such as spot jobs, LinkedIn and Seek

John considers LinkedIn to be in a different category to Seek and SpotJobs. According to him, “LinkedIn is a traditional social network and was built for senior professionals; while Seek and SpotJobs are both first and foremost jobs boards meaning quite simply, a list of job ads that can be browsed a few different ways”. He considers problem with LinkedIn being young professionals don’t have much “professional contacts” during studies and for SpotJobs and seek one still needs to find what they are looking for.

He believes, “Comet is something different all together and we designed Comet with some of the problems I’ve pointed out in mind. You can create a Comet profile, contribute your stories, learn about different industries and engage with employers without having a single contact or coming up with a keyword that will determine your future”

“Comet is a place for inspiration and exploration to help you discover the next step on your professional journey.”

He further adds, “If you know what you’re looking for, go to Seek. If you have professional contacts, go to LinkedIn. If you have no idea, come to Comet.”

Benefit of Villages to students

John considers Villages to be awesome as they have feeds with all the latest stories and news from other Comet Members, Employers and Educators. He says, “There are over 40 of them to join from Commerce to Design, Building & Construction to Agriculture and in each you’ll find companies looking to hire young professionals”. One can join and leave any number of villages as and whenever they like.

Work culture at comet

Team Comet:

Back row: John Collins, Product Director. Patrick Borgeest, Senior Engineer; Dominique Fisher, Managing Director.; Tom McKenzie, Head Engineer. Nicole Pogue, Operations Director. Georgia Rudin, PA.

Front Row: Zoe Willox, Content Curator; Jenna Murphy, Senior Account Manager; Luke Shillabeer, Web Engineer; Ciaran Nolan, Senior Account Manager.

“We’re very much a family here and everyone is really passionate about creating amazing products that truly make a difference. If I had to sum it up in one sentence; the work is really challenging but with such a great team, it’s all possible and we definitely have a lot of fun along the way. We have a few stress relievers in the office like our table tennis table, foosball table, Nintendo Wii and snack station with everything from fruit to chocolate. ”, John commented.

A word of advice for students

John advises students to not be afraid to take lots of little opportunities such as internships and volunteer roles while emphasizing on the importance of solid foundation of Hands on experience. In his words, “Showing that you’re proactive and hungry for experience indicates to employers that you have initiative and are willing to learn.”

He further adds, “Your Comet Profile can capture all manner of your experiences be it a free seminar you went to or a 2 month internship. It all counts.”

Student Ambassadors for Comet

John says, “ I’ve been working on a Student Partner Program that I’m looking to get underway from January 2016 but if Students are keen to support us or even just find out more about the startup world we’d love to hear from you today.” He says while quoting Immortal words of Bryan Adams, “Our mission is to inspire, empower and connect the world’s young professionals. Everything we do, we do just for you.”

Comet is working on a brand new product that will go a long way to helping students find great opportunities. “Keep an eye out as we’re launching it before the end of the year.”, says John.

Read More

A Nurturing Journey named Univative Competition Part 1

Written by News, Student Life

Univative Competition is an annual competition organised jointly by Study NSW and six prestigious universities:

  • Macquarie University
  • University of Technology Sydney
  •  University of Sydney
  •  University of Wollongong
  • University of Western Sydney
  • University of New South Wales

Both local and international, to solve the real world business’s problem of different companies like Accor Hotels, Australian National Maritime Museum (ANMM) , Dentsu Aegis, Ernst & Young, Red Balloon, White Ribbon, Click View, Co-op and The Salvation Army.

The purpose of Univative is to connect students with corporate and community partners through industry-sponsorship and meaningful projects.

Here are the experiences of six students from Macquarie University about the Univative Competition 2015.

Krystal Ly, Accor Hotels Group Team

I am an international student from Vietnam studying Master of Commerce. I am also an International Student Leadership Ambassador (ISLA) of City of Sydney. My team’s task was to create a marketing campaign to increase the download of the hotel mobile app for Accor group.

Thanks to Univative and Accor, I discovered more about the hospitality industry and work culture in Australia. I learned that the possibility to implement a plan is more important than the innovation of the idea.

I strongly recommend students to join this competition as you can bring home real world business experience, better research, communication and teamwork skills. A  more confident and employable version of you will be created  as well as a  clearer vision for your career path.

Remathy Balakrishnan- Australian National Maritime Museum Team

I am an international student from Malaysia studying Bachelor of Commerce. My experience in Univative was fantastic because I was put in a team with peers from different disciplines and we managed to create a marketing campaign for ANMM.

This experience made me push my ability and come up with an innovative idea. My team won and it was a good feeling after long 4 weeks of hardwork. It was an eye-opening exposure to the real world and a good learning platform. It is an experience not to be regretted.


unnamedCecilia Palmero- Ernst and Young Team

I am a  marketing student in my final year studying a Bachelor of Commerce and working as a Marketing Assistant at Radiometer. Univative proved to be the perfect opportunity for me to put learned theory into practice and utilize my skills whilst gaining exposure to  real-life strategic business issues with experienced and expert project hosts.

