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Deakin students have been the stand-out participants at a bi-annual speed networking event.

Facilitated by Grad Mentor – a financial services mentoring and placement group – the event is part of a program that identifies top-performing students and provides them with career coaching and employer connections.

Dr Adrian Raftery, the Deakin Business School’s (DBS) Course Director Financial Planning, says the school is proud to be involved in the program because it provides important benefits around the its key mission of graduate employability.

‘It’s an outstanding opportunity for our students to link with financial planning businesses. By partnering with Grad Mentor, DBS is introduced to an even wider range of employers and networks and that’s incredibly important for our graduates,’ he says.

‘We’ve had some outstanding students come through in our financial planning programs in recent years and employers are keen to offer them internships and job opportunities … so it’s been pretty exciting how it’s all come together.’

Working with universities across Australia, Grad Mentor raises awareness among financial planning students of careers in the sector and connects them with leading employers.

Grad Mentor Director Alisdair Barr says the organisation provides a comprehensive package of coaching and career advice for upcoming graduates including intensive psychometric and behavioural interviewing before the speed networking event.

‘This ensures we make the best graduate-employer matches possible. We also provide the students with extensive feedback and coaching to make sure they’re fully prepared with everything from presentation to their ‘elevator pitch’ and career goals…we make sure they’re in the best possible position for success,’ he explains.

Held over an evening that also includes information and networking, the speedy round of seven minute interviews isn’t simply about the students making a good impression on a future employer – it’s also the chance for students to grill organisations about real-world work cultures and practices.

‘It’s not just about the employer making a decision about the student but the student finding out about the employer, the organisation, and if it’s the direction they want to head,’ says Mr Barr. ‘In that short time both parties can find out if they’re a cultural match which can later lead to a more formal interview.’

At the recent Melbourne speed networking event, Deakin was the most represented university among the 15 students who met with 30 employers from a wide range of organisations.

‘These were small to large industry organisations that specialised in everything from estate planning to superannuation and accountancy – they covered the whole gambit,’ says Dr Raftery. ‘That’s very important because it means our students are exposed to the many different types of organisations they can work for in the financial planning industry … it’s all part of building their resume and experience and knowing where they want to go.’

Dr Raftery adds that events like this enrich the student experience and add deep value that extends beyond the classroom.

‘It goes beyond our normal teaching because we’re also providing feedback on the students’ employability and at the same time, we’re building strong personal relationships,’ he explains.

‘We’re extremely proud of the students who participated in this event. As academics, our goal is to create programs that produce excellent students. This event presented a very impressive and professional bunch of student. I came away  knowing that as graduates, they were going to be very successful because they all demonstrated the attributes – both in the technical and ‘soft’ skills – that are imperative for financial planning careers.’ 

Connect with Dr Adrian Raftery and Grad Mentor on Twitter today.