Taking out the prestigious Alfred Deakin Medal for 2017 is just one of many achievements that marked Justin Crawford’s study journey with Deakin Business School.
Graduating with a Bachelor of Commerce in 2017, Justin managed to complete his degree with an outstanding high distinction average and also notched up more than 10 awards, honours and international study scholarships.
Justin had spent three years in the banking and finance industry – and successfully attained a new corporate role in human resources – when he first made his decision to study at Deakin.
‘I liked this new exposure to the corporate environment and was passionate to learn more about organisations and how they can improve performance through people. I also wanted to combine analytics with human resources as I saw – and still see – a gap between departments that traditionally have softer skills (like human resources) and departments with more analytical skills (like finance),’ he says.
The choice to take on an undergraduate degree was not made lightly and Justin says he spent a significant amount of time researching university options.
‘It really came down to four key elements: the reputation of the university’s commerce degree, the variety and specialisation of majors available, the university’s global partnerships for studying abroad, and the quality of the online platform. Overall, Deakin had the strongest mix of these factors.’
He chose to study online via Deakin’s Cloud Campus, which meant he was not only able to manage the responsibilities of a full-time corporate job but also undertake four international study trips as part of his degree.
‘Very simply, if Deakin Cloud didn’t exist I wouldn’t have my degree – I did all my study online… it was a great solution for me. It allowed me to study anywhere in the world and at any time and I used this to its full advantage.’
He says the opportunity to complete some of his studies in Europe, Canada and Asia was the highlight of his course.
‘I completed four separate study trips - Intercultural Management in Norway, a Marketing Consultancy Internship in Malaysia, International Alternative Dispute Resolution in Sri Lanka, and Entrepreneurship, Service Management and International Business in Canada.’
Thanks to these travel opportunities, Justin now has a strong network of global connections, a deeper insight of cultural diversity and, importantly, a competitive professional edge.
‘When talking to senior leaders in my organisation, one thing they find most interesting is the wide variety of international study experiences I have undertaken. It is a great way to separate yourself from the crowd, build your own cognitive diversity, and be seen as someone with a unique set of experiences, which is particularly helpful at a young age,’ he says.
Currently, Justin is the Manager of Strategic Workforce Planning for TAFE NSW. He leads the development, implementation and review of workforce strategies and systems that underpin the organisation’s ability to identify future workforce demands and supply capabilities.
‘The role contributes to defining business objectives, creates evidence-based workforce strategies, and guides the organisation through the required change to realise the workforce of the future,’ he explains.
Acknowledging that he was initially nervous about commencing university, Justin says that by approaching his studies ‘one unit and one week at a time’ he soon gained confidence and enthusiasm.
‘The Bachelor of Commerce provided me with a high quality educational experience. One key aspect was that I was really interested in what I was studying. This helped drive motivation in tough times and achieve highly, which in turn, made it more enjoyable and pushed me further,’ he says.
While concurrently working and studying required discipline and the continual balancing of responsibilities and long hours, Justin says his professional role helped embed his university learning.
‘I was able to provide significant benefits to my organisation by bringing in new ideas from my study. It also allowed me to test my learnings in real life and talk to experienced colleagues about certain topics, which helped a lot.’
Now undertaking further study, Justin recently added to his Deakin success by returning from Harvard University in Boston USA where he received a high distinction in a creative problem solving and design thinking masters unit.
Looking ahead, he holds the ambitious career goal of being at the chief executive level of a large organisation by the time he is 35.
‘Currently, I have an interest in strategic workforce planning and workforce strategy and want to build on this in the future.’
Justin Crawford – Deakin honours & awards:
Winner – Alfred Deakin Medal* (2017)
Best Student in Human Resources (2017)
Best Student in Management (2017)
Dean’s Merit List (2017)
Nominee, Bowater Trust Medal (2017)
Outstanding Performance in the Bachelor of Commerce (2016)
Global Citizenship Award (2016)
Best Student in Business Analytics (2015)
Member – Golden Key International Honour Society
Invited to the International Scholar Laureate Program (ISLP) in China – Business and Entrepreneurship Delegation
International study scholarships.
* The Alfred Deakin Medal is the most prestigious University award that recognises a significant level of academic achievement by students. To be eligible for the Alfred Deakin Medal you must have the highest academic record in your Faculty (15,000+ students). Selection is based upon the students' academic record and their contribution to the University or the community while studying. Out of 55,000+ students, only up to eight medals are conferred each year.