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Charles Francis says it’s one of the awards he’s always aspired to achieve – especially on the international stage.

Deakin commerce/law student Charles Francis has taken out the best presenter award at a highly-respected international business competition.

Held recently in the Philippines, the International Institute for Business Development (IIBD) International Case Competition involved students from 27 world-wide universities who competed in the task of solving a real-world business problem.

Charles was one of four Deakin Business School (DBS) students selected to represent the university in a team that went on to be the only Australian representative out of six teams shortlisted for the finals.

Winning the best presenter award was both ‘humbling and surprising’ says Charles, who is studying a combined Bachelor of Commerce/Bachelor of Laws degree at Deakin’s Geelong Waterfront Campus.

‘It is one of those awards you always aspire to achieve especially when competing on an international stage.  Personally, achieving such an award is a huge boost of motivation for me to continue to pursue my professional ambitions in finance and to also continue to develop my presentation skills. Being able to speak and engage an audience is one of those traits that I have continually tried to craft, and winning this award is reassurance that I am on the right path.’

Having the opportunity to compete against some of the world’s brightest students was an eye-opening experience that Charles hopes will help him launch a successful future finance career.

‘The skills you gain from the intensity of such a competition, along with the real-world scenario, simply cannot be learnt by reading a book,’ he says.

The theme for this year’s competition was digital disruption and global inclusiveness with the first round requiring detailed report that had to be completed in 10 days.

The final round in Manila required each team to tackle a 15-page problem within six hours before presenting a 20-minute pitch to the judges.

‘This was then followed by a 15-minute Q&A from an acclaimed panel of five whose roles range from a managing director of Accenture to country head of Google for the Philippines,’ explains Charles.

This award tops off a string of accolades for Charles including 2018 Deakin Bowater Business Challenge, Vice-Chancellor Academic Excellence Scholar, Vice-Chancellor Excellence Program Member, and Golden Key International Honours Society for Entrepreneurship, Leadership and Community Impact Invitee.

Studying both on-campus and online, he also holds a semi-professional football career and has taken on practical work placements that include the global trade and commodities experience with the Commonwealth Bank and legal experience with a Geelong law firm.

Charles’ motivation for studying a Bachelor of Commerce (majoring in finance) is to deepen his understanding on the financial world and says that by combining it with law he hopes to develop a skillset that matches a challenging and complex global environment.

‘At this stage I will not likely pursue a career as a lawyer, but a law degree helps you develop a range of interchangeable skills that can be translated into many different job environments.’

With two years of his studies now completed, Charles plans to gain more international exposure through Deakin’s internships and international study opportunities.

‘My Deakin degrees balance both the theory and practical elements, giving me a holistic understanding which is now essential to compete in the current hyper-competitive finance industry. Deakin equips students with an international mindset and this global understanding is crucial as world becomes increasingly connected.’

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