Student Life

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]

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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.

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Job Search: A never-ending treasure hunt

Written by Editor’s Picks, Student Life, Tips & Tricks

Job Search: A Never – Ending Treasure Hunt

As per, “job hunting these days has completely changed, and getting the perfect job is every individual’s dream”. But, it’s an arduous task, and it becomes even more chaotic when you’re on a student visa. Even though it’s difficult, it’s not impossible.

Here’s a few steps to help avoid the confusion of being an ‘alien’ while searching for a job.

Problems encountered

The first problem is restriction on number of hours allowed to work. So, look for casual and part-time jobs. Don’t ever try for a job saying full-time.

Remember, your visa matters more than work experience.

Resume matters

The first thing one should do is to write a resume as per Australian format.

The resume should address the selection criteria given in job description.

Don’t add anything which is irrelevant for the job to be applied. It is advisable to have expert advice over the resume and almost all Universities have a career service or workshops that can help in reviewing resume.

Importance of Volunteer Work

Volunteer work experience is another important aspect of job search today. Companies do hire candidates who have volunteer work experience. Also, it is the best way to have  local experience in your area of expertise.

Volunteer work helps you gain the trust of local employers plus you get local referees for further job search. In some cases, even volunteer work is the first step of employment in the same company.

Job Portals

We live in a digital era full of gigabytes and terabytes. So, the job search and resume has also gone digital. At the beginning of your studies, start creating online profiles so that by the time you graduate you have a fully endorsed and recommended profile. Make sure they are 100% complete.

It is also advisable to follow organizations’ Facebook page. The most preferred way is to apply directly for  jobs advertised on the companys’ websites.

Setting up job alerts is another way to look for jobs in your field.

Above all, your university’s career portal is where you will find the most suitable jobs.

Roles to look for with little or no experience

If you are good at teaching try looking for  jobs as a casual tutor. There are many tutoring academies which recruit university students. In this way you yourself will learn many things.

As per visa conditions, we are permitted to drive on our country’s driving licence with a valid photo ID from RTA (except for few countries), so working as a delivery driver is another role you can look at . All you need is exceptional driving skills. However, a few organizations require an Australian driving Licence and in some cases, a particular Australian state of residence. If you are in NSW, you have to reside continuously in Australia for 6 months to obtain a driving licence.

Looking at retail, it is one of the largest sectors for job search. While most of the companies prefer an online application, there are a few outlets which have a display sign stating the role they require. On such display signs, it may also mention whether to apply online or in person.

Needless to say, in Australia everybody is equal and no work is considered to be small or big. So, grab what you get.

 A word of advice

There is no doubt that getting a job is the first thing on one’s agenda. However, jobs can change, but grades cannot. Even companies prefer candidates with better grades and volunteer work experience.

So, concentrate fully on studies in the first few weeks of your semester, or if possible, for the whole semester. It is also preferable to call via provided contact details before applying for a job. This way you can get an idea of its requirements.

Last but not least, while doing all this, don’t forget to enjoy life since it can only be lived once.

Photos: Youngtae Kim, Jasmine Yu and Tram Bui

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