My team worked  to develop a sales pitch aimed at a potential client of Ernst & Young looking to enter the Australian market. It is an opportunity to learn, to network and to collaborate actively alongside like-minded, dedicated and enthusiastic peers while receiving support through the professional and personal mentoring from MQ’s Career Service.

[To be continued]

Read More

Univative Sydney: A New Beginning

Written by News, Student Life

Univative 2015 is a unique inter-university Consulting competition involving teams of students from Macquarie University, University of Technology Sydney, University of Sydney, University of New South Wales, University of Wollongong and University of Western Sydney.

The interviews with three respected coordinators from Macquarie University-Vicki George (Central Univative Coordinator), Serene Lin-Stephens and Tyree Barnette provided more valuable insights into the competition.

The Competition

The competition runs from April-July each year, with the active management occurring in June and July. Participating organisations provide a realistic business problem for teams of 4 – 6 students to solve. At the end of July, a final report is produced, followed by a presentation of their proposal to a panel of judges from the host organisation.

“Univative has several unique characteristics such as work-integrated and problem-based learning, and community and industry engagement.  It is designed to provide an environment in which local and international students from different disciplines mix meaningfully and work together for local businesses.”

Students develop cross-cultural communication and cross-discipline project management skills while participating organisations gain the best results by having students’ fresh and outside-of-the-box perspective,” – Serene

Univative Sydney: A New Beginning


As per coordinators, the competition is an exhaustive process and involves hard work.

  • It begins with a series of planning and meetings to assign tasks, confirm project hosts, decide launch dates, on-site briefing and presentations as well as booking venues on campus, at host employer sites and Study NSW.
  • The meetings run from January to April, followed by advertisements for student applications by participating Universities.
  • The applications will then be screened and final applicants are selected based on specific criteria. At the end of the competition, in August, a debrief session is held to provide certificates and feedback to the students.
  • Planning for next year’s event also starts and the entire process occurs all over again.

Expectations from Students

We welcome international as well as local students, from all faculties and at all stages of their study program – Vicki

Serene expects  students to turn their different backgrounds and perspectives into strengths as a team. Students are trusted with the freedom to innovate, but still need to adhere to clients’ expectation and work within teamwork and professional standards.

Tyree says, “We look for a mix of heavily involved high achievers along with students who haven’t quite figured out what they enjoy yet.  In doing this, we assist the students in improving their employability skills, getting some real-world experience with clients and proposals, and learn valuable lessons about teamwork, project management, presentations, and time management.

Experiences in Univative-2015

In the words of Serene: “The adrenaline roller coaster of the entire process is something I go through every year, which refreshes and energises me. I always feel very humbled to see how the students work things out among themselves, carrying out individual tasks, shaping their work into a cohesive whole, packaging it nicely and delivering it in the reports and presentation.”

She also notes that the precious friendships and networking connections formed between peers and employers typically continue to grow past the competition.

Tyree believes that these projects are even tougher than reality because of limited time and resources.  Students also have to juggle their daily tasks, jobs and study. He thinks that all pupils made incredible strides – especially the quieter students who weren’t accustomed or used to public speaking. He was especially proud of them because he grew up with that same shyness.

Vicki says, “I think this year some of the teams were off to a bit of a slow start, and there were moments when we wondered if the presentations were going to come together in time. But, the surprising thing was that in all cases they did! In particular, I thought the written report from the Salvo’s team was of an exceptionally high standard this year.”

Future Possibilities

The career staff at Macquarie Uni are exploring the possibility of students receiving some sort of additional credit, certification, or other notable academic-related credit for the program. In Tyree’s opinion, Many put in dozens of hours of personal time, and for the students that don’t win or score an internship, we feel that their time still deserves additional recognition.”

Univative Sydney: A New Beginning

A word of advice

Serene advises students to keep growing and nurturing the relationships. According to her, a critical factor in winning in a project competition like this is the ability to communicate one’s work in a simple way and speak directly to the core of the client’s need. She hopes that participants will continue to nurture the skills they have developed throughout the competition for future endeavors.

 “Any line of work will have tight deadlines, complications and conflict. Know that you have been challenged and stretched thin before and you have survived. And if you have any regrets – use it as fuel for the next project.” Tyree

Vicki advises students to start preparing early and do plenty of research before defining their ideas. To deliver a clear message, simplicity and an understanding of the host organisation’s values is always a good idea.

Vicki advises students to “focus on your presenting skills as these are crucial and can make or break the impact of your final presentation. While delivering your presentation, keep in mind that you are being watched even if you are not speaking at the time, and be sure to maintain a professional and engaged ‘stage presence’ at all times.”

The Macquarie career team would love to have participants from Univative 2015 to be student mentors for future competition since their experiences.

Read